THEY SAY your riding can only reap the appropriate benefits if the MLA or MP is a member of the government. Except, perhaps, in the northwest.
Consider the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s container port. At a cost of $170 million, it was conceived during the term of one opposition Member of Parliament, Andy Burton, and opened under the term of Nathan Cullen, the incumbent MP in the federal election now underway. The federal contribution was $30 million.
Now consider the $404 million Northwest Transmission Line. First thinking took place during Andy Burton’s term and the federal government, under Nathan Cullen’s term, has announced a contribution of $130 million toward the cost.
(That $130 million, by the way, is the largest single federal contribution made to date in the region).
Neither Mr. Burton nor Mr. Cullen could or can take credit for the federal dollars. The container port is a blessing of having a prime location able to serve a growing Asian market. Promising mineral deposits are the reason for the power line. Regardless of who held the riding, both projects would have succeeded.
Where a MP or MLA really shines, whether in government or not, is the everyday trench warfare required to represent constituents in dealing with public sector bureaucracy. And that’s how people should make their judgements come voting day.
The following appeared as an editorial in the April 6, 2011 issue of The Terrace Standard.