Nelson-Creston MLA responds to Creston Coun. Wes Graham

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To the Editor:

(Re: “MLA missed at AGM”, page 7, May 12 Advance)

In Mr. Graham’s letter to the editor on May 12, he criticizes me for not attending the recent Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments AGM. He is correct to say that he wrote me on Facebook, but unfortunately he does not tell the full story. Let me set the record straight so that you know the facts.

I replied to Mr. Graham, noting that if he has a concern regarding my work as his MLA, that the best channel is the legislature’s publicly documented forums of communication. That way, his concerns will be properly documented. Facebook does not allow for this. I did, nonetheless, respond to his concerns via Facebook.

It is important to note that he never asked why I was unable to be there. Rather, his accusations left me with the distinct impression that he was playing politics as he did in the 2009 election campaign when he wore a BC Liberal badge to public town council meetings.

So that you are aware, I was not able to attend the AKBLG AGM on April 28 because I was doing the job you elected me to do, which is represent the people of Nelson-Creston in the B.C. legislature. On April 29, the day attended by my provincial and federal colleagues, I had a fixed personal appointment that kept me in Nelson.

The following day of the AGM was a half-day. By the time I would have arrived in Kimberly, a three-hour drive from my home, events would have been over. So I joined in alternative events that I was invited to attend. As part of those events, I ran into several other local government officials, all of whom understood my absence at the AGM. Perhaps they had already noted that I did indeed send my regrets, contrary to Mr. Graham’s claims.

Having been a municipal councillor, I know well the AKBLG’s good work. That’s why, when asked, I did not hesitate to facilitate Adrian Dix’s attendance at this year’s AGM. In the end, the AKBLG changed its mind about having Mr. Dix speak with them.

As I noted to Mr. Graham, I am always happy to answer any questions constituents have about what I do as their representative. I believe in transparency and openness. Indeed, I tweeted about the events I attended on April 30, as I do about most of my work. It’s one of the ways I enjoy keeping you up to date.

In short, there’s no need for Mr. Graham to play politics here. He has my phone number and email, and has already received a response from me on Facebook that invited him to contact me directly. I continue to welcome him to contact me should he have any further questions.

Michelle Mungall

Nelson-Creston MLA