One has to only dip their toes into the cesspool of combative social media to figure out the job title of politician is not always the most revered one.
Criticism of politicians is fair game and the task of politicians is to serve the people and not their own self interest at taxpayer’s expense, and those who feel a politician is not doing their job quite certainly have the right to voice their frustration.
Unfortunately at times, emotion trumps fact and some slings and arrows miss their mark in actual intent. Martin Shields has been the MP as a representative in the House of Commons for the Bow River region which includes the Taber and Vauxhall regions since 2015, coming off an eight-year stint as Mayor of Brooks.
A riding that represents approximately 115,000 people and over 24,000-square kilometres, being there ‘for’ the people is no easy task, especially when you consider Shields’ responsibilities are federal. That means quite often venturing to the nation’s capital, a place the West often feels alienated from. While we in the media may disagree with some of Shields’ stances from time to time, one thing is for certain, Shields has been there for his constituents.
Be it Cornfest, roundtables on rural crime, pig roasts in Vauxhall, Canada Day celebrations or anything in-between, one would be hard-pressed not to see Shields at an event, both big and small with what his tight schedule allows.
And not only attending for photo-ops, but also genuinely listening to his constituents in the crowd after some hand-shaking introductions, and bringing those concerns back to the powers that be.
It is not too often you see a politician bringing small-town newspapers from across his riding to the highest levels of government, talking about their importance and being quite vigilant about keeping his constituents informed through the medium, while others view it as cheap theatrics to fire up their crowd of supporters, applying the Trump catch phrase of ‘fake news’ with no attempt to verify such a claim.
At least from a local media perspective, you get the feeling of a politician that genuinely ranks among the pecking order of importance, and Shields views his constituents (those who elected him, and those who didn’t) first, and his party second.
When you know exactly how many towns and cities are in Shields’ riding and the many kilometres he is putting on his car, residents should be thankful for this accessibility to federal politics.