Kamloops-North Thompson deserves a resident MLA

Two & Out
By James Peters
May 5, 2017 - 3:10pm Updated: May 5, 2017 - 4:25pm

KAMLOOPS — We keep harping on this, but certainly it deserves to pointed out: once again after next Tuesday, Kamloops-North Thompson will have an MLA who doesn't live there. 

Whether it's Peter Milobar, Barb Nederpel, Dan Hines, or by some Communist miracle Peter Kerek, all of those prospective MLAs live on the south side of the river. 

Now that in and of itself is not a travesty of justice, nor is it unprecedented. 

In fact, Kamloops-North Thompson has had two terms of Terry Lake, who lives in the Kamloops downtown.

Kevin Krueger before Lake lived south of the river as well, but at least at that time, the riding boundaries encompassed his home in east Kamloops.

And of course, Christy Clark had to be flown into a friendly riding in West Kelowna after she couldn't win in her hometown of Vancouver. 

But something is different with this particular riding. 

Having lived on both sides of the river, I know first hand there is a definite difference in self-identity between the two. 

The North Shore in particular and Kamloops-North Thompson as a whole both have a sort of underdog pride — the type of pride that comes from overcoming or carrying on despite significant barriers, if you'll pardon the pun. 

The North Shore is kind of the old city. 

Some wear that with great pride. 

And the North Thompson Valley is certainly it's own unique and distinct region; a paradox of a tight-knit community spread over hundreds of kilometres. 

And of course, in 2003 and before, it has overcome its fair share of obstacles. 

Political candidates may believe that Kamloops is one united city, that the region as a whole is united, but it's clearly not. 

Kamloops-North Thompson really could use its own representative, its own champion representing its own issues in Victoria, someone who doesn't have to cross a bridge to get to the riding he or she represents. 

Now it's not for lack of trying, of course. 

The North Shore's very own Steven Puhallo took a shot at the Liberal nomination, but was beaten out by Milobar. 

And various parties have fielded resident candidates in the recent past, to no success. 

And once again this year, the MLA will be, in a sense, an outsider. 

What this means is that Kamloops-North Thompson residents will need to speak in full throat to advance their interests, as they have always done. 

Terry Lake will almost certainly tell you his constituents knew very well where is MLA office was, and used it frequently to voice their concerns. 

May that tradition carry on well into the future, whether the MLA is an outsider or not.