By David F. Rooney
Independent candidate Brent Bush says he has reached his “personal and financial limits in this campaign” and is throwing his support behind New Democrat Mark Shmigelsky in a bid to stop Conservative David Wilks.
“The person with the best chance of defeating the Conservatives in Kootenay-Columbia is NDP candidate Mark Shmigelsky,” Bush said. “I am asking Independents, Greens, Liberals and the undecided to unite to elect NDP candidate Mark Shmigelsky and defeat the possibility of a Conservative majority.”
Shmigelsky said in a statement that he was pleased to hear of Bush’s decision and “is honoured.
“Brent is a dedicated public servant who is showing his love for his country and for this riding,” Shmigelsky said. “We have been receiving amazing support during this campaign and I have been seeing first-hand how people in this riding want a change in representation in Ottawa.”
Wilks immediately went on the offensive and released a copy of a letter published in at least one riding newspaper in which he says NDP Leader Jack Layton has forgotten the people of Kootenay Columbia. (You can read the text of the letter below)
“I find it interesting that a candidate who once stated that ‘Jack Layton seems to have forgotten that the people of Kootenay Columbia come first,’ is now backing the NDP,” Wilks said Thursday morning. “In fact, Brent went so far as to say ‘whenever the next federal election occurs it will be a time for NDP members and supporters alike to ask themselves whether or not they can follow Jack Layton’s vision of the NDP.’
“I agree. The NDP do not care about the concerns of the people living in Kootenay-Columbia. This is demonstrated by Jack Layton forcing his members to vote to keep the long gun registry, and why he told his members to vote against every single tax cut measure we put forward.
“It is clear that the only party that represents the needs of the people of Kootenay Columbia is the Conservative Party.”
Riding residents will make their choice for MP on Monday, May 2.
This is a March 4, 2010, letter by Independent candidate Brent Bush that was sent to news media in the riding by Conservative Party candidate David Wilks’ campaign team in the wake of an announcement by Bush that he is supporting NDP candidate Mark Shmigelsky. Bush admits writing the letter to explain, in part, why was leaving the NDP for the Liberals. He later forsook that party, for which he ran in 2004 and 2006, and registered as an Independent candidate in this election.
I would like to thank long-time NDP member Lowell Paulson for the opportunity to discuss the primary reason why I left the NDP to seek the federal Liberal nomination for Kootenay-Columbia.
As far back as 2002, Mr. Paulson, President of the Kootenay Columbia NDP Riding Association and myself, as the aspiring NDP candidate, tried in vain to determine the NDP’s position regarding the long-gun registry. No one in the Party could or would, tell us.
Yet running as the federal NDP candidate in 2004, I had my primary election pamphlet censored by the BC wing of the federal Party for expressing my belief (and that of a majority in the Riding) that the long gun registry should be scrapped.
During the 2006 federal election, when I wrote that the root cause of Canada’s illegal handgun problem originates with smuggled guns coming across the U.S. border and that honest, law abiding gun owners were not the source of the handgun “problem”, I felt a distinct chill from the Party.
Finally, in the Spring of 2006, now as the President of the Riding Association, I wrote to NDP Leader Jack Layton asking him to allow candidates the ability to vote the wishes of their (potential) constituents on the issue of the long gun registry.
On July 27th, 2006 , this was Jack’s reply;
“Thanks again for registering your views on allowing MP’s to vote according to the wishes of their constituents, as opposed to espousing the policies and platform of the NDP as established at our national conventions”.
The truth at last! What Jack Layton is saying is that he’s not interested in listening to the constituents of Kootenay Columbia and that NDP candidates must vote the Party line!
In a July 5th, 2007 response to Jack, I wrote the following, ” If as I believe, Convention references to the issue of gun control policy have been left intentionally ambiguous to avoid a split between the rural and urban sections of the Party, then it should come as no surprise to you that rural NDP members should question the basis on which current NDP gun control policy has been made”.
Which takes us back to Mr. Paulson’s remark that I will have a hard time explaining myself during candidate’s debates, having switched from the NDP to the federal Liberals. As Mr. Paulson knows, for the last 4 years every senior member of the Kootenay-Columbia NDP Riding Association was made aware of my deep reservations regarding Jack Layton’s “position” on the long gun registry.
Whenever the next federal election occurs it will be a time for NDP members and supporters alike to ask themselves whether or not they can follow Jack Layton’s vision of the NDP. I know exactly where I stand.
For those of us who aspire to represent the constituents of Kootenay-Columbia, we need to remind ourselves that the people come first. Jack Layton seems to have forgotten this principle.