I have been further into the heartlands this week, up to the Cariboo country where the Liberals are worried. This area has always been a good area for Liberals and socreds, folks there will however vote for the person over the party. Case in point was David Zirnhelt. Zirnhelt took the riding three times, the last two being squeakers, but he took it.
Many folks up there look to Victoria to deliver, they expect their MLA to get their message through and to deliver. As I walked the streets in this small city, the kind of place the Campbell Liberals deleveloped the "heartlands" moniker for, I found out just how much trouble Campbell flag bearer Walt Cobb is in. As I was greeted, there was an air of enthusiasm for change. Granted most I spoke too were NDP supporters, they were however pretty keen on their chances of upsetting Walt Cobb.
Cobb was Mayor of Williams Lake for a few terms and a city councilors, local business man and an advocate for people with disabilities. He choose the right time to enter to political frey and left the municipal farm team to join the Big league in Victoria in 2001.
Many locals knew you could run just about anyone for the Liberals in 2001 and win. Again, most of us thought Walt would at the very least not be a hindrance. We did not expect him in Cabinet, but he was a local boy, who cared about local issues and people.
How sad it is that today weeks before an election and Walt's career as an MLA is less than an even odds bet. Not so sad for Walt really but the people of the Cariboo. For the first time since 1975 there was no cabinet minister from the Cariboo. For the first time since 1975 no one from the Cariboo was in the inner circle of government.
- Where was Walt Cobb...
- when the province eliminated the requirement of tenure holders to mill their wood in the community they took the logs from?
- when the government closed the Cariboo Forest Region?
- when the court house in 100 Mile House was closed?
- when the school that was closed in in Forest Grove?
- when the government changed the gaming funds distribution to local charities?
- when the Lytton Hospital was closed?
- when the government slashed staffing at the Ministry of Environment then eliminated the Ministry?
- when the Campbell government passed a 3.5 cents per litre tax on gasoline to pay for lower mainland infrastructure?
Unfortunately some nice guys cannot get the the job done. Walt should have stayed in municipal politics. That would have at least saved the people of the Laketown from current Wal-Mart schiller Mayor Rick Gibson.
The job is up for grabs and the people in the Cariboo will choose between the Campbell man and Charlie Wyse, a NEW New Democrat, former red tory, school teacher and budget guru for countless years on Williams Lake City Council.
Charlie can be a pretty dull guy, being the numbers kinda guy he is, the difference is Charlie knows how to deliver to his constituents, he knows what needs to be addressed and again unlike Walt Cobb, Charlie is building a list of things that have to be done and he will have a plan to deliver them.
I know these two men well, I worked with City Council as a community rep from a variety of groups from 1981 to 1992 and from 1992 - 1996 I worked for David Zirnhelt We accomplished a great deal in Williams Lake from 1992 - to 1996. While Mayor Walt attended anti NDP rallies, Charlie stayed back, plugging away at the issues, delivering!