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OUR VIEW: In politics, perception is everything

At what point must personal interests and aspirations be put aside for the better good of the community a politician serves?
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

The laws of physics play out hard and fast. Water freezes at zero degrees celsius, and boils at 100 degrees celsius. Gravity is most certainly unforgiving if you jump out of an airplane without a parachute.

Political science, on the other hand, is more akin to art – the art of knowing when to do this, or to not do that.

At what point along the continuum of political problems does a politician conclude that the temperature has grown too hot to stay in office, too cold to carry on?

Surrey’s Mayor Doug McCallum is facing a doozy of a problem – heading into an election campaign while charged with public mischief, not to mention chairing a police board with that same criminal charge hanging over him.

At what point does a politician decide that personal interests and aspirations must be put aside for the better good of the community he or she serves?

READ ALSO: Calls for Surrey mayor to quit grow louder

While some are relatively quick to arrive at what must be a difficult decision to call it a day, others will hang onto power by their fingertips.

In McCallum’s case, he has not been found guilty of a crime. Nevertheless, some say his pending trial, to be held two weeks after the civic election, is creating an untenable distraction from the city’s business, while others claim his situation is damaging Surrey’s brand.

In politics, they say, perception is everything.

A politician, ostensibly, seeks office to improve the lot of the community he or she serves. An astute politician will be keenly aware, if they are worth their salt, of the truth concerning their moral authority as opposed to having worn out their welcome.

Only McCallum can decide where he now sits on that spectrum.


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