Quesnel now has a choice. Ron Paull joins Mary Sjostrom in race for mayor's chair

Quesnel now has a choice.

Ron Paull joins Mary Sjostrom in race for mayor's chair


by Arthur Topham

'In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics."
All issues are political issues....'

~ George Orwell

One of the hallmarks of the democratic process has always been the freedom of citizens to choose their elected leaders. Fortunately for the City of Quesnel, embroiled in political controversy over the past year thanks to internal conflicts over the spending habits of Mayor Mary Sjostrom and other council members as well as other issues to do with transparency and policy, the voters will now have the option of either returning the old guard or cleaning house and beginning anew.

That choice was made possible on Saturday, October 8, 2011 when long time city councillor Ron Paull decided to officially toss his hat in the ring and commit to running in the race for mayor of the Cariboo's Goldpan city.

Mixed metaphors aside the Sentinel is delighted to see that electors will now be presented with the possibility of genuine debate over any and all the longstanding grievances that have plagued the municipal council since the spring of this year when revelations first emerged that there was growing dissension within council ranks regarding the accounting procedures and expenditures of taxpayer's money.

For all of this of course the voters are indebted to the city's finance chair Councillor Sushil Thapar who was standing on guard over the coffers of the taxpayers and first brought to light the issue of how their money was being spent and calling for greater financial restraint and accountability.

Then, on top of the issue of spurious spending was the additional disclosure that the City Manager's position had been filled without all the council members having been fully informed of the fact that the successful candidate, John Stecyk, former Yukon Highways deputy minister, had been fired by the government through an order-in council back in January of 2007 after federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser's office revealed a number of critical areas where mismanagement of both funding, planning and strategy had occurred within the ministry of Highways and Public Works.

This information was brought to the public's attention in a letter to the editor of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer on June 21, 2011 by Sentinel publisher Arthur Topham. The upshot of it was that within a week of the letter having been printed the Sentinel publisher received a letter from Quesnel's Vancouver law firm of Murdy & McCallister informing him that Mayor Sjostrom expected a formal apology for having written the letter or else he would face a defamation suit compliments of city taxpayers.

It is due to such developments that the vital issue of freedom of choice is so relevant in today's turbulent and ever-changing political world. Now that Councillor Ron Paull has made his mind up to offer Quesnel voters a choice this coming November let's hope that the city's voting population will take advantage of their good fortune and in turn, exercise their democratic right by becoming involved in the issues and making the best choice for their city when the civil elections take place.

The Sentinel wishes all the runners in the upcoming campaign ahead the very best and commends them for their dedication and commitment to the public interest.