Candidates discussion turns to civil rights

Two missing from Harrison Mills meeting

Two voices were missing from the only local all candidates meeting Monday night, but one absence was duly noted by facilitator Cynthia Berge.

“Diane Janzen accepted the invitation and was indeed the catalyst to keep this (meeting) moving forward,” Berge said during her opening remarks. However, days later, Berge says the Liberal candidate phoned and emailed to apologize that she couldn’t make it after all.

“She gave me the Liberal platform to read but I’m not going to do that,” Berge said. “I’m not trying to be evil spirited, but that’s just what I’m doing.”

Conservative Mark Strahl declined the invitation, citing prior a commitment.

Berge is a director of the Action Committee for Environmental Stewardship Society, which was formed over the last couple years by local political activists. ACES has lobbied particularly hard against Mission MLA Randy Hawes regarding gravel projects in Lake Erroch.

The meeting was not advertised except by word of mouth, and email. About 35 people, including the four attending candidates, sat in a conversation circle in the Harrison Mills Community Hall. ACES planned the meeting to discuss environment issues, but the tone often turned to issues of civil rights and war involvement. Residents tossed unscreened questions at the candidates that ranged from fair taxation to Bill C-36 and pharmaceuticals.

Western Block candidate Clive Edwards received several rounds of applause during his answers, especially when asked about Bill C-36. Some audience members said the bill would strip individuals of their personal rights and freedoms, allowing police to seize herbal medicines the government deems problematic.

“We (the Western Block) can’t form government but we can howl like a banshee about this. They are trying to nibble away at our freedoms one step at a time,” Edwards said.

Green Party candidate Jamie Hoskins added that “we need to be concerned about the over-reaches of our government” but that consumers also need to be protected from products that aren’t safe.

Gwen O’Mahoney told the audience she was wanting to learn more about the bill, but expressed concerns about how the bill “infringes on people’s rights and contradicts our Charter.”

Marxist Leninist Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell also spoke out against the bill, calling out big pharmaceutical companies.

“This really is a movement for empowerment of the people,” she said.

The meeting revealed a mutual respect for two particular candidates — O’Mahony and Hoskins.

Both consider themselves advocates for the environment, and both have been present at past ACES events. They nodded and smiled at each other’s positions on issues, such as gravel removal, and referred to each other on several responses.

But when asked by a resident how to encourage the federal government to make the environment a number one priority, they each stood by their party.

“I think the best way is to vote Green,” Hoskins said. “And I mean it, because every vote is a message.”

O’Mahony had a similar statement.

“My party has been environmentally progressive for years,” she said. “This is an election where there could be an upset.”

Election day is Monday, May 2.

Just Posted

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

Good Samaritans rescue feline family from under Agassiz Rosedale bridge

A special mewment for the kittens, soon to be sent to Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven

114th year of the Agassiz Fall Fair – Video and Photos

Corn-themed fair a success with locals, visitors

B.C. city moves to ban all retail marijiuana sales

New bylaw to public hearing on Oct. 2 in Pitt Meadows.

Lower Mainland sets Grouse Grind record

Madison Sands sets a new best time on Vancouver’s fitness landmark

Tent city campers now allowed to stay in B.C. provincial park

Contrary to earlier reports, Ministry of Environment says there is no deadline for campers to leave Greater Victoria camp site

Bus company vies to replace Greyhound in Kamloops to Vancouver, Kelowna

Alberta-based Ebus applies to the Passenger Transportation Board to replace Greyhound

Former VP of lululemon joins B.C. cannabis cultivation facility

Kerry Biggs will be the Chief Financial Officer of True Leaf, in Lumby

Could cannabis help keep people in B.C. on treatment for opioid addiction?

People on opioid agonist treatment face lower risks of overdosing, BC Centre on Substance Use says

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Thieves escape after man claims his wife is giving birth

RCMP searching for suspects in brazen daytime break in

Most Read