Wednesday, May 18, 2011
McMurray Musings - People of Note - Guy Boutilier
Recently I had the opportunity to accompany a local school on their field trip to Edmonton. One of the stops on this trip happened to be the Alberta Legislature, and the chance to met our local MLA Guy Boutilier.
The kids weren't exactly tremendously excited about legislature. I spoke to a few of them beforehand and told them that I have watched live sessions of different levels of government in many places. I told them that if we were lucky they might see fighting, and possibly sleeping. The legislative session didn't disappoint, and after we left the chamber they acted like I must be some sort of psychic to know that our representatives engage in such behaviour. We had made it in time for question period, and there were indeed raised voices, snarkiness, and some post-lunch MLA napping. They left the chambers much more enthused about legislature than prior to entering, and we then embarked on a tour of the legislative building.
After our tour was over it was photo time, and who joined us for the photo but Guy Boutilier, our local MLA? Now, I have to be honest - I don't always agree with Guy's political stance on things, and I wasn't thrilled when he was a member of the PC party (I admit it - politically I lean left, people). I did take note, though, when he took a strong stance regarding lack of senior care facilities in our region, a stand which ended with him being booted out of the PC caucus. I have tremendous respect for politicians who put the needs of their constituents before toeing the party line, and I quietly applauded Guy for a brave move that could have been political suicide. Instead I rather think it may have secured his political future as he became a local hero for "doing what is right". He crossed the floor of legislature, sat briefly as an independent, and then joined the Wild Rose Alliance. I'd also heard reports of his occasional unusual behaviour, but thought that just added some interesting depth to his character as opposed to undermining it.
I'd never met Guy before but I was both curious to meet him and to see how he interacted with dozens of kids. When he came down to meet them he was wonderful. He took the time to speak to all the teachers and parents, and he shook the hand of every single kid. I know my kid was slightly in awe and very, very pleased. I spoke with Guy very briefly and I too was quite impressed. He's very personable, and seems genuinely interested in his constituents. The fact that he spent quite a bit of time with a bunch of kids nowhere near voting age, and the fact that he was extremely kind to them, made me realize that he is just a really nice guy as well as an MLA.
So, the long and the short of it is that Guy is definitely a local person of note, and one which represents our region extremely well in my opinion. I believe this so strongly that I would in fact consider putting aside some of my own political ideologies the next time a provincial election rolls around and go to work for him as a volunteer. I think he might be just what our region needs - a politician with an independent streak, some courage, and a little bit of quirkiness. Kinda like Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, really.
at May 18, 2011