EDITORIAL: All eyes on Watts

Whatever MP Dianne Watts’s says at Sunday’s ‘important announcement’ to invited guests, it affects you

Whatever South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts has on her mind for her “important announcement” to invited guests and media Sunday, rest assured it’s as much about you as it is about her.

After all, if the former Surrey mayor declares her candidacy for leader of the BC Liberal party – as so many confidently predict – that will affect not only all of B.C., but specifically her own local voters who’d expected her to represent them federally for another two years and who would be due for a byelection if she is successful.

Of course, the latter would also be true if her announcement is that she’s leaving politics, but that prediction would feel less likely to those who have seen how fervently she embraces political conversation and how comfortable she seems with her feet planted firmly on the political landscape.

And finally – and this might be even more of a stretch – if she were to declare her candidacy for the leader of the federal Conservatives to unseat recent electee Andrew Scheer, you’d better believe that would affect local voters, as media from across Canada would be trampling on your flowerbeds to get their scoop.

Regardless of speculation on Watts’ political future, perhaps now would be as good a time as any to remind her and other politicians that no matter where their political lives take them, they would be wise to continuously defend their records along the way.

For Watts specifically, it’s not that she has had many missteps as viewed by her parties faithful, but she should outline and timeline her career so that the general voter – the one who has difficulty comprehending how a person can have political sympathies for both a Conservative Party of Canada and a BC Liberal party – can judge and, ultimately, support.

The provincial media is fond of calling Watts a popular mayor for her time at the civic helm in Surrey from 2005-2014, but shouldn’t that be said of any elected official who wins the popular vote? And popularity in one geographic region – or among pundits – does not necessarily reflect potential broader appeal.

Indeed, if predictions are accurate – and Watts is eyeing the BC Liberals‘ top job – to earn the role as leader of the opposition and potentially future premier, Watts should be prepared with a list of her accomplishments not only as Surrey’s mayor but throughout her past two years as member of Parliament.

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