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

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

The Agassiz-Harrison Museum celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 with special information about The Stó:lō Nation, culture, language and more. (Graphic/Agassiz-Harrison Museum)
Agassiz-Harrison Museum to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 will feature info about local First Nations culture, language and more

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

A CH-149 Cormorant from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of CFB Comox on a training exercise in Chilliwack on June 16, 2021. (William Snow photo)
VIDEO: Military search and rescue training in Chilliwack Wednesday

CH-149 Cormorant and CC-115 Buffalo from CFB Comox participated in downed aircraft rescue simulation

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

Most Read