Chris Burger could have been in an excellent position to provide educated insight on issues of importance as we wind down to election day in November.
Despite his relative youth, Burger is an experienced politician who has gained a lot of knowledge about the issues facing Parksville Qualicum Beach. He knows how budgets work, how municipal staff operate, how senior governments can work for municipalities and how public expenditures can affect a residential or business tax bill.
He has always been able to impart this knowledge without arrogance and with a knack for the pragmatic. He seems comfortable conversing in a boardroom or street corner, definitely an attribute for any politician.
After four years as mayor of Parksville, and many previous years as a councillor in both Qualicum Beach and Parksville, Burger recently announced he would not seek re-election on Nov. 15. In the very next breath and at the same news conference, Burger said he is endorsing current Coun. Marc Lefebvre in the mayoral race this fall.
So much for the 'no dog in the fight' theory.
Now, it could be that this is a bit of newspaper navel-gazing. Burger could have been an excellent source for reporters during the election, someone with experience in municipal issues not currently encumbered by the need for political gain. Yes, we lament the loss of that kind of source for our readers.
It's not like he's lost that knowledge because he has endorsed Lefebvre. But it tends to taint his comments, put them in a political light, especially when one considers the strained relationship that's been evident in council chambers Burger has had with Lefebvre's opponent, Bill Neufeld.
Burger has the right to endorse, or not, anyone he wishes, of course. He prefers to say he has put his recommendation forward for the people of Parksville, but any way it's sliced it's an endorsement. It remains to be seen if it carries any weight, makes any difference in the campaigns of Lefebvre or Neufeld.
The race for mayor in Parksville will be interesting regardless, and hopefully full of issue-oriented discussion. It would have been better with Burger's non-partisan perspective.
— Editorial by John Harding