Since receiving the ?call? to seek a federal NDP nomination, my life, and the life of my family, hasn?t been the same. Road trips are a weekly occurrence and, of course, there are endless questions to answer as everyone wants to know where you stand on just about everything. These are just a few of the experiences that have come about over the last couple of months.
It certainly takes a particular type of individual to run for (any) office. For one thing, you have to be willing to have your ideas held up for public scrutiny. While I am fairly new to the process, I would have to say it could be why so many politicians seem so indifferent to opinions other than their own. One can see how it would be easy to grow a thick skin and dismiss all criticism as a self-defense mechanism. One of the real pleasures of seeking election in the Prince George ? Peace River region is that people still have a sense of politeness when you speak to them. This is true regardless of political affiliation or party membership. I?m not sure that I would want to do this in a city where the same sensibilities do not seem to apply.
One of the great challenges in a riding of this size is organization. By and large, federal ridings are set up so that each Member of Parliament represents approximately the same number of Canadians. In rural ridings like ours, this means that the new boundary will stretch from McBride to the Yukon Territory. Compare this with a few square blocks in a city like Vancouver or Toronto and you can see how different the circumstances are. Welcome to federal politics in the true north strong and free!
Not only is there the sheer size of the constituency, there is a difference in the issues that need to be addressed. While every person is concerned about topics like healthcare and the environment, Prince George has very different local realities than Dawson Creek or Fort Nelson. In Prince George it is softwood lumber. In the South Peace it is beef and crop prices. In the far north it is oil and gas development. Once again this is quite different that a city riding where conditions tend to apply more consistently for the people living there.
The things I have come to enjoy most are the opportunities to speak with people, and singing our National Anthem before an event. That song always chokes me up and helps to keep me focused on why I?m pursuing a place in Parliament. The thing I enjoy least is the time away from family and friends. I love life in Tumbler Ridge. It?s why we choose to stay after the closure at Bullmoose. Like everything else, it comes down to a matter of balance. Remember what the most important things life are, and remember why you decided to embark upon this course in the first place.
Have a great week everyone!