Eleventh Hour – Voting on May 14th for the Shuswap

vote_redHere’s Aim High’s last offering for the Shuswap candidates to put forward their positions and to respond to readers as well.

Here’s how it works.

The candidates for the Shuswap have the opportunity to do two things in their final push for your votes. First, Aim High will post any number of their final statements to this post … as they email them to me. Submissions from the politicos will be posted in the order that they are received.

Secondly, the politicos can also respond via the Comments section to the other candidates or to readers.

Aim High’s Readers: You can use the Comments section to post further questions or responses to the candidates. Indicate if your question is for all four candidates or specific ones.

All comments will be moderated according to Aim High’s acceptable usage policy here. Please note that there may be a time lag before your comments get posted. I don’t live in front of my computer despite the common impression of some others 🙂

I’ll get things posted asap!

This post will be active up until the evening before the election. It will then be frozen during Election Day Tuesday May 14th.

So here we go … from Tom Birch and Chris George … so far … to get things going!

Tom Birch (BC Conservatives):

As your MLA I will work to ensure that all people have access to their government. The BC Conservatives are committed to their MLAs publishing their expenses so that the public can see how their money is being spent. We are proposing ‘duty to document’ legislation so that requests for information under the freedom of information act will actually get information instead of being told that nothing was recorded or that personal emails were used to avoid having to tell the public what the government is doing. We have seen too many devious schemes funded by taxpayers under the current government that would not have been possible if the public actually had a window into Victoria.

The BC Conservative party is committed to partnering with BC and I am committed to partnering with the people of the Shuswap. We are comprised of the most caring and most generous communities in BC. One has only to look at the amount that we raise each year for the Christmas Train, or what we have given to the Coldest Night of the Year or what we give to our Rotary clubs or the Shuswap Hospital Foundation or dozens of other groups in our area to know this is true. We have a wealth of knowledge and volunteers that work to grow business and to protect our environment too. In the Shuswap we have everything we need to lead BC by example.

I believe in the people of the Shuswap. I can think of no better legacy than to use my skills as a project manager in the forestry sector to help coordinate our community groups and clear a way for them to work together. We can protect our environment and the water quality in our lakes while we grow businesses that will improve the quality of life for everyone and provide jobs here for our children. We can be the example for the rest of BC to follow. I believe that the Shuswap is uniquely positioned for this based on the challenges we face and the incredible depth of our people. I would be honoured to serve as your MLA.

Chris George ( Green Party of BC):

A new poll was released yesterday. It showed that 33% of people think that the economy is the number one priority in this election. I found that disheartening given the passing of the 400ppm milestone on carbon emissions and the sorry state of the poor in our province.

But then I realized that this was actually good news. It means that for 67% of the people in this province, the economy is NOT the number one issue. It means that people CAN look past economic self interest and care more about social and environmental values in this province.

We can take the challenge of climate chaos and turn it into an opportunity. The opportunity of building a diversified energy economy will give our part of the province the resilience it is going to need to be able to meet this challenge. By helping our communities transition to a sustainable economy while we still have the abundant natural resources available to us, we can ensure prosperity for the next generation while guaranteeing them a liveable planet. There are those who try to frame the economy/environment question as an either/or question. I think that this simply shows a lack of imagination, vision and leadership on the greatest political issue that any generation has ever faced..

I have spent much of my working life in challenging economic times figuring out how to make a living by running small businesses. This is a challenge of a different sort, but the skills required of an entrepreneur are very much the same skills required of an MLA. The ability to recognize realistic limits and still find ways to achieve your goals is a key part of both positions. The willingness to take risks after making sure you have done your due diligence to minimize them. The willingness to do the hard work of researching things you know little about before making critical decisions. And having the good judgement required to stay onside with an increasingly complex financial and regulatory environment that is the small businessman’s lot in this province.

There were a number of issues that I felt it important to bring up during this campaign. The water quality of our lakes and streams is one. I advocate for permanent funding for SLIPP, but also to have its mandate expanded to cover the entire watershed from Kamloops to the limits in the south, east and north. I want to work with the CSRD and the houseboat companies to find a “made in the Shuswap” solution to the grey water discharge problem. And I will continue to demand that the government, whoever forms it, immediately remove the salmon feedlots from the migratory routes of the wild salmon runs of the Fraser basin.

Another issue that is near to my heart is the issue of poverty in this province. We have proven that we know how to pull non-renewable resources from the ground and create value for the shareholders. We have also proven that we are not so good at making sure that the benefits of our resource economy are shared in an equitable manner. In 1980 our child poverty rate ran at 11%. By 2011, it had risen to 16.4%. In the same period of time our rate of extraction of non-renewable resources, oil/gas/mining had risen by 536%. This is an ethical failure on the part of our leadership. We could be using these resources here, to create wealth in our communities instead of shipping it south or overseas for others to enjoy the benefits.

Third is my firm belief that the ridings in the Interior of this province have tended to be under-represented in the legislature because of party discipline. It is a truism that the pursuit of power is what political parties are all about. It is this pursuit which tends to focus policy to benefit the ridings where the most votes are, The part that leaves rural BC on the outside is that the MLAs from the Interior, whether NDP or Liberal, simply cannot push back when the best interests of their constituents are sacrificed to satisfy the interests of the urban ridings. The Shuswap needs a strong voice in the legislature, someone who can ignore party discipline and work hard to get the results we need to start the process of building a diversified and resilient local economy. We are going to need leadership from our next MLA, no matter who he might be. If that MLA is subject to party discipline and the party’s position on a critical issue, like the Liberal and NDP support for the salmon feedlots for example, is contrary to the best interests of the people of this riding, where is the leadership?

I would be honoured to have your vote in this election. I am a realist, but I am also an optimist. I can see the challenges, but also the opportunities. And I think that we can have a better future here in the Shuswap if we have an MLA who can be a strong voice for our region.

Chris George

Candidate – Green Party of British Columbia – Shuswap

Healthy People, Healthy Places

Author: Tim Lavery

Aim High Salmon Arm It matters

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