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Bad move, now it's your turn

It's not just about COVID and passports and masks. In fact, those polarizing issues seem quite normal compared to the strange story we've watched over the last month as the area's former Conservative MLA has instantly become our Conservative MP candidate. We've all watched it happen — without saying too much ... or being told too much about it.

Are we so numbed by our continuing disappointment in politicians that we just accept it? 

Is that what they are banking on as we head like lemmings to the polls and vote for the party, not the person, nor their antics... as we have done for generations?

There should be more effort ... from them and us. There should also be a shit-ton more questions being answered. 

First off, can a sitting MLA resign their elected post and be appointed as the candidate in a federal election? 

If they can ... (a) shouldn't they consider that the electorate who voted them into one job might not like them leaving it? (b) If there is a process in place to select a local candidate, how were they appointed? (c) Can they come back to their provincial role if they lose the federal election? (d) Is it OK that 44,000 constituents now have no provincial representative? (e) Shouldn't 'public' figures we voted for be less hidden and secretive and more transparent and accessible to answer some of these questions and others? Shouldn't they want to respond to email requests and phone calls asking them to explain their actions?

Their silence on this issue should come as no surprise. We have grown complacent — and they know it.

Current-and outgoing Fort McMurray-Cold Lake Conservative MP David Yurdiga has carried a track record of poor responses to media requests over his years in federal office. The occasional comment when he's caught at an in-person event and the odd blurb response to an email question or two has been the norm for the man we voted in with a 79 per cent majority in the last election.

But he does like to issue a regular pamphlet into all mailboxes, ironically called Your Tax Dollars At Work. The same guy didn't use my tax dollars to make it to one single candidate forum leading up to that last election. So it should really come as no surprise that Mr. Yurdiga has been quiet on the recent game of political musical chairs in the region. He's been equally silent to explain his recent endorsement of a candidate running for a party that isn't Conservative, and continues to avoid responding to the muck his party's riding association is flinging over their disapproval of the federal Conservative Party's insta-candidate appointment.

Former MLA Laila Goodridge, who is that candidate hoping to fill Yurdiga's soon-to-be absent Conservative seat, has similarly chosen mum's the word on the issue as well.

It's not that they've done anything totally wrong — but the silent treatment isn't how you treat people who got you where you are. It would seem more important to keep the voters in the loop. After-all, if it weren't for the initial ballots of those voters, the new move would never have been possible. Furthermore, when there's no dialogue, we have to provide our own. 

Their health issues, personal reasons or political manoeuverings aside, we voted in these people to hold our trust, do what's right, represent us and most obviously, let us know what's happening. We even pay them to do it. Bending rules, going silent and creating blurry optics is not part of that agreement.

In a time when fringe and independent groups are succeeding in their push to grab the grassroots votes with new promises of steady communication and public consultation, these old-school, behind-closed-doors, political moves may not pass the sniff-test of the once-reverent party faithful.  

It's vote time. Are you going to stay quiet like them? Or are you going to let your vote speak for you?

Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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