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EDITORIAL: Welcome back, Ted

Coming soon to your town: a vaguely familiar face.

Coming soon to your town: a vaguely familiar face. You can't quite place him, but you know him from somewhere

It's Ted Nebbeling!

The West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA has a lot more time on his hands after this Monday, when both of his cabinet posts disappeared in Premier Gordon Campbell's first (and long overdue) cabinet shuffle.

This newspaper has had some very pointed things to say about Nebbeling, most of them due to his invisibility in this community that strangely began when he won re-election in 2001 and was named to cabinet.

Until this week, Nebbeling could defend his presence in Squamish - or the lack thereof - by pointing to his hefty duties as the government's point man for both the Community Charter and the Vancouver bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

With the Charter finished and the Olympics won, Nebbeling has worked himself out of both his jobs - and has apparently made the decision to step out of politics altogether to spend time with his long-time partner and now spouse.

Whether Nebbeling's decision to leave the cabinet was really his is up for interpretation. It could well be exactly as he's presented it - but it could just as easily be a face-saving facade for a politician who's fallen out of favour.

Now, faced with life as a backbencher for the remaining 16 months of his term, one of the things he's pledging to do with all the time he won't be spending on ministerial work and cabinet meetings is to get out into the constituency - including regular meetings in Squamish.

We're happy to hear that - although it's a good two and a half years late. It's sad that it took his departure from high office to bring him back here.

Despite our criticisms, we take no glee in Nebbeling's absence from cabinet. The vital decisions that will shape the future of the Sea to Sky corridor in the run-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics are being made in the very near future - and now they'll be made without a Sea to Sky representative at the cabinet table.

There is one advantage to having an MLA who not only out of the cabinet, but leaving politics: Nebbeling has essentially nothing to lose by incurring his premier's displeasure. He can say what he thinks with no fear of how it will affect his chances to make the next cabinet shuffle - or of getting the Liberal nomination for the next election.

Will that mean a different Ted Nebbeling in Victoria?

Only time will tell.

Will it mean more of Ted Nebbeling in Squamish?

We hope so - but we'll wait and see.

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