Premier Christy Clark was in Golden on July 31 to throw her support behind Doug Clovechok who will run for the BC Liberals in Columbia River Revelstoke riding in next year’s provincial election. Clovechok was in Golden and was acclaimed to be the candidate at a selection’s meeting held at the Golden Civic Centre.
“I am here to help nominate a candidate in a riding that is held by the New Democrats and has been since 2005. The reason I am here is because I believe we can win this riding back,” Clark said. “We cannot win an election if we are not together. If we can’t win an election then we end up with an NDP government. That is what has happened every time our coalition has failed to stay together. We cannot afford to have that happen again in British Columbia.”
Clark admitted the BC Liberals have not been perfect over the past 12 years in power but also stated some of the important issues she believes are being handled correctly by the government.
She went on to say the most important part of the province and country is the people who live in it.
“We are nothing as a country without great citizens, and it is the parents who do that. It is not government. It is all of you in the room who have raised children or looked after your siblings, who have cared for the people you love; your parents, your grandchildren, your neighbours. However you define your family, that is the most important structure in our society,” Clark said. “Over the next 10 months, it is no secret, it is going to be a fight. I don’t know if you have noticed, but we are a little bit behind in the polls. But we have time to catch up.” Clark said.
She pointed to the potential benefits of natural gas in Northern B.C., which should be sent to Asia, where the benefits to the province will truly be felt.
“We believe in resource development. We believe in the forestry. We believe in mining. We believe in natural gas, and if we get our fair share from the Albertans we believe in the Enbridge pipeline too,” Clark said.
She stressed that if the project is going to go through, then jobs for people in British Columbia will have to be a part of the project.
“Adrian Dix says that resource development is a disease. I fundamentally disagree with that. That is what has built our province. It’s what has built the Kootenays. It is what is going to build our future for our children and families no matter where they live.”
In response to these comments Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald said Clark is actually feeding off a misquote by the Federal Conservatives attributed to Thomas Mulcair.
“She has been told this many times and it is deliberate. I think it is unfortunate we are left with one of two choices. She doesn’t understand who said what or she is deliberately misrepresenting what others have said.”
Macdonald said this type of behaviour is not a surprise as the Liberal party in his opinion has spent much of the last year attacking Dix and that the Federal Conservatives have been distorting the point Mulcair had been making.
Clovechok was then given the chance to speak to the people who came out to the meeting.
He thanked everyone in attendance and all of the people in the area who have helped him leading into the nomination. He also thanked current Liberal MLA for Kootenay East, Bill Bennett, whom he referred to as a mentor and friend.
“This has historically been a Social Credit riding, and was a BC Liberal riding. And we should never have lost it,” Clovechok said.
He spoke about some of the issues that he has been discussing with people over the last two years in the area. One of those issues was the DriveABLE program. Clovechok said there were some issues with the program in its original set up, but the provincial government has made those changes.
He told the story of a local senior who contacted him due to his frustration with DriveABLE.
“We had an NDP MLA come from the coast into Cranbrook with Norm Macdonald and they scared seniors. They absolutely terrified seniors and that was wrong,” he said.
Clovechok said he has been going into different towns to speak to seniors with a registered nurse, and at times the Staff Sgt. from the RCMP, to clarify the truth about the program.
Macdonald said he did hold meetings in Invermere, Golden, Revelstoke, Kimberley and Cranbrook about the DriveABLE program.
“Seniors were not terrified. Seniors were angry with a program that in its concept is poorly thought through,”Macdonald said.
He added he would be open to having local meetings with the premier about DriveABLE and then she would be able to hear what people think of the program which he feels she should have been doing for the last 18 months.
“It is disrespectful to seniors in particular seniors in rural areas. It was poorly thought through and it has been harmful to seniors in this area. It is fundamentally unfair,” Macdonald said.
Another issue Clovechok said he has been working on with different communities are their flood protection and issues with the Trans Canada Highway.
“Christy had the opportunity today to come through the Roger’s Pass and she knows what our highway is like there,” Clovechok said. “You can shut communities down for 18 days from the rest of Canada. We have to do something about that.”
He also spoke about “a group of people that are trying to limit our access to our back countries. They want to shut down our back countries and shut down our waterways so that you and I and our kids don’t have the birthright that we have in British Columbia to use those systems,” he said.
“It has got to stop and I am going to fight with you to do that.”
Clovechok added that he thinks people have to respect the environment, but did not see the need to be preservationist. “We do not want the extinction of human beings from this land. We want to use the land,” he said.
Macdonald sees many of the comments made as just part of the ongoing campaign Clark has been running since she became Premier.
“There is a period for governing. You just can’t be campaigning for years on end. It is unfortunate it will be another eight months of this on a provincial level,” Macdonald said. “It is likely at a provincial level to be a negative campaign. I think the obligation for the NDP and certainly locally is to be hard on the issues but try not to make anything personal. I think that is the expectation here.”