COLUMN: Mayne shows he’s in political game

Anyone surprised by some of the candidates pulling out of their respective party leadership races last week wasn’t paying much attention to start with.
For the NDP, Harry Lali’s exit from the race was no big shocker, particularly given his earlier criticism of his own party executive regarding the fees it was demanding to seek the top job.
On the Liberal side, MLA Moira Stilwell might have been the first person in the race to replace Premier Gordon Campbell, but she was a long shot from the get-go.
Despite the fact she might have been the best candidate, in terms of her knowledge and skills, she simply doesn’t have the heavyweight star power wielded by her caucus colleagues and former deputy premier Christy Clarke.
And ultimately, it’s name recognition and reputation that wins elections.
That’s also why former Parks-ville mayor Ed Mayne never stood a chance.
From the moment he announced he’d be entering the race, he was already on his way out.
But Mayne’s motivation was never really the leadership. Instead, he simply used the race as a way to boost that all-important public profile with his eyes on winning a seat in the provincial legislature.
While the Parksville-Qualicum riding is held by Liberal MLA Ron Cantelon, the neighbouring Alberni-Qualicum constituency is held by the NDP’s Scott Fraser.
If nothing else, Mayne’s first foray into provincial politics has shown he’s got the game to be in the game.
He certainly put himself in the right circles by rubbing elbows with the Liberals’ biggest power brokers, regardless who wins today’s vote. Being able to put “former Liberal leadership candidate” on the political resumé doesn’t hurt either.
Check our website and Tuesday’s print edition for a followup on who wins the Liberal leadership.
The NDP select their new replacement for Carole James, and interim leader Dawn Black, later this spring.
Personally, I’m not sure what to think about all the hoopla over health concerns and cellular towers. But I’m not willing to rule out the possibility the worries are well-founded.
It seems appropriate to take a cautious, wait-and-see approach to putting the towers in heavily populated areas, but we’re already so far past that point we’d never be able to locate it if we tried.
Cellular and other forms of wireless  communication are an integral part of everyday life and have been for years.
Cell towers are already located all over the city and the Island.
Health Canada guidelines say there’s little or no need to worry, while the available science is inconclusive, with various researchers citing either the negligible or tremendous health risks.
While I can’t really see how restricting cell towers to no closer than 500 metres of a school – as the Regional District of Nanaimo board agreed to do this week – is going to protect young people, given the proliferation of other sources of electromagnetic radiation elsewhere in today’s world, neither can I see how it will hurt.
At least it’s doing something.
I can’t help but think of things such as asbestos or smoking, and how they were approached in the early days.
Potential health risks weren’t given much thought and even now, with both proven to be killers, we’re left with a serious and ongoing fight to eliminate them due to their respective roles in our economy.
Unfortunately, we’ve taken a similar approach with wireless communication – lurching ahead due to the convenience and economic benefits and dealing with the potential negatives consequences as an afterthought.

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