FRIDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — What’s a politician to do?
If you stay away from a disaster on the grounds you’re letting the experts do their job and it’s best you don’t interfere, you catch hell for not showing leadership in a time of crisis.
If you show up at the scene, you get lambasted for playing politics.
Premier Christy Clark stayed away from Mount Polley for three days, then visited Likely on Thursday in time for the announcement of preliminary water testing results at a public meeting.
As far as we can tell, she did quite well, taking part in a First Nations healing ceremony, flying over the area for a look at the damage being done by the Mount Polley Mine’s burst tailings pond, and speaking to residents and the press.
She carefully kept to her key messages of concern for residents, don’t know much yet, must find out.
But Clark was a day behind NDP leader John Horgan, who was there Wednesday demanding that the government release any and all documents related to “the development, monitoring and enforcement” of the mine’s tailings pond and dam.
Which, by the way, the government was doing that same day. But Clark’s hesitation to take the lead on the Mount Polley file gave Horgan a chance to beat her to the punch where it counted, on the ground.
“The tailings pond failure at Mount Polley Mine may be the worst industrial accident in B.C. I’ve seen in my lifetime and Premier Clark and the Liberal government need to be held accountable for their role in it,” he said.
Which left Clark playing catchup on Thursday. The lesson being, when disaster strikes, always err on the side of action rather than inaction.