Photo ops highlight community work

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Editor: Re: Too Many Photo Ops

I was surprised to read Dieter Remppel’s letter to the editor (Too many photo ops, Rocky Mountain Outlook, Feb. 1). Mr. Remppel’s experience with our MLA Cam Westhead has been very different than my own.

My experience is that Mr. Westhead has been eager to engage with his constituents and their concerns about the riding. He’s attended many events and open houses related to conservation, and I’ve heard from others in the Bow Valley that he’s equally engaged on other important issues to the region, including social justice, housing, First Nations reconciliation and our local tourism economy.

In the meetings I’ve had with him, Mr. Westhead has been a deeply engaged listener and questioner, and when he’s made a commitment to follow up on a matter, he always has.

I can appreciate why Mr. Remppel might be sceptical about cheque presentation photo-ops. I offer a different perspective for looking at the time-honoured tradition: it’s less about who is handing out the money and more about who is receiving it.

Community groups get very little publicity, and the opportunity to have their story told to the local media, and therefore the public, helps them share with busy residents the importance of their work.

The big ceremonial cheque has value by highlighting groups that might otherwise not appear in our local papers or on the radio to tell us how they are improving the lives of those of us in the riding.

Regardless of our partisan interests, our MLA works for us all. Those who want to share their point of view with him need only ask for some of his time. My guess is that Mr. Westhead would be only too happy to chat.

Stephen Legault,

Canmore

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Rocky Mountain Outlook