Readers note: As per policy we do not publish any election-related submissions in print in the final edition prior to voting day, which in the case of Cranbrook Townsman and Kimberley Bulletin is Friday, Oct. 18
Rick Stewart’s interview seemed to me to reveal a forgetfulness of history and and a refusal to face the future. All of us, except the indigenous peoples whom our ancestors displaced and to whom we still owe reparations, are descended from immigrants or are ourselves immigrants. This is a multicultural country. Our population includes Ukrainians who fled persecution in the early 1900s, Europeans from many countries who looked for a better life after WW II, Ugandan Asians expelled by Idi Amin, Vietnamese boat people, Syrian and other refugees from recent conflicts and many, many others, often under the aegis of the United Nations. All these groups have made their contribution to Canada.
As to his attitude to the climate crisis and the inevitable changes it will bring to the fossil fuel industry, he seems to be clinging to the hope that things can stay the same, forgetting that spinners and weavers were displaced by machinery, carters and blacksmiths by the the combustion engine, assembly line workers by robots, just as Internet shopping is now displacing traditional retail and AI will likely take over many administrative jobs in the future. Fortunately for us, unlike the spinners and weavers, if every corporation and citizen pays its fair share of taxes, our society can support people during the transition from a fossil fuel-based economy and, in the process, provide thousands of new jobs, all the while providing ongoing education and healthcare. We are so fortunate to live in a rich, democratic country.
Our school children and their children will bear the brunt of the climate crisis unless we act immediately to reduce global warming and it seems to me that teaching them about it, thoughtfully, so as to empower them, is essential.
I attended the climate change forum in Nelson and left the gathering with the same sense of concern and urgency that I arrived with. Despite the alarms being set off by young activists like Greta Thunberg and Autumn Peltier, I still do not see a willingness to take bold and decisive action nor an ability to see the tremendous opportunities that a move to renewable energy will create. It’s not just young activists that are sending us dire warnings, it’s also the planet and nature who are showing us the consequences of doing nothing more than we are currently doing.
I was proud to be a Liberal candidate in the last election and had sincere hopes that Justin Trudeau would be that new leader who would move quickly and decisively on electoral reform and climate change. The first simply disappeared and the second has moved much too slowly and has been pretty difficult to comprehend. I’m still struggling to understand how buying a pipeline is consistent with declaring a climate emergency. But, I don’t want to repeat the talking points and party platforms that were discussed last night. I want to do something.
I will be voting for Abra Byrne and the Green Party on October 21st. My preferred result for the election would be a minority government (which is highly likely) with a strong Green Party representation (also likely) to force action on climate change. We could end up with an opportunity to see the strength of proportional representation with parties having to work together, and quick, meaningful action on climate change. Electing Abra would place the Kootenay Columbia riding in the forefront of voting strategically to join the massive global movement now underway to get serious about climate change. The environment is everything, especially in a place like the Kootenays.
A few points as we head to the polls:
The science is clear: climate change is a global emergency that affects us all and we have limited time to act. This is Canada’s last federal election before it’s too late for real positive change. Please consider your vote carefully.
Carbon pricing and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies are critical incentives for moving to a low carbon economy. The Conservatives intend to cancel the price on carbon for consumers, and won’t commit to eliminating subsidies. Projections show that the Conservative climate plan overshoots Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement well beyond other parties. (The Green plan is the only one that reduces carbon emissions below the Paris Agreement.) The Conservatives are not interested in talking about helping the average family, worker and individual to transition to a low carbon economy. Perhaps many years ago this was a party that was fiscally responsible, and had the hard working Canadian in mind. But the times have changed and it has not kept up. Fiscal responsibility must include assigning value to the basic requirements to sustain life. The longer support for transition is delayed, the harder it will be. And Canadians will go down too.
In Kootenay Columbia Riding, Stetski (NDP) and Brynne (Green) are the climate champions. This is based on the comprehensive strong Green Party plan and collaborative cross sector experience for Abra, and for Wayne, this is based on LeadNow consultations which demonstrate his non-partisan commitment in line with a Green New Deal, as well as likelihood for winning the riding. Polls show the NDP have the most likelihood of winning this riding after the climate inattentive Conservatives. So given our limited first-past-the-post electoral system, I will vote strategically for the NDP.
Stetski is a strong climate advocate and has proven himself as a hard working MP who has also defeated a Conservative candidate in this riding in the past. The polls show he can do it again. On Oct 21, I’m voting NDP: Wayne Stetski, and encourage those in support of responsible fiscal and social climate policy to consider doing the same.
Role of MPs
The role of our elected MPs and MLAs is to represent all constituents, not just those who voted for them, think like them, or look like them. Our system of representative democracy depends on this. But in the 2019 election, democratic principles appear to be detached from partisan interests. As a case in point, consider the Kootenay-Columbia riding’s Conservative candidate Rob Morrison’s practice of blocking and banning voters on his candidate Facebook page.
I’m part of a network of citizens across the riding which convenes online to discuss politics. A number of our members have attempted to contribute to conversations on Mr. Morrison’s Facebook pages; the list is growing. Alas, it seems he does not want to know their views or discuss his own views. He has blocked and banned some of his potential constituents when he disagrees with them, or when they provide comments that challenge his positions.
As one person on our network said, “Many people have told me that they were banned from Rob Morrison’s Facebook pages. What does that say about his willingness to listen to voters? Since he clearly only wants to hear from certain people; how can he possibly represent us all?” If Mr. Morrison and other similarly intolerant politicians cannot hear from us now, it seems unlikely they can represent us if they win. This kind of politics damages our democratic order and our form of representative government. We need politicians that listen to us all.
Fairy Tale World
Throughout the federal campaign I have been waiting for our MP to take a stand on natural resources such as the coal industry and the forestry industry. Mr. Stetski’s answer has always been to have people refer to the 112 page NDP document which spells out their vision for Canada. Mr. Stetski and the NDP want to rid Canada of its extraction of fossil fuels and live off of renewable energy. There is one fundamental flaw with their entire vision, which was backed up this week by the parliamentary budget officer. With all the niceties, such as free everything you still have to be able to pay for it. Their costed promises cannot be done without the extraction of oil, gas and coal along with other hard metals that are in abundance in Canada.
In the fairy tale world of the NDP we will magically find the free money and all will be good in the world. Wayne Stetski what I would like to hear from you and not the 112 page vision statement of the NDP is the following. Do you support the fossil fuel industry which is needed to further the agenda of the NDP? How do you intend to pay for all of the freebees you plan on providing Canadians without the multibillion dollar oil, gas and coal industries fueling our economy both at home and abroad?
In the recent down turn of the oil, forestry and coal industries the only thing we hear from the NDP is a desire eliminate these industries. Rather than trying to destroy what makes Canada great, why don’t you and the NDP try working with these companies rather than criticizing their every move.
There’s a ‘vote strategically’ narrative going around again this election period. I’ve been guilty of spinning it in the past too. What that narrative does, is create fear in people, that if they don’t vote to support the NDP, that the Conservatives will get in again. The result is that their desired candidate, and I mean the Green candidate, can’t possibly win if the majority of their support goes to someone else.
In speaking with many Greens who really want to vote Green, but are being convinced to vote NDP I’m hearing that it really bothers them. It bothers me too. That’s why, this election, I am voting Green as I have wanted to for years.
The strategic vote narrative also includes the need for proportional representation. The Greens will bring in PR, period. No referendum after one or two voting periods.
It is this election, at this time in our global history, that I need my vote to count for the party that can do the most to combat the climate crisis. The Green party has the most aggressive climate action plan that will meet or exceed the Paris Accord. No other party will achieve that.
7.5 million people marched out of schools and businesses demanding that we act on the climate crisis. We don’t have another four years to wait for a change in leadership for something to get done. It must be now.
A young woman said to a group of us one day that “your vote won’t affect you as much as it will affect my future.”
For the Planet,
Concerning Robin Goldsbury
Why I support Robin Goldsbury for our Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament
I had the pleasure of attending three all-candidate debates (Kimberley, Sparwood and Fernie) and recorded responses from the candidates that support my decision to vote for Robin Goldsbury. The significant topics were youth, seniors, climate change and housing. Goldsbury is experienced and knowledgeable about the issues in Kootenay-Columbia. Her authentic, local voice for our rural British Columbia riding and her passion for representing us in Kootenay-Columbia are refreshing!
When discussing the social well-being of youth in Canada, Goldsbury supported universal access to post-secondary and skills training while the Conservative candidate simply responded, “youth think differently.” When responding to the healthcare/opioid crisis in Kootenay-Columbia, Robin understood that trauma creates addictions, while other candidates stated, “addiction is a choice” (Morrison) and “get criminals off the street” (Stetski).
During the discussion addressing how the values of seniors will be met, Goldsbury addressed the importance of access to healthcare, health practitioners and homecare. Morrison supported getting seniors back to work, Brynne supported increasing pensions, and Stetski supported financial security for seniors. What good are jobs, pensions and financial security if we don’t have access to quality, accessible healthcare – a tenet of life in Canada?
In responding to the climate crisis facing us locally and globally, the candidates stated they supported pipelines, recycling and the energy sector (Conservative), a 20-step action plan and increasing carbon pricing (Green) and renovating houses and supporting future jobs in the green energy economy (NDP). Goldsbury strongly stated, “We need to act! We’re running out of time!” (receiving applause). She supported the importance of the Columbia River Treaty renegotiation and massive programs on greening including transportation, ocean protection and residential energy efficiency while advocating Canadian resource companies who are leading the way.
While discussing Kootenay-Columbia housing issues, Goldsbury supported incentives for businesses to create employee housing and building up the supply side of affordable housing by local, municipal, Indigenous, provincial and federal governments/agencies pulling together. The other candidates suggested removing red tape, a national housing strategy and resorted to reading directly from lengthy party platform documents.
Robin Goldsbury stresses the importance of Kootenay-Columbia’s sustainable vitality, inclusive collaboration in government, and serious solutions to local issues. Her open, personable approach to sharing policy, research and statistics while genuinely caring for us in Kootenay-Columbia reflect her work-ethic and integrity. Goldsbury possesses the qualities of an ideal government representative who will work persistently while championing our voices in our region, province and country.