EDITORIAL: Time for talk of local issues

After limiting themselves to reading from the party playbook to this point, what can Parksville Qualicum Beach candidates offer the region?

The leaders of the three parties that have candidates in this constituency have all been here for a visit now, so we believe it’s time to get to some local issues related to the provincial election May 14.

So far, the likes of Barry Avis (NDP), David Coupland (Conservatives) and Michelle Stilwell (Liberals) have been reading from the party playbook. Thanks a bunch, but we can get that from the provincial media or shallow sound bites on TV.

At some point, and right now would be nice, the people of Parksville Qualicum Beach need to know specifically what these candidates believe is important for this region and, more importantly, how they intend to use our tax dollars to improve our constituency.

Do we want to hear old-fashioned, campaign promises of money and infrastructure, and the jobs and improved quality of life that comes with them? Absolutely we do.

Don’t tell us the province will be better off, and therefore this constituency, if your party forms government — that is simply not good enough, Mr. Avis.

Spare us the rhetoric about the (debatable) status of the economy because of the gains made by the prudent Liberals, Ms. Stilwell.

And you can save the talk about being a different, better option for B.C. voters, Dr. Coupland.

You may want to think globally (provincially, actually), but we are looking for some action locally.

Tell us your government would improve (at long last) the ambulance service in Parksville Qualicum Beach by committing the dollars needed to upgrade the equipment and staff training in the ambulances that respond to calls in this, the most elderly region in the country.

Tell us what government office or service will be created or re-located here, along with its jobs.

Give us a plan, and the promise of money to back it up, for a way to better bridge the downtown of Parksville to its world-famous beach, because that quasi-provincial roadway 19A is a barrier that needed to be dealt with long ago.

Tell us what you are going to do to help Qualicum Beach’s waterfront, which needs some serious work to protect it from erosion, because it’s getting a bit ridiculous watching the mayor and councillors go cap in hand all the time to federal agencies.

What have you got for us, candidates of the Parksville Qualicum Beach constituency? What money that we send to Victoria will you bring back to fund real, on-the-ground, quality-of-life-improving projects for the people you say you want to represent?

— Editorial by John Harding

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