Letters to the editor expressing frustration with MP John Duncan’s unresponsiveness have been increasing recently.
Brendan Johnson, responding to another letter critical of Duncan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Christy Clark, defended all three in a recent Comox Valley Record issue.
Johnson refuted a letter writer’s claim that Duncan is “never here” by writing that he met our MP in Courtenay “only a few weeks ago, and I am sure that he is willing to hear from his constituents.”
There is nonetheless a pattern of behaviour by Duncan that suggests aloofness to all but party faithful.
For some time, his public appearances have been timed to coincide with “good news” funding announcements.
Not that this is surprising. Parties and politicians of all stripes maximize opportunities to demonstrate the benefits of voting for them.
When the media has questions to ask, however, getting a meaningful comment from our MP, or any comment for that matter, has become impossible.
Requests are routed to his public relations people. Since Duncan became a cabinet minister, he has on staff bright people who are masterful at appearing to say something while saying absolutely nothing on his behalf.
In effect, our MP is in a bubble, immune to approaches from constituents or the media that represent them.
It’s not as if we lack empathy for Duncan.
Like politicians, the media are in the public eye. We are often criticized, sometimes fairly, sometimes not. We lack a buffer between our critics and us, however.
Duncan has a huge riding to represent. Travel within the riding as well as between B.C. and Ottawa must be daunting. His duties as a cabinet minister also distract him from representing his constituency.
Still, Duncan does not look good compared to accessible and responsive MLA Don McRae.
Please Mr. Duncan, come out of your bubble once in awhile if the prime minister will let you.