A Case for Independent Candidates

Stickle Road Vernon traffic issue

A CASE FOR INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES – In 2017

How many times do we elect an MLA who speaks for the ‘Party’ and not the people who elected him or her?   A case in point is the “Stickle Road” issue in the Vernon Monashee Constituency.  Stickle Road services an industrial area at the north end of Vernon and runs through a protected wetland.

The issue: Left turns from Stickle Road onto Highway 97 have resulted in numerous accidents.  Hardly a week goes by without a letter to the Editor in the local paper regarding the dangers of the intersection. The residents and businesses in the area have lobbied the Provincial Government for a traffic light at the intersection for a number of years.

The response from the Ministry of Transport (MOT): There isn’t enough traffic to warrant a traffic light. To date, the MOT has offered three plans to address the issues at the intersection, none of which included a traffic light. The plans have not been well received by the community and the six Vernon Councillors have supported the electorate by rejecting the MOT plans.

The response from our provincial elected representatives:

First from our Premier: “Sometimes people mean they didn’t get the answer they wanted. The Ministry has come to a good compromise.”

Second our MLA,“The Ministry held several public meetings,the original plan has been scrapped and we have reached an agreement with the business association.”

It should be noted that the agreement reached with the business association appears to have been “you will not get a traffic light – either take this partial solution or you get nothing”.  It should be noted that the MLA never even attended the May public meeting so if you, the tax payer, had a point to make, it fell on deaf ears.

The bottom line is that the residents of Vernon feel that their concerns are not being addressed.  There is no acceptable alternative to a traffic light.  Without fully regulated traffic control, serious injury accidents and possibly avoidable deaths will continue to occur – far too regularly.

Vernon Monashee has an MLA whose opinion and primary responsibility appears to be ‘support the government first – and the constituents second’.

My solution?:  Right for BC (rightforbc.com). The Vernon Monashee constituency is a prime location to elect an Independent Candidate who will commit and be accountable to his/her constituency and whose promise will be, “If elected I will fight for the wishes of my constituents.  A traffic light at Stickle Road will be my first priority.

We know that there are similar major local issues in almost every constituency in the Province.  As a more positive example of accountability, look at the proactive position of the MLA representing Merritt, BC after the announced closure of the Tolko mill – the largest employer in the community and one of the largest in the constituency.

Tolko’s decision to shut down its operations in Merritt is difficult news. The impact of the loss of these jobs will be harshly felt by the workers and their families and throughout the community.

While the news is challenging to hear, Merritt will rally by pulling together.

Upon hearing the news, I contacted Minister of Forest Steve Thomson and Minister of Jobs, Skills Training and Tourism Shirley Bond. I am coordinating a meeting between Merritt City Council and Minister Bond at  the Union of BC Municipalities meeting in Victoria to discuss community needs in the short and long term. I expect this meeting to take place on Monday and it is my priority to utilize this meeting to plan further initiatives to address the impact of this closure on Merritt and the surrounding communities. In the coming weeks, I will continue to meet with government and union officials to best serve Tolko’s employees and my constituents.

Whether or not MLA Tegart succeeds in mitigating the economic blow to the community of Merritt and the local citizens is unclear at this time.  At least she is taking the matter to heart – and exercising her options and commitment to her constituents.

Look at the issues surrounding your own community and constituency.  Do you have an MLA who is proactively working for you, the constituents, or one who is merely accepting the ‘Party line’ and the dictates of caucus?

Even more alarming is the fact that the Premier has chosen to cancel the fall session of the legislature so that the time which should be dedicated to constituency matters and needs is instead being wasted on re-election campaigns and virtually unregulated Party fund raising (contrary to almost every other jurisdiction in Canada).

For whose benefit?

Let’s change this one sided system;  let’s find individuals who have the courage to run as independent candidates in 2017.  Let’s encourage and vote for these independent candidates.

Janet Green

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