Letter to the editor:
RE: Who best represents rural voters?
When a paid representative of the BC Liberal party writes a letter to the editor of a local newspaper he should likely mention that he is being provided his ‘opinion’ by his employer. The failed BC Liberal candidate is happy to parrot whatever his friend, the Minister of Energy Bill Bennett, tells him.
As the MLA from Columbia River – Revelstoke, every word I speak in the Legislature is taken down in Hansard, and kept on record in writing in perpetuity. So it is easy for any voter to go to www.leg.bc.ca and see exactly what I said on behalf of the people in this area.
I spoke strongly, and forcefully against Bill 2, The Electoral Boundaries Commission Amendment Act, 2014, because I am not going to vote in favour of legislation that I believe will not stand up to a constitutional challenge. This legislation, while it claims to protect rural voters, interferes with the independent work of the Electoral Boundaries Commission, the body that decides where the borders of the constituencies should be.
Does this legislation provide a benefit to me personally? Absolutely. Would I be in a better position politically if I could guarantee that there would be no changes to the boundaries of Columbia River – Revelstoke? Without a doubt. And this is precisely why I, as an elected politician, should have no role in deciding where the boundaries are placed.
And neither should Bill Bennett who championed this bill. In fact, there are those who believe that this bill was written specifically to protect his seat in Kootenay East. While the area that he represents is not dissimilar to, for instance, North Island, his rural riding is protected while the very rural constituency of North Island is not.
Since the BC Liberals came to power, they have passed one bill after another that has later been challenged successfully in court. The list of unconstitutional legislation is a long one: healthcare, legislation, education legislation, drunk driving legislation. Am I willing to support the addition of unconstitutional electoral boundaries legislation to the list? No.
That is why I challenged the Minister of Justice to either provide a legal opinion that proves that this legislation will not be challenged in the courts, or to withdraw this questionable act. But I’m still waiting for the BC Liberals to act in the best interest of British Columbians in this matter.
MLA Columbia River – Revelstoke