Former CBC journalist John Archer was acclaimed as the NDP candidate in the Edmonton-South West riding last night.
Mr. Archer may not have surprised everyone, but he certainly surprised me in 2015 when he left what had been a very successful career with the national broadcaster to work for Premier Rachel Notley’s government as a communications specialist.
His most recent assignment with the government has been as Press Secretary to retiring Transportation Minister Brian Mason, who introduced him at last night’s constituency nomination meeting.
In his journalistic days, as I can personally attest, Mr. Archer was an indefatigable reporter who simply could not be put off by a “no comment” or a similar effort to impede his reporting.
He’s a serious guy, but he tends to be well liked by colleagues, so it should be no surprise that there were more party MLAs than are normally seen at nomination meetings among the 70 or more people who braved the bitter cold to turn up last night at the Collingwood Lymburn Community Hall.
For the most part, Mr. Archer stuck to boilerplate themes in his remarks, but he’s obviously not afraid to take a shot when one is called for. Reminding his listeners that there’s still a lot on the NDP agenda that needs to be accomplished, including poverty reduction, accessible mental health services and persons with developmental disabilities, he wondered: “Do you really think the UCP has thought about those issues for one second recently?”
“They’re too busy trying to hide the Yellow Vests in their midst. Here’s a hint: they’re fluorescent yellow! We can see them!”
As readers of this blog know, I usually leave the important job of keeping track of who is seeking party nominations and winning them to my colleague Dave Cournoyer, who dutifully uses his blog at Daveberta.ca to report this important information that citizens need but which is now ignored by the so-called mainstream media.
I’m sure you will forgive me, however, for making an exception for Mr. Archer, whom I know from my days in media and my subsequent work in public relations as a fine journalist, dogged in pursuit of a story and always concerned about the public interest in his reporting.
I’m sure he would bring the same qualities to public service as an elected official if he’s given the opportunity.
Speaking of Dave Cournoyer, he has invited me to act for a day as the co-host of his political podcast, a duty I expect to share with Conservative-leaning commentator Natalie Pon this afternoon. I’ll provide readers with a link.