O’Mahony snubbed at ribbon cutting: Harrington

The sitting MLA, Gwen O’Mahony was not asked to speak at UFV's ribbon cutting event at the new Chilliwack campus.

I attended the recent ceremony marking the official opening of the University of the Fraser Valley’s main new campus just off Keith Wilson Rd.

As expected, the ceremony included speeches from many people including Board Chairs, Presidents of UFV and local politicians.

As a person who spent many years on city and regional councils in Ontario and as a person who has attended similar ceremonies on many occasions, I know something of the protocol involving who is chosen to make a speech at such an event.

It is of course normal to include your setting federal MP, which was done in this case. It is then normal to include the mayor or the mayor’s representative, which was done in this case.

It is then expected that you will hear from the sitting MLA who represents the area where the University is located, which was not done in this case.

The sitting MLA, Gwen O’Mahony was not asked to speak.  Why not? She was recognized, but was not included in the speakers’ assembly. An MLA representing the adjacent riding was on the speakers’ list.

In over one and a half hours of speeches, O’Mahony was not to be heard from. This despite the fact that the campus of the new UFV is smack dead centred in the middle of Gwen’s riding. Again, I ask- why? Gwen, herself is too decent of a person to complain; but, I cannot let this insult pass.

In the total one and a half hours of speeches, not one local woman was amongst the speakers. The MLA from North Vancouver, a woman, also spoke.

I afterwards complained to one of the organizers and was not given any sort of a reason for this oversight. Could it be that many of the speakers are prominent BC Liberals? Could it be that this “old-boys” network simply wanted to exclude any more women? Undoubtedly, it may be a combination of  both of these reasons.

The organizers of this event owe Gwen O’Mahony an apology and this apology should be issued through local media outlets. I hope that this planned exclusion of our new MLA in Chilliwack/Hope is not the start of a new ill-conceived trend.

Dick Harrington