Premier Christy Clark was in Golden on July 31 to throw her support behind Doug Clovechok who will run for the BC Liberals in Columbia River-Revelstoke in next year’s provincial election in May. Clovechok was acclaimed to be the candidate at a selections meeting held at the Golden Civic Centre.
“I am here to help nominate a candidate in a riding that is held by the New Democrats and has been since 2005. The reason I am here is because I believe we can win this riding back,” Clark said.
Clark called Clovechok “the best possible candidate to win this riding for the BC Liberals” and said Clovechok is a man who will not make promises to people that he can not keep.
“What Doug is going to be facing in this next election is a candidate on the other side who does not believe in resource development. A candidate who does not fundamentally believe in the power of the private sector. Adrian Dix says that resource development is a disease,” said Clark. “I fundamentally disagree with that. That is what has built our province. It’s what has built the Kootenays. It is what is going to build our future for our children and families no matter where they live.”
Clovechok was then given the chance to speak to the people who came out to the meeting. He thanked everyone in attendance and all of the people in the area who helped him leading into the nomination. He also thanked current Liberal MLA for Kootenay East Bill Bennett whom he referred to as a mentor and friend.
“This has historically been a Social Credit riding and was a BC Liberal riding and we should never have lost it,” Clovechok said.
He went on to speak about some of the issues which he has been discussing with people over the last two years in the area. One of those issues dealt with the DriveABLE program. Clovechok said there were some issues with the program in its original set up but the provincial government has made those changes. He told the story of a local senior who contacted him due to his frustration with the system.
“We had an NDP MLA come from the coast into Cranbrook with Norm Macdonald and they scared seniors. They absolutely terrified seniors and that was wrong,” he said.
He explained he has been going into different towns to speak to seniors with a registered nurse and at times with the RCMP Staff Sgt. to clarify the truth about the program. Another issue he has been working with different communities on is flood protection and issues with the Trans Canada Highway.
“Christy had the opportunity today to come through the Roger’s Pass and she knows what our highway is like there,” Clovechok said. “You can shut communities down for 18 days from the rest of Canada. We have to do something about that.”
He also spoke about “a group of people that are trying to limit our access to our backcountries.”
“They want to shut down our backcountries and shut down our waterways so that you and I and our kids don’t have the birthright that we have in British Columbia to use those systems,” he said. “It has got to stop and I am going to fight with you to do that.”
Clovechok added that he felt people have to respect the environment but did not see the need to be preservationist. “We do not want the extinction of human beings from this land. We want to use them,” he said.
The new candidate went on to give his word to the people who live in the riding.
“Today what I will do is give you a promise. I promise you that I will represent this riding to Victoria and not the other way around. If you know me and the people who do know me will tell you I am not fun in the corners. My elbows are up and I tell you what Norm Macdonald, get your hockey helmet on because it is game on,” Clovechok said. “No disrespect to Norm Macdonald because he is a nice guy but I am more than a nice guy. I can out nice him and I can out work him.”
Clearly the BC Liberals are going to be running a very negative campaign, said Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA and NDP forest critic Norm Macdonald in an email, if Clovechok’s comments and those by the premier are any indication.
“[Clark] makes statements that completely misrepresent the facts,” Macdonald said. “Inaccurately attributing comments to a political opponent is behavior that my constituents will not accept. We expect campaigns to be conducted with respect and with integrity, and it is a shame that this is how they choose to begin.
“The communities that I represent have been built based on resource development. People in this area know better than anyone just how important it is to use our natural resources wisely,” he said. “I believe strongly that local people should have the largest say on how our land and resources are used. Over the last 11 years, in one example after another, we’ve seen the BC Liberal government remove the opportunity for local decision-making. And the people I represent simply reject that top-down approach.”
—with files from Nicole Trigg