Voters in Kootenay East are very fortunate in this federal election to have a candidate who has the experience and skill to represent us in Ottawa. Mark Shmigelsky stands out as a man who knows this area well, who has worked in it, served as a mayor of Invermere and on the Regional District of East Kootenay, displayed his interest in the federal arena and its importance to us, and is raising a family here.
Such an exciting federal election campaign—in which this riding, Kootenay East, has the opportunity to make a change in the Canadian parliament! Despite our weary reaction to another federal election after another after another, I encourage every voter in this area to remember the basis of our democracy and the sterling reputation of Canadians throughout the world, both very good until the calculations and perambulations of the present Conservative government under its leader Stephen Harper flouted what we treasure as our legacy.
As Prime Minister of the first government not only in Canada, but in the British Commonwealth, to be voted guilty of contempt of elected parliamentarians, Harper told the media he didn’t think the voters cared about that. Maybe the voters don’t care about whether the government keeps secret the details of public spending that should be open, or whether the Prime Minister supports—directly and fully—a minister who gave false information to the House and to a parliamentary committee. But I think they do. Disclosure to the commons—that’s us, the run of the mill citizen and our representative in the House—is the basis of our democracy, and a party that fails to recognize that principle or defend it does not deserve our vote.
Put that together with the slide of our international reputation to the point that we lose when we offer our national services to the United Nations Security Council, and you see how far the Conservatives have moved Canada’s international reputation.
Shmigensky and the NDP can win this riding and represent us with integrity. He can give us a voice in parliament that we have not had for a decade and more—a voice that sees the interest of our people—our workers, our resources, our life values—and tells it.
I implore you to get out and vote for Shmigelsky. Let’s see a change in how our area contributes to Canada, how we speak out for democratic and national values we do not want to lose.
Kathleen Anne Edwards served as MLA for the Kootenay riding in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from 1986 to 1996, as a member of the British Columbia New Democratic Party. She was the province’s first female minister for Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in the government of Michael Harcourt from 1991 until 1995.