Revelstoke Liberal Party supporter Peter Bernacki (left) with candidate Don Johnston.

Liberal candidate for Kootenay-Columbia hits Revelstoke

Revelstokians had their first chance to meet Don Johnston, the Liberal candidate for Kootenay-Columbia, last week.

Revelstokians had their first chance to meet the Liberal candidate for Kootenay-Columbia last week.

Don Johnston, who was chosen as the party’s candidate in May, was in Revelstoke on June 3–4 as part of his first tour of the riding. Here, he made a few stops around town, met with local party supporters at Zala’s and spoke to Mayor Mark McKee.

Johnston said his goal was to get a sense of the issues facing the riding.

“Between now and the election campaign, I’m hoping to make three complete tours of the riding,” he said. “That’s ambitious because it’s a big riding.”

Johnston grew up in Nelson and is the former CEO of the Columbia Basin Trust and Canada World Youth. He has 40 years of community development work in Canada and abroad.

Johnston has a mountain to climb if he hopes to win the election. The Liberals haven’t been victorious in the region since the 1970s, and the party only got 3.5 per cent of the vote in 2011.

Still, he believes the party’s fortunes here can turnaround — pointing to the unexpected NDP victory in Alberta as signs politics can change quickly. He feels the Liberal Party is best positioned to defeat MP David Wilks, saying they are more likely to pull voters from the Conservative base than the NDP. He dismissed calls to unite the so-called progressive, anti-Conservative vote behind the NDP.

“It will be a challenge but we feel people are open to hearing a message from the Liberals,” he said.

Johnston spoke to many common issues the anti-Harper opposition talks about, such as diminishing democracy, the increasing power of the Prime Ministers Office, and the lack of action on climate change.

“People forget that what they need to look at first and foremost is who is the person we’re electing and are they able to represent that region,” he said. “As a Liberal, if I get elected I can actually represent the people and be supported in doing that.”

Other issues he has raised are:

— A preference for diplomacy over war. “You can’t get involved in diplomacy when your attitude toward international relations is to create an enemies list and a friends list.”

— An independent Supreme Court. “Canada is a country where we understand that the only thing that separates democracy from countries that move increasingly toward autocratic rule is an independent court, and you treat it with respect.”

— Tougher regulations on environmental protection. “What frightens me is how much they [the Conservatives] are muzzling scientists on research issues we are paying for, and I think that is deplorable.”

— More action on climate change. “They are still hiding their head in the sand on carbon issues.”

— Independence for MPs (except in budget votes or votes on things that are in the party’s platform). “David Wilks represents the Conservative Party in the riding. I would represent the riding in parliament.”

— Respect for parliamentary traditions. “Treat question period with the seriousness it deserves and don’t send clowns out to answer with absurd responses to serious questions that have nothing to do with the subject matter and often turn into rants.”

Johnston said he would raise rural issues in Ottawa, and would work to get Federal resources involved in local initiatives. He cited the example of the Columbia Basin Trust.

“I think the MP can get engaged and worked with local leadership, social leadership, civil society and can do a lot to help the process of bringing people together,” he said. “If we can apply federal resources to already support stuff that’s going on rather than create programs and grants for political reasons, I think there’s a lot of power in that.”

With files from the Nelson Star

 

Just Posted

Funding available for caribou habitat restoration

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is now accepting grant applications

Sagmoen back in Vernon court this week

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

Crash temporarily closes Trans Canada Highway near Sicmaous

DriveBC reported the accident at 3 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10

Revelstoke council to hear first proposed cannabis store application

Starbuds would be located at 109 Connaught Ave.

Revelstoke father and daughter venture abroad to teach English

Columbia is trying to increase the number of English speakers

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

It could be an “impeachable offense” if it’s proven that President Donald Trump directed illegal hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

Winter rolls into the Okanagan to stay

Environment Canada is calling for two-to-four centimetres of snow from Penticton to Salmon Arm

Macron addresses France amid protests; is it too late?

Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday.

CUPE calls off Flair Airlines job action citing job security concerns

The union says it’s going to challenge Flair’s move at the Canada Industrial Relations Board before proceeding with any job action.

Trump looking at several candidates for new chief of staff

Trump’s top pick for the job, Nick Ayers, is out of the running and Trump is now soliciting input on at least four individuals.

Canadian physicist collects Nobel Prize

Canada’s Donna Strickland is one of three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics.

BCHL players help Team Canada in shootout win over U.S.

Massimo Rizzo scores the shootout winner at World Junior A Challenge

Most Read