Mixing pints with politics with MP Wayne Stetski

They say alcohol and politics don’t mix, but that’s not the case when MP Wayne Stetski comes to town.

The Kootenay-Columbia MP invited people from the community to join him at the Island Restaurant on Thursday, August 8 to talk about politics and enjoy some pints.

At the meeting, Stetski outlined his many successes as MP for Kootenay-Columbia, and explained his tribulations.

About 12 people attended the meeting, eager to hear Stetski’s points, and raise a few of their own.

With the federal election nearing, Stetski explained the importance of voting, and described the NDP relationship with the Green Party. The two parties formed a coalition to gain more ground in the House of Commons, but as the election draws closer, they will go their separate ways in a friendly fashion.

“Again, I will be calling on my Green colleagues to help out,” Stetski said about the upcoming elections. “We have a strong climate change platform as well.”

The climate action platform the NDP has works to make a shift from oil and gas industries into a greener economy. Stetski explained that the NDP hope to create “green” jobs to help those who work in oil and gas to stay employed and make the conversion.

“It’s a transition,” Stetski said. “Fighting climate change is the number one environmental issue of our time.”

The NDP climate action strategy is in-depth and has received good reviews from top publications, Stetski added.

“I don’t hate pipelines at all. The pipeline is just a piece of pipe,” he said. “One oil spill down on the coast will wipe out tens of thousands of jobs… Is that really where we want to go?”

During Stetski’s years as MP, he has achieved a 20 horsepower restriction on the Columbia River, something he says was stalled under the previous Conservative government.

“One of the first things I did was push that really hard,” he said.

He has also pushed to get lower access to the Kicking Horse River reinstated for river rafters. He said at the meeting that he wished he had worn his T-shirt, stating that the rafters had won, from back in 2016 when CP Rail originally said they would work to allow rafters across the tracks. The agreement was shut down shortly after and rafting in the community changed drastically.

“Since then, there have been a number of studies,” Stetski said, adding that one of the options was to change the flow of the Kicking Horse River, making it passable for rafters to access the lower canyon.

With highway improvements in the Kicking Horse Canyon, Stetski hopes the province will be able to look at constructing access to the lower canyon for the many raft companies in Golden’s tourism industry.

Federally, Stetski is working to obtain affordable childcare, post-secondary education, and creating complete universal healthcare from “head to toe.”

“They’re paying for rent because they can’t afford a home. They’re paying for childcare because they need two incomes,” Stetski said of average Canadian families.

Other federal issues close to Stetski’s platform include the export of raw resources like lumber and coal, which is processed overseas and resold to Canadian consumers as a finished product.

Stetski’s final mail out before the October federal election has already been sent to Kootenay-Columbia constituents. Those who want to find out more about what the MP has been doing can visit his website, www.waynestetski.ndp.ca.

In the upcoming 2019 federal election, Stetski will run against Rob Morrison (Conservative Party of Canada), Rick Stewart (People’s Party of Canada), and Abra Brynne (Green Party of Canada). A Liberal Party of Canada candidate for the riding has yet to be declared.

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