Governance is a complex and serious matter and again we have the opportunity to gather information, assess the challenges facing us as provincial residents, and weigh in with our vote in the upcoming election in mid-May. One of our MLA candidates is Dan Ashton, now serving in the dual roles of mayor and RDOS chair. As a resident of Penticton, I’ve been uneasy about him serving in this double capacity and wondering how the concerns of both the city and the RDOS can be effectively and objectively addressed.
Now Mayor Ashton is the Liberal candidate for the MLA seat, and though he can’t officially embark upon an active campaign until the official dropping of the provincial election writ on April 16, he has been openly commenting on issues. This is climbing of the political ladder, which can be judged as admirable, but at what cost to local obligations and not only the letter but the spirit of the April date?
I’m also concerned about Dan Ashton merely supporting the Liberal stance of yet more formal study required for the hospital expansion proposal when he’s been not particularly effective in bringing this dire need to the fore in years past. There’s also lack of Liberal support for continued pursuit of the national park in this unique Canadian environment, and Mayor Ashton has had no power in influencing his party to prioritize this issue, which is being considered again with the backing of a recently completed study commissioned by the First Nations. Can Dan Ashton be a powerful voice for the South Okanagan as part of a party that has not responded positively to concerns of this region?
Twelve years is a long time for a political party to hold power, and having Dan Ashton stretch himself even farther to grasp the golden ring of the MLA leadership position for our region seems a questionable effort at this point in South Okanagan history.