Monday, August 17, 2015

Focus more National than regional for Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates

Two weeks into the marathon of the 2015 Federal election campaign and if one were to review the talking points of the three declared candidates for the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding as a guidebook, when it comes to the fall vote all interest is national it seems.

Over the course of the first fourteen days of the campaign, for the most part the three declared candidates of Nathan Cullen, Tyler Nesbitt and Rod Taylor have echoed the themes of the national campaign, with little in the way of a discussion on issues a little closer to the voters at home.

The incumbent, Mr. Cullen, has made much use of the national talking points of his leader Thomas Mulcair in the majority of his Facebook and twitter commentary, the only real nod to a local campaign, the announcement of the opening of his campaign offices across the region, a stop or two in communities and a photo or two of campaign signs making their way across the riding.

Mr. Nesbitt as well seems content to thump the tub on the Conservative party's national timeline,  featuring the Conservative Party's concerns on terrorism, a Home Renovation Tax Credit and thoughts related to what the Conservatives believe the NDP plans when it comes to gun registration to name a few of the talking points delivered thus far.

Of interest on the local scene was a picture of the candidate during a day of fishing off the North Coast, perhaps seeking the support of the strong salmon swing vote for the area.

The Christian Heritage Party, reduces the topics for debate even further, holding firm to their fairly dedicated focus on Family issues and abortion, any other topics seemingly banished from any form of overview.

The twitter feed for the CHP's Rod Taylor, for the most part holding close to those topics, with little in the way of content specifically directed towards the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding.

To this point of the campaign, any thoughts from any candidate, on issues focused on the Skeena-Bulkley Valley area just aren't being explored to any great depth, if at all.

Controversial topics of recent months, such as LNG issues, oil by rail or pipeline, forestry and fishery concerns, mining activity and oversight, housing themes, postal service cutbacks, and a string of other issues that should be of interest, have yet to get much attention through these dog days of August.

Those more regional notes rarely it seems edge their way into the Facebook timelines or Twitter feeds, the delivery system which make up the bulk of the information flow that the candidates are using to for their messages so far in the campaign.

Perhaps the candidates, who are easing their way into the campaign are thinking that no one is paying attention until after Labour Day, so why waste any material and time on regional themes until the summer vacation season is done with.

Still, at least the Conservatives, NDP and CHP have a pulse, still to be heard from in the riding are the Liberal Party and Green Party who so far haven't even hinted that a candidate may find their way onto the ballot for October 19th.

The nature of the long campaign may account for the lack of activity for those parties, with limited resources they may be waiting until the post Labour Day period to launch a candidate, mindful of the deadline for nominations of September 28th.

At some point, we hope some of the local issues and how each candidate wants to approach them will become part of the campaign process.

Otherwise, with the focus on the national party talking points of late, the old adage that elected MP's don't represent us in Ottawa, but represent Ottawa to us, would seem to have some sense of resonance to it.

You can follow Northwest developments from the campaign through our archive page here.

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