Two is too many

There is an old saying in politics that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

There is also a well-known proposition that all politics are local.

In an ideal world, when it comes to federal politics, we would all be altruistic enough to transcend party, town, region and province and vote for the greater good of the country at large, but that is asking a lot of human beings.

In truth, when we send an MP to Ottawa, we are hoping that individual will be a squeaky wheel, someone who will be able to get stuff done that benefits us locally.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley is a politically diverse riding and one of the largest in the country, but let’s face it, come November our MP is almost certainly going to come from the ranks of the NDP hopefuls who are rapidly lining up to be the heir-apparent to Nathan Cullen.

Aside from the very first time he ran in 2004, which was also the first election for the then-newly formed Skeena-Bulkley Valley constituency, Cullen has always taken the riding by a landslide and he has said he will be campaigning for the new candidate.

It is not surprising the race to replace Cullen is shaping up to be a crowded field.

It would be a rare politician indeed who would come out and say they are doing it for the $172,000 annual salary and $150,000 pension, for which they are eligible after serving six years and is payable when they reach the unripe age of 55, so let’s take them at their word. They’re doing it to advance progressive values for the good of the region and future generations.

As a small-town newspaper, our motive is transparently selfish. While not endorsing the eventual NDP candidate in the general election, if we are going to have an NDP MP after the ballots are counted Oct. 21—which we almost certainly are—we want him or her to be someone who has chosen to make Smithers their home.

The problem is, right now we’ve got two of them running, Mayor Taylor Bachrach and Coun. Greg Brown. Quite aside from the potential issue of the campaign hindering their performance in running the town—which is what we elected them for just five months ago—we don’t need two guys with virtually identical political leanings, self-professed “good friends,” splitting the nomination vote and opening the door for someone from Terrace or Rupert or elsewhere.

If they are doing it for the greater good, one of them should drop out.