Mechanically Speaking: Mechanics, politics lack professionalism

"What does local politics have to do with mechanics? In both cases; my trade in general and our local politics lack professionalism."

I am having a hard time with a topic this week. I am struggling with writer’s block but also frustrated with my local politicians’ decisions. I stayed home from the Warfield council meeting Wednesday night because I needed to write this article.

What does local politics have to do with cars? What does local politics have to do with mechanics? In both cases; my trade in general and our local politics lack professionalism.

What is professionalism? Just looked it up. Some definitions suggest one can only be a professional if one was taught by a professor. Auto mechanics is a trade. No professors involved. Only another skilled tradesman who decided to pass on their skills. Politics? Are politicians trained or are they made?

Wikipedia says “a professional is a member of a profession.” The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform the role of that profession.

In addition, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations. Professional standards of practice and ethics for a particular field are typically agreed upon and maintained through widely recognized professional associations.”

Do mechanics have a professional association? Not that I know of. I do know we have tried and have been unsuccessful. Do politicians have a professional association? I don’t know but I don’t think so.

I was once almost a member of a profession but I got a bit side tracked. I was privy to their code of ethics though and could see the importance of it. It definitely would be a step in the right direction if my fellow tradesmen and politicians held themselves to a code of ethics.

In my opinion any time an advertisement for a particular automotive service centre or a plea for votes by a politician start with some statement about their trustworthiness, it implies that other members of their party or trade are not trustworthy. This leans towards slander and does nothing for them.

When you are frustrated with your mechanic, it is way to easy to get the next mechanic you bring your vehicle to to say, “Oh that other guy does not know what he/she is doing.  I can fix your problem for half the cost.  You were ripped off.”

We have all heard and seen the totally slanderous ads that politicians fill our televisions, newspapers and social media with.

If you have worked as an auto mechanic, humility should definitely be one of your strongest qualities because, I guarantee you, fixing cars is a humbling experience. The automobile is a complex machine.  Sometimes you get lucky when the previous mechanic didn’t.

The same humbleness should be visible in our politicians.  We know their jobs are not easy. It is very much a balancing act.

This brings me to West Kootenay politics, in particular the goings on between Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Fruitvale, Montrose and outlying areas. Now more than ever we need to work together.  Our prosperity depends on it. We have been so fortunate over the years. The new economy and our shrinking little fiefdoms means our local politicians need to put aside their differences and work professionally toward a common goal.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail:



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