Letters to the Editor, May 5, 2017

On Tuesday, May 9, the people of BC will choose a government. Either the BC Liberals will be returned for a fourth consecutive mandate or the NDP will be elected for the first time since 1996. I am hardly an unbiased commentator but I hope my experience as a business person, lawyer, politician, minister and MLA will give me some credibility as an informed person.

The truth is that no political party, no government, no leader and no individual politician is perfect. Mistakes are made regularly. I made my share during my 16 years. And people disagree. There are as many perspectives of the world and what’s important and how things should be managed, as there are individuals.

I find that the NDP focus heavily on their level of caring about people and tend to juxtapose the BC Liberals as a group of people who don’t care about people, only about the material things in life. Us BC Liberals tend to portray the NDP as clueless, borderline idiots who generally don’t have the real-life experience at management to properly manage the province. The truth lays somewhere in between these partisan constructs.

It is exceedingly difficult for the average person who doesn’t have time or inclination to follow politics on a daily basis, to sort out who is the best choice when the parties base campaigns on caricatures. NDP partisans will vote NDP. Ditto BC Liberal partisans. How do the undecided decide?

In my view, the only way to determine rationally which party to support is first of all evaluate the local candidate, then evaluate the performance of the two main parties in government.

I will leave it to others to compare the experience, work ethic and authenticity of the candidates. I am voting for Tom Shypitka because he has a good heart, wants the job for the right reasons and cares about people.

The performance of both parties while in government is the most accurate indicator of what that party will do if elected into government on May 9th. The BC Liberal government has balanced five consecutive budgets while most of the rest of the world is in deficit, spending more than they are taking in. BC is creating more good jobs than any other province under the BC Liberals. BC has earned the highest credit rating in Canada under the BC Liberals. Compared to Ontario’s credit rating, this saves tax payers $2 billion a year. Health funding has increased 16 years in a row and investment in highways, hospitals, schools and communities is at record highs. Even with mistakes, that is the best record of any provincial government in Canada.

The performance of the NDP in the 1990’s is the opposite of the BC Liberal record. Nine consecutive deficits, 6 consecutive credit downgrades, worst economy in Canada, job loss, very little investment in infrastructure (no new hospitals). That’s the NDP record – it is not what they are promising, but it is their record when they had the opportunity to govern. I suggest we compare records, not promises.

In my opinion, there is only one sensible choice, Tom Shypitka and the BC Liberals.

Bill Bennett

Cranbrook

I have been a practicing Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeon in the East Kootenays over the past 37 years. We have gone from a Cranbrook and District Hospital to a Regional hospital over this period of time.

Our progress as a regional hospital did not come to fruition until Mr. Bill Bennett came to represent us in 2001. Under the previous government we had a hospital that had no backup power and the walls were actually crumbling. Throughout Mr. Bennett’s tenure, we have had extensive upgrades to our emergency department, ambulatory care, diagnostic imaging, operating theatres, psychiatry unit, maternity, intensive care unit, and a permanent MRI facility scheduled for January, 2018.

We are now truly regional. We have the newest and best ambulatory care centre, intensive care unit, and starting in January, an MRI facility in all of IH. We have a full compliment of specialists, physicians, and family practitioners over this period of time, which is a phenomenal accomplishment and could only have been done with the financial support of both regional and provincial governments as well as all of the hard work of the citizens (in particular the East Kootenay Foundation for Health – Ladies Auxiliary).

We are, however, only one or two specialist or family practice resignations away from having this all falling apart. I urge the citizens of the East Kootenays to pause and look at what has been accomplished.

I fully support Tom Shypitka in his endeavor to continue with us on our future path, which would now hopefully include a new oncology unit and palliative care center for our residents.

The most important thing is that you vote.

Lawrence C. Jewett

Cranbrook

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