March­ing or­ders for lo­cal MPs

The Prince George Citizen - - Opinion - Cit­i­zen staff

The

Prince Ge­orge area has given a re­sound­ing vote of ap­proval for Todd Do­herty and Bob Zim­mer as the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment for Cari­boo-Prince Ge­orge and Prince Ge­orge-Peace River-North­ern Rock­ies, re­spec­tively. Nei­ther man is a rookie (as Do­herty was in his last term) so it’s rea­son­able of their con­stituents to in­sist on more re­sults, par­tic­u­larly un­der a Lib­eral mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment. What­ever their leader says (more on that in a minute), both MPs need to reach across the aisle and work with will­ing MPs in other par­ties. In the last term, Do­herty forged those links while work­ing on his pri­vate mem­ber’s bill on PTSD while Zim­mer has done so while chair­ing the stand­ing com­mit­tee on ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion, pri­vacy and ethics.

Ex­cept for Greater Van­cou­ver, the Justin Trudeau Lib­er­als didn’t win a sin­gle seat west of Win­nipeg so they’re go­ing to be look­ing for some ac­com­plish­ments in this part of the world. Do­herty and Zim­mer need to put aside their party in­ter­ests to give the fed­eral Lib­er­als those vic­to­ries and even be will­ing to let the Lib­er­als take full credit for them.

It shouldn’t be hard to put to­gether a plan to help the strug­gling for­est sec­tor that stresses sus­tain­abil­ity, the en­vi­ron­ment and First Na­tions part­ner­ships. Tree plant­ing? That’s part of Canada’s com­mit­ment to cli­mate change, right?

Work­ing with their Con­ser­va­tive col­leagues in Al­berta and Saskatchew­an, Do­herty and Zim­mer should be able to whip up a pack­age so the Lib­er­als can show they care about farm­ers.

These same Con­ser­va­tives need to talk about the oil and gas sec­tor in gen­eral and pipe­lines in par­tic­u­lar with their fed­eral Lib­eral and NDP coun­ter­parts in the lan­guage of cli­mate change, the en­vi­ron­ment, In­dige­nous rights and eth­i­cal oil.

The Trudeau gov­ern­ment is in­vested in the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line. As painful as that may be, Con­ser­va­tive MPs must work with the Trudeau gov­ern­ment to get that project across the fin­ish line.

To the west, Tay­lor Bachrach, the for­mer mayor of Smithers, was elected as the NDP MP for Skeena-Bulk­ley Val­ley, suc­ceed­ing Nathan Cullen. The two Prince Ge­orge MPs are well-placed to of­fer some guid­ance to the younger rookie, while also co­op­er­at­ing on re­gional is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est. That’s the task for the next four years and Zim­mer and Do­herty should be up for the job. The task for the next four weeks, how­ever, is to hold their leader ac­count­able and de­mand his res­ig­na­tion. An­drew Scheer failed to de­feat a dam­aged leader mired in scan­dals and self-in­flicted po­lit­i­cal wounds. Hey may be a nice fel­low but his job was to lead Do­herty, Zim­mer and the rest of his party back into gov­ern­ment. He failed to de­liver and he needs to get out of the way for some­one else who can. While re­mov­ing Scheer will give the Lib­er­als short-term joy as Con­ser­va­tives wres­tle in­ter­nally over the fu­ture of their party, a new leader is a smart strate­gic move that will rein­vig­o­rate con­ser­va­tives and of­fer some­thing new for Cana­di­ans to con­sider the next time they head to the polls. Just as the area MPs should hold their leader ac­count­able, so should lo­cal res­i­dents ex­pect more from their rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Ot­tawa. Un­der this mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment, it’s time for them to de­liver.

— Ed­i­tor-in-chief Neil God­bout

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