Time for political leadership on the West Shore to stand up

With the federal election in the works, municipal election maneuvering already beginning for November and a very possible snap provincial election in the fall, it is time to hold our politicians and would be politicians accountable — to a very high standard of personal performance and integrity that puts community needs over their personal ego needs.

There are many issues facing the citizens and businesses of the West Shore and most have to do with questions of infrastructure — the very core of any community.

Across Canada infrastructure problems are rampant with little political leadership in sight to deal with them.

On the West Shore these needs are exacerbated by the combination of our enormously rapid growth, our fractured political system and the subtle ways in which various levels of government play one community and its needs against another. Much has been accomplished in a short time in the West Shore thanks to particular leaders, but much remains to be done.

We need political leaders who will continue or start to stand to up to fix these issues: our deteriorating schools — we needed two new high schools yesterday; our roads and transportation — we need a comprehensive West Shore transportation plan that includes light rail, highways and the E&N well maintained and  fully funded; our wastewater systems are a hodge-podge of individual municipal “systems,” while the Capital Regional District attempts to foist its solutions on unsuspecting communities. We need family and youth services galore, not the cutbacks that have just recently closed the nonprofit Capital Families and cut Pacific Centre Services in half over the past five years.

We thank those political leaders who already stand up for those and similar groups and their client’s needs, but we challenge the new ones running for various levels to do so as well. All our municipal leaders need to cooperate carefully and publicly with one another to meet these needs.

At the federal level the Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding seems to have become a mere political football in the federal chess game as a “swing riding.”

There are many crucial federal issues that will affect the West Shore significantly including funding for transportation, jobs and greenspaces.

Provincially the Liberal caucus slyly calls Vancouver Island “Cuba North,” not realizing they could make great gains if they were smart about it on a West Shore that is very different from downtown Victoria or up Island.

Provincial leadership needs to finally demonstrate they understand and care about the enormous growth, opportunities and needs of citizens of the West Shore.

With all the upcoming elections, residents of the West Shore need to pick their political leaders carefully.

We urge you to vote for those who have a proven track record of positive results, that stand up for unique West Shore needs and do so strongly and honestly without rancor or negativity and with authenticity and respect.

dspinner@westshore.bc.ca

—Dan Spinner is the CEO of the WestShore Chamber of Commerce.

 

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