Armchair Mayor

By: Mel Rothenburger

Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). He continued to write columns for The Daily News until it ceased publication Jan. 11, 2014, and did regular commentary for CBC Radio.

Minority and coalition governments aren't new in BC, and they don't work

May 13, 2017 - 9:20am

KAMLOOPS — It feels as though B.C. is entering brand new political territory, but this won’t be the first time the province has been governed by a minority government. And if we end up with a coalition, that won’t be new, either. 

In fact, B.C. was led by a Liberal-Conservative coalition for more than a decade. That coalition was followed immediately by a short-lived minority government. The province even once had an alternative voting system that turned out to be a dismal failure. 

Could be a very interesting by-election for the mayor’s job, but…

May 12, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Could be a very interesting by-election for mayor.

Coun. Ken Christian no sooner re-confirmed this week he wants the job than he got some competition, and credible competition at that.

His challenger is Prof. Cindy Ross Friedman, who tweeted and Facebooked Thursday that she will seek the City’s top job if a by-election is called, with special emphasis on the North Shore plus a clear stand against Ajax.

British Columbians just couldn’t decide what they wanted

May 10, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: May 10, 2017 - 6:37pm

KAMLOOPS — Time for a change?

To listen to all three party leaders, you’d think that’s what British Columbians voted for.

The NDP’s John Horgan and the Greens’ Andrew Weaver stuck to their well-worn campaign rhetoric in their speeches to party supporters last night — Horgan saying people voted for “a new government” and Weaver saying they “delivered change.”

Even Christy Clark talked about doing things differently.

OK. So what is it that British Columbians want done differently? Seems to me, they couldn’t decide at all.

Voting is a true mood enhancer; do it

May 9, 2017 - 11:00am

KAMLOOPS — If you've already voted by the time you read this, good for you. If you haven’t, and aren’t sure whether you’ll bother, reconsider.

It feels good to vote. There’s something about parking your car and walking into a polling station where a bunch of other people are there for the same reason you are — to do your democratic thing.

How the Greens will win Kamloops for the Liberals

May 6, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: May 6, 2017 - 8:39am

KAMLOOPS — Would you like to know who’s going to win the election? Of course you would, so I’ll tell you. The pollsters are calling it a horse race, too close to call. “It’s anyone’s to win,” a guy from Ipsos said this week.

The fact that the pollsters even disagree about whether the Liberals or NDP are slightly ahead gives more credence to the assessment that it’s very close. This is different from 2013, when the New Democrats were supposedly comfortably ahead, yet lost in the final days.

The pollsters say they’ve fixed whatever it was they screwed up so badly last time.

North Shore business ED indulges in election scare tactics

May 5, 2017 - 5:00am Updated: May 5, 2017 - 10:09am

KAMLOOPS — Fear-mongering is a common occurrence in election campaigns and this one is no different. The BC Liberals fear-monger about tax raises if the NDP wins; the NDP fear-mongers about exactly the same thing if the Liberals win. 

It happens at the local level, too, the latest shameless example being comments by Steven Puhallo, executive director of the North Shore Business Improvement Association. 

What would you have done if you were the candidate?

May 3, 2017 - 4:53am

Sometimes we worry too much about what’s politically ethical and what’s not. Here are a couple of examples.

Imagine you’re the mayor of Kamloops. A former mayor, someone you knew for many years, passes away. The family asks you to speak on behalf of the City at his celebration of life.

But there’s a slight hitch: you are currently on leave from the mayor’s job because you’re running in the provincial election.

What would you do?

Say no?

Offer to speak as an individual and friend but not as mayor?

If we’re going to insult politicians with nicknames, let’s make them good ones

April 29, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Maybe it’s election fatigue and I’m just feeling grouchy, but could someone clue me in on what’s so funny about calling the premier of our province “Krusty” Clark?

Friends and supporters don’t call her that, so it’s safe to assume it’s not meant as a compliment. No, it shows up in anti-Liberal blogs and comments whenever somebody is feeling snarky about the premier or her party.

Acting Mayor Arjun Singh proves he has the chops for the job

April 28, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — There’s something different about Arjun Singh these days.

What’s different, of course, is that he’s the deputy mayor in the early days of Peter Milobar’s leave of absence due to the provincial election. 

Councillors take turns as deputy mayors (they used to be called “acting mayors”) on a monthly rotation. When the mayor is away, they fill in. Usually, there isn’t much to it and might involve attending a public function, signing some papers, or maybe chairing a meeting, but it’s a one- or two-day part-time proposition.