LETTER: Reflecting on the local and provincial election results

Wayne Stetski, the BC NDP candidate for Kootenay East, shares his thoughts on the B.C. election

BC NDP Kootenay Easet candidate Wayne Stetski. Photo courtesy Wayne Stetski.

Congratulations to Tom Shypitka on his re-election and to Kerri Wall for running in her first election.

I ran because I like helping people and working with them to build a better community, region, province and country, and I wanted to give the citizens of Kootenay East the opportunity to have an MLA working for them inside government. And the BC NDP asked me to run.

We had a great team and we had a lot of fun! My sincere thanks to all of you who volunteered your time and energy for my election run, especially my wife Audrey, and also to those who worked with the other parties to ensure that democracy is alive and well in this corner of BC!

I am very excited that we are going to have four years of good government in this great province of ours under Premier John Horgan’s leadership, but I am disappointed that the good people of Kootenay East won’t have their MLA working for them on John’s team.

I’m also excited for the BC Liberals as they look to renew their party. I’m curious to see if they decide to come out of the closet and be proud to be true Liberals or be proud to be true Conservatives. It will be interesting to watch!

It’s important to remind Mr. Shypitka that being an opposition MLA isn’t an excuse for not getting things done. As an opposition Member of Parliament I was Vice Chair of Canada’s House of Commons Environment and Sustainable Development Committee producing important reports on Protected Areas, Climate Change and Plastic Pollution; was Founder and Co-Chair of the All Party Cycling Caucus; was the Chair of the BC Caucus of NDP MPs; worked with the government to get the maximum 20hp regulation enacted on the mainstem of the Columbia River, ensured that Jumbo will become Gat’muk, an Indigenous Protected Area, and helped secure $25 million to ensure the future of Avalanche Canada based out of Revelstoke.

My staff and I helped hundreds of people and recovered thousands of dollars from the Federal government for constituents, and we ensured that everyone in Kootenay – Columbia received regular updates with quarterly newsletters and were provided with many opportunities to inform me of their priorities through regular mail-in mini-surveys on a variety of topics.

The key is to always put the interests of your constituents before politics, and to work in a non-partisan way in a spirit of cooperation so that government will want to work with you.

I’ll finish with a short story. A couple of days after I was elected Member of Parliament in 2015, I was standing in line at one of the grocery stores in Cranbrook. I could sense eyes on my back – I turned around and a woman was staring at me. I smiled and said “Hello”. She just looked at me and said “we’re watching you.” Enough said Tom…?

Wayne Stetski

BC NDP Kootenay East candidate