• Sunday, March 06th, 2011

If you’ve been paying attention to anything I’ve been saying over this campaign, you’ve probably heard me say something to the effect of “I am solution based, not issue focused”.

I’ve had a couple people ask me exactly what that means. It’s not something that you can explain in a six minute speech, and hope to say anything else, so I figured I’d take a few minutes and explain exactly what it means.

Issues come and issues go. And the issues of a rancher in the Robson Valley (Elk eating and peeing on their feed stock) will be completely different than the issues of a lawyer in Prince George trying to find office space, and her issues will be completely foreign to an oil and gas worker in Fort Nelson.

And what happens when that lawyer gets her office? Her situation changes and so do the issues she faces.

What happens then, to the politician who bases his message on addressing the shortage of office space for lawyers in Prince George? The issue has disappeared, and so, like a polar bear jumping from melting ice floe to melting ice floe, that person jumps around from issue to issue, looking for some solid land to plant a political flag on. Oh, sure, it makes for great TV, as that person will always have a nice sound bite for the six o’clock news. But they do become like flags, blowing this way and that by the winds of political and social change.

Issues are important. Don’t get me wrong. To the forestry worker who is out of a job and has no way to provide for his family? That’s an all-consuming, life changing issue. And I in no way want you to think that I am trivializing those issues.

But it strikes me that it is more important how a politician deals with issues than how she speaks to issues. That finding solutions is more important than finding a five second sound bite. And that they have a methodology, a system in place to come up with solutions.

Let me provide you with an example.

I am hearing from people of this riding that they are not feeling heard.  People in the communities farthest away from the Constituency offices are feeling that their voices aren’t as loud as those living in communities that have a Constituency office or are close to those offices. So, this is an issue to people in this riding.

Now, what is best for the family, community, country?  Well as I look at what is best for these community I see that rather than having the people in these communities come to the mountain, so to speak, it is not unreasonable to bring the mountain to them. Rather than have one or two constituency offices in Prince George and Fort St. John or Dawson Creek, why not have a traveling Constituency office that would set up in places like Fort Nelson, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Mackenzie, McBride or Tumbler Ridge so that people in these communities would have access on a scheduled basis to their Constituency office.

This would give individuals, families and groups from these communities the opportunity to meet with office staff and the MP face to face. This could only have a positive impact on families, communities and in the end….the country.

By running issues through the crucible of these core values: family, community, county, determining the effects that the issues have, we can as a riding begin moving towards the best solution. Is every issue as easy to address? No, but if we focus on finding the solution rather than on the problem, we will be moving in the right direction.

Sometimes our problems are like pennies. Pennies are not very big, but if we place them in front of our eyes, we cannot see anything other than the pennies. We cannot see the sun, we cannot see the world around us, and we cannot see the solutions that might be within grasp. All we see are the problems. But it is my mission, in life and as a politician, to see beyond the problems to the solutions.

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