EDITORIAL: Vexation without representation?

In light of S. Surrey-White Rock’s vacant federal seat, do voters need an MP to champion their cause?

It’s a fair question – who represents the constituents of a federal riding when an MP leaves his or her post to pursue another opportunity?

It’s been widely discussed that Dianne Watts resigned her federal seat as Conservative MP for South Surrey-White Rock to make a bid for leadership of the provincial BC Liberal party. The resignation followed swiftly after Watts announced her intentions on Sept. 24.

What has been undiscussed, and – it must be noted – largely unquestioned by residents of the riding, is who represents them in Ottawa until a byelection is called.

The answer is, technically, nobody – although Watts’ former constituency office remains open to field inquiries form residents until that byelection is announced, which under the existing process could take months. (It should be noted, the office manager assured Peace Arch News, when asked this week, that if anyone has an issue relating to policy or legislation, they will be referred to an appropriate minister or opposition critic’s office.)

Although Watts was quick to assure us that she had overwhelming support from local constituents she had canvassed about her new political path, it seems possible there still may be residents who might be able to use the kind of support a local MP can provide. Those, for example, who might be looking for further federal help in relocating heavy coal, oil or chemical train traffic off the White Rock and South Surrey waterfront; or assistance with some worthy fundraising goal; or some federal guidance, or a glimmering of responsibility, for longstanding issues that continue to divide White Rock’s civic government and the Semiahmoo First Nation, even in an era of reconciliation.

In short, someone in Ottawa to champion their cause.

It may be that constituents aren’t overly troubled by the absence of an MP because they have become used to a certain invisibility of federal representation in this riding. After all, it took seven months after the October 2015 election for a constituency office to finally open for walk-in visits. Constituents survived that, just as they survived for years a certain day-to-day elusiveness of her predecessor, outside of photo ops and the occasional community forum.

Perhaps those in South Surrey-White Rock have simply learned that they can do without an MP altogether – in which case someone ought to contact Elections Canada and save everyone a lot of tax dollars.

 

Just Posted

EXCLUSIVE: Surrey collecting fees on more than 2,400 illegal suites, documents reveal

That works out to more than $1 million in fees collected annually

PHOTOS: South Surrey community celebrates Canada 150

First Nations, provincial and city officials host tree-planting event

Coffee with a Cop held in South Surrey

‘Sensational media,’ hazards, and inner-workings of RCMP discussed

70 years of marriage

South Surrey family faced difficult times after arriving to Canada by boat 60 years ago

Man found face-down beside motorcycle on 24 Avenue

Shortly after their arrival, Surrey firefighters had the man sitting and speaking

SLIDESHOW: PAN’s week in pictures

Highlights from this week’s Peace Arch News

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Holy Heritage Rail Batman: Superheros come to Cloverdale historic train

The Fraser Valley Heritage Rail is hosting its third annual Halloween rail adventure Oct 28, 29

Surrey Eagles prep for road tilt with first-place Vernon Vipers

After a Friday night game against Wenatchee, the Birds take aim at BCHL leaders Saturday

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read