Dear Editor. It is possible that the years are making me increasingly jaded. I could not help nodding my head when I read the Abbotsford Today article concerning the inability of party politicians to adequately represent their constituents.
Your words reminded me of Peter C. Newman’s observations in “Heroes”. He suggested that “most of our public figures are equivocating politicians who promise they’ll take care of us from erection to resurrection. Then they dump us between election campaigns.” He goes on to say “I have found that the measure of commitment and integrity a man or woman brings to the political wars is far more significant than the banner under which they travel.”
It is for this reason that I, and many other voters, are hoping the three independent MLAs, John van Dongen, Bob Simpson and Vicki Huntington will be re-elected. Each has been an ardent advocate for their people and for a more democratic system of government which permits MLA’s to truly represent the people who elected them.
My personal experience with John van Dongen has convinced me that his work ethic and high level of integrity enable him to represent his constituents effectively. I recall vividly a Saturday morning, standing in the rain with a dozen other members of the Lefeuvre Rd. community, picketing against the stench emanating from a local mushroom composting factory. We were amazed when van Dongen pulled up and entered into a dialogue with us.
Standing under a large umbrella he explained the Farm Practices Act, then listened to our concerns. Over several months he took the time to understand our issues thoroughly. Then as an opposition MLA, he went to Corky Evans, the Minister of Agriculture and urged him to find a remedy. The Minister asked van Dongen to form a committee of competent individuals and come up with a solution. In time the committee drew up a list of regulations and van Dongen worked diligently to have them implemented. He never expected or received public recognition for his work behind the scenes.
Having observed him deal effectively with this and several other issues, I believe that as an independent van Dongen can work well with any party. He is an able politician, but not a typical politician. He is more interested in results than in media attention.