It’s a bit cliché to say that all good things come to an end, but it is true. It is not without a touch of wistfulness that I’m here to share the news that I’ll be leaving The Duel column with Brent Stafford.
After more than two years and countless weekly columns debating nearly every issue under the sun, after some extensive soul-searching I called my publisher a couple of weeks ago to have an important conversation.
It’s not that I haven’t fully loved my column and the opportunity – it’s been incredible – nor was it that I didn’t enjoy my readers – you’re the best part! And I feel it’s important that you know why I chose to leave.
Over the last couple of years writing here on my blog as well, I’ve noticed things have been changing. More people than ever seem to be completely disconnected from the political process at a time when it’s more important than ever, for them to be engaged.
What’s turning them off?
In my opinion part of it is how left out people feel-like their input doesn’t count – and there seems to be a lot of cynicism out there among the electorate that it really doesn’t matter if they vote or not because every politician is the same. ( not true)
However, what I see over and over again is a complete polarization between left and right that turns many people right off.
And representing the left only, in a debate column where the entire premise is the difference between the left and right, made me realize I was a part of that problem. Being pigeon-holed doesn’t leave a lot of opportunity for moving beyond that and sometimes it’s about doing what is right, not what is ‘left’ or ‘right’. The truth rarely lies entirely on one side or the other-sometimes it’s right in the middle.
I knew I could no longer do the Duel justice.
Back to the phone call with my publisher. She was surprised, yes, but she understood completely where I was coming from and that I felt strongly I could no longer continue with the Duel if I wanted to move the conversation in politics forward in a way I felt was meaningful. And she asked if I would consider taking over the City Hall column as Kathryn Marshall moves on, leaving big shoes to fill.
It didn’t take me long to say yes because it was yet another incredible opportunity to engage people at the civic level, which might be a starting point to turning things around.
Starting next week, every Thursday I will be bringing you a new column covering the civic affairs of Vancouver or one of the cities across the region, holding municipal councils accountable for their actions. The beauty of the column is it’s not about right or left or centre – it’s about how civic leaders of all stripes do their jobs. And maybe there will even be some bold news ideas or initiatives that can benefit everyone!
I’d like to wish Brent all the best as he continues in the Duel with a new partner after the May long weekend holiday next Monday – pick up a paper to find out who it is! It’s not easy writing a debate column like this and sometimes our weekly conversations in deciding what to debate would have made great material for a tv segment- we really have argued at times, made up and agreed. We’ve shared a lot of laughs along the way and I’ve learned a lot from him.
I hope you’ll join me in this new venture in 24Hrs Vancouver and I look forward to continuing and developing the relationship we have together. And for all of my regular long time blog readers, I’ll still be blogging here too of course! There is a lot to come….
( … and if you have any story tips for the new column, send it along via the confidential contact page at the top of this page! )