Debate hits on civility, Jumbo

Norm Macdonald (NDP), Doug Clovechok (BC Liberals) and Earl Olsen (Conservatives) debate

Part Two

One of the questions that came up at the Chamber-hosted All Candidates Forum in Kimberley this week came up at another forum as well. It is the question of civility and negative politics.

Candidates were asked what they intended to do to make politics cleaner and more respectful.

Norm Macdonald (NDP) said it was important to have intelligent debate on complex issues, and very important to present accurate information.

“We have to have debates that are hard on issues but make sure they don’t slip into personal attacks,” he said. “It’s an important decision to make.”

He added that the decision to stay positive had to be made or B.C. would slip into the American example where 96 per cent of ad money in the last election cycle went to negative ads.

“Civility comes from understanding each other,” said BC Liberal Doug Clovechok. “It’s about sitting down and talking to each other.”

He said as MLA he would start the discussion in his own riding, bringing together people from Revelstoke, Golden, Invermere and Kimberley in regular sit-down meetings.

“We need to bring groups together. That’s where civility starts,” he said.

“This is the second time this has come up,” said the Conservative Party’s Earl Olsen. “I am privileged to be a part of this group and I don’t think attack ads are right. What good is electing someone who can only attack.

“If you want to be a good MLA, you have to believe in what you offer.

“We disagree and differ but it doesn’t have to be personal.”

The candidates were asked if they would support changing signage at Wasa that directed Cranbrook traffic through Wasa and Fort Steele.

“I can’t imagine anyone here would say no to that one,” Macdonald said, going on to say that with tourism in general the BC Liberals had taken away something that worked very well — Tourism BC — and that was a mistake.

Clovechok said the sign was an RDEK issue and he’d support their decision on it. He also said that Destination BC — which replaced Tourism BC — was the best thing that had happened to tourism in this province in a long time.

Olsen got the laugh of the night when he said he’d turn the sign on his way home to Fairmont. He said that much more could be done on marketing this special region of the province.

Candidates also debated land use planning, education and the lack of employment services in Kimberley before fielding a question on Jumbo.

Olsen and Clovechok found common ground on the issue.

“When we as government set rules and policies and someone comes with a plan and jumps through all the hoops — if the government has a process in place and a developer meets all the criteria, then it’s done. Jumbo did meet this criteria.

“I don’t quite understand this Resort Municipality and I don’t believe public money should go into it. Let the developer build it.”

Macdonald says there has been no public support for Jumbo.

“In Golden, when Kicking Horse was developed there was a referendum and 93 per cent were for it. There has been no public support for Jumbo.

“Secondly, there is no money. It’s a $700 million process with no $700 million. The only money in it so far is government money. There’s a fake mayor and a fake council. It’s ridiculous.”

Clovechok countered saying that you don’t have to have a referendum for land use issues.

“After 20 years, it’s process. There was a process and it was decided upon. When Norm says everyone disagrees, that’s not true. The Mayor of Radium says her community supports it.”

He also said an Invermere Councillor has come out in support of it.

An audience member quickly pointed out it was only one Councillor.