By Mike Archer. One might have thought that, in venturing into one of the safest ridings for Liberals in the last generation, NDP leader Adrian Dix might have had a bit more to say about Abbotsford.
He did say the NDP was giving Abbotsford and Mission much hiogher priority than they ever have because they believe they can make some serious inroads here.
Then why the safe, bland photo op with no substance? In candidates Preet Rai (Abbotsford Mission), Lahkvinder Jhaj (Abbotsford South), and Sukhi Dhami (Abbostford West) the NDP have some people with substance who stand a very real chance of upsetting the BC Liberals who are fielding two newcomers and one of the three most powerful Liberal cabinet members in the province – Mike de Jong.
Neither newcomer has much to offer and De Jong could go down with the ship if, as some are predicting, the BC lIberals are relegated to the history books.
Unfortunately, much like Christy Clark’s visit to Chilliwack on Tuesday, Dix’s visit to Abbotsford was an orchestrated event designed to have the big old media which pays to be on the campaign bus get their 30 second clips and photos more than it was to provide any useful information to the local voters.
The local old media fell in line and welcomed the premier in waiting and wrote down everything he had to say without asking single question of any interest to local residents.
And so they were able to report that Dix spoke about:
- Skills training
- The student grant program
- Northern Communities
- Tax credits for those hiring co-op students
- Liquor laws
- … and he told the News that agriculture is important. (That’s local … right?)
When the provincial leaders are either unfamiliar with or unwilling to engage with local media and local voters it provides very little opportunity for local residents to become engaged in the electoral process.
While admittedly fewer and fewer people in communities like Abbotsford, Chilliwack, or Mission rely on the big chain flyer distribution package newspapers to provide them with any local information of real interest or importance, in abandoning those same newspapers as an opportunity to talk to voters, the provincial political parties are cutting themselves off from what used to be a very useful way to get their message out to voters in individual ridings.