Letters to the Editor – April 27

East Kootenay politics: is voting Green a vote for the right?

East Kootenay politics enters post-truth era

Kootenay East Liberals are experiencing real difficulty with facts.

Evidence of this came to light recently on Kootenay East candidate Tom Shypitka’s Facebook page.

Contributing to it, former MLA Bennett quoted BC Liberal finance minister de Jong, as follows: “ [ BC NDP leader] John Horgan was part of the same gang that cooked the books before the 1996 election,” de Jong said.

But de Jong lied. As did Bennett by quoting the lie as fact.

This is how it really went down.

From 1996 until 1999, David Stockill, a card-carrying BC Liberal, accused the NDP of pre-election budgetary malpractice in 1996.

The accusation went to trial in 2000. The verdict was rendered by Justice Humphries on August 3 of that year.

In paragraph 57: “There is no evidence that [then-NDP finance minister] Elizabeth Cull instructed anyone to manipulate or juggle figures.”

In paragraph 62: “ I found Ms. Cull to be an honest, careful, articulate and well-informed witness. She was not fraudulent”

In paragraph 70: I can draw no conclusion adverse to the credibility of Ms. Cull from this evidence.”

The Stockill / BC Liberal accusation was a total fabrication for Election 2001 and it is a total fabrication now. It is surpassed only by Mr. Bennett’s total fabrication, on the same Shypitka Facebook page, that the NDP was responsible for the 2014 environmental disaster at Mt. Polley.

At recent all-candidate forums, Mr. Shypitka himself has been guilty of glaring inaccuracies, and has also experienced real difficulty with facts about the economic record of the former NDP government (1991 – 2001.)

If he is unaware of the facts, he betrays an ignorance of BC politics. If he is aware of the facts, but has misrepresented them, he is fit company for Mr de Jong.

In either case, his status as a candidate has been diminished.

JC Vallance

Fernie, B.C.

My Green vote: weary, hopeful and defiant

It happens every election. The NDP line up and lecture other lefties on how they mustn’t split the vote and open an avenue for the current government to retain power.

It’s always the same. Defeating the political right is of paramount importance, they sternly warn, and a vote for the Greens is a vote for the right.

Some of the more progressive among them take the debate a step further, recognizing that electoral math is not hard, that everyone can do it, and that there are actually good reasons to vote Green.

Nevertheless, in defense of the math – as if 410 ppm carbon dioxide did not also count as math – they insist we must put political beliefs and good conscience on the back burner and vote NDP.

Perhaps 2017 is an inauspicious year, following so closely upon the 2015 federal election, endless talk about ‘strategic’ voting, and abundant promises of Real Change. Even if you disbelieved Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises and weren’t disillusioned when he broke so many of them, it doesn’t mean you’re in the mood to hear them repeated.

As a reminder, Trudeau promised fact-based decision-making, and also promised the needs of the economy and the needs of the environment could be balanced. From the get-go, he ignored the fact that every dollar invested in clean energy will yield three to seven times more jobs than a dollar invested in fossil fuels.

He also ignored the fact our parents taught us – you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. His pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change failed to provide what he said it did, a pathway to approving tar sands pipelines and LNG projects while meeting established GHG emissions reduction targets.

A final insult in an overheated world, environment minister Catherine McKenna announced just days ago that implementation of methane regulations will be put off three years. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers explained that it was in reaction to their demands that the government rolled back the date.

Disappointingly, the NDP is no less captured by fossil fuel interests than Trudeau and McKenna, or than Christy Clark. Lambasting Clark’s “phony promises” on LNG jobs, John Horgan says he will deliver the LNG industry that she hasn’t, and also “achieve the highest environmental standards while respecting our commitments to combating climate change.”

But experts have calculated that fracked shale gas has a heavy GHG footprint due to fugitive methane leaks – some say a footprint as heavy as coal’s. Horgan’s promise was as phony as Clark’s even before McKenna effectively said all bets on methane limits and “clean growth” were off.

Count me weary – too weary to support such charlatans any longer.

Count me hopeful – I know a better way lies with the new green economy.

And count me defiant. Ours is not a two-party system despite what the NDP want us to believe. It’s perfectly legitimate to vote Green, and it’s perfectly possible that the Greens could wind up holding the balance of power in a minority NDP government.

Furthermore, in ridings where Green candidates won’t overtake the NDP, our votes will not be wasted. They’ll signal to the NDP that if they want our votes in future, they had better take our phone calls, answer our emails, and deliver the policy that we, the progressive left, can get behind. The days of supporting fossil fuels and their lobbyists are over.

Dianne Varga

Penticton, B.C.

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