In his third term representing the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding, NDP Member of Legislative Assembly Norm Macdonald will fight for the riding as a member of the opposition government.
“There’s no question that working with the opposition comes with challenges,” Macdonald told The Valley Echo following his re-election. “But we’ve been able to fight effectively on issues like HST and run-of-river, and we’ve been making sure communities like Invermere, Radium, and Canal Flats have the most possible ability to make decisions for themselves on the land that surrounds them.”
The NDP have also fought effectively for their concerns involving seniors and children, he said.
But many issues have left Macdonald and the NDP dissatisfied.
“The Liberals’ intention is to reduce the services we have for health care in the province,” he said. “Our experience in rural B.C. has been that we tend to get hit hard with that, so we’re going to have to fight hard to protect our services.”
And the NDP’s proposed forestry plan conflicted with that of the Liberals.
“Reasonably, one would invest in looking after the land for forestry’s long-term health, but that’s not the direction the government is going,” Macdonald said.
As for the construction of Jumbo Glacier Resort, Macdonald said there are conflicts left to resolve, particularly in the valley.
The “fake municipality” of Jumbo Glacier Resort is not supported by the vast majority of the constituents in the riding, he said.
“The BC Liberals will see their way of operating has been rewarded with a win, so I would say there will be a good deal of contempt in the treatment we receive from them moving forward.”
He said that a pro-development MLA would be misrepresenting the people in the area. Only public resources have gone into the resort project so far, and without significant amounts more, the resort municipality will not be economically feasible, he said.
“Who are the investors?” Macdonald asked. “They have never identified or given any suggestion that there is actual money behind this. There is a small group of BC Liberal insiders, which is well-known to everyone, who essentially have control of 6,000 hectares and, through whatever processes they’ve set up, had it paid for with tax money that should have been spent on services helping those who actually need it.”
Sustainable economic development comes when a solid, predictable base for business is held in a community, and all businesses are given a fair opportunity to set up and operate in a predictable way, he said.
As it was widely believed the NDP would have won a majority in the May 14th provincial election, Macdonald was disappointed by the party’s loss.
“There are a lot of good things we thought we’d be able to do, especially with the valley, that need to be done,” he said. “I think we can still work on those things, but there’s no question it’s far more complicated when you’re in opposition.”
Asked if he would consider an NDP leadership bid should the opportunity arise, he stood by the present leader without anticipating a contest.
“I like Adrian a lot, and I’m going to continue supporting him,” he said. “I think he ran an honest campaign, and I think he’s extremely bright and hard-working. He had several million dollars worth of negative ads directed his way.”
The political discussions held during election period are not “terribly sophisticated,” Macdonald said. “They tend to be personal attacks. They tend to talk like it’s a horse race, when really, there are issues that have to be discussed.”
While he had hoped for a better outcome for the NDP, Macdonald is grateful for support from the valley.
“I appreciate so much the support that people chose to give me,” he said. “I can tell you I’ll work as hard as I can to protect our interests.”