ELECTION 2015: ‘Anybody but Harper’ says Grand Chief

Grand Chief Phillip Stewart didn’t mince words when it came to the message he has for Okanagan voters.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of Penticton reaches out to an audience member during the grand entry of the delegates to the 2014 BC Elders Gathering at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of Penticton reaches out to an audience member during the grand entry of the delegates to the 2014 BC Elders Gathering at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

“Anybody but Harper.”

Grand Chief Phillip Stewart didn’t mince words when it came to the message he has for Okanagan voters.

“Clearly, after nine and a half years of fighting, the Harper government has demonstrated that the Conservative Party of government is very hostile and adversarial to First Nation rights and interests,” he said, Thursday.

“Right from the time they took power, they completely trashed the Kelowna Accord, which presented $5.1 billion in funding for desperately needed new health, education, housing and infrastructure.”

The Harper government, he said, has pursued a unilateral legislative agenda that has not served the interest of aboriginal people in this country.

“They have been very consistent in their campaign against the interests of aboriginal people,” he said, pointing out that they are the only party that absolutely refused to consider a federal inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Stewart also takes issue with the Harper government’s misuse of the term ‘surplus.’

“This so-called surplus was achieved by defunding and underfunding programs to aboriginals and veterans, and the most marginalized groups in Canada,” he said.

Phillip’s view on the government is clear, but while he encourages aboriginal people to vote for anybody other than Harper, he stops himself short at offering his personal pick for prime minister.

“I guess in many ways, my wife and I honour the memories of aboriginal veterans that fought for the democratic rights for our people,” he said, explaining that aboriginal people in B.C. didn’t get the vote until 1949 and in Canada until 1960.

“That was a hard struggle, so I vote in every election. I urge all people to go out and express themselves at the ballot box.”

A rise in First Nation voter turnout is something that he expects to see happen, given recent grassroots efforts for political change.

The momentum from Idle No More, a 2012 grassroots mobilization of aboriginal and non aboriginal Canadians against Harper, is still noticeable, he said.

“It was inclusive and it brought Canadians together,” he said, saying he believed that energy would continue in years to come.

It’s an exciting time, for the veteran politician, who’s been fighting for aboriginal rights for over four decades.

“It was exciting because it brought so many different diverse groups together, native and non native alike, for a common purpose—to speak out against the Harper government,” he said.

 

Just Posted

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Jann Arden will embark on Canada-wide tour Spring 2022 with a stop in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 13. (Contributed)
Jann Arden coming to Penticton in 2022

The Jann Arden Live! tour has been rescheduled for 2022

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Most Read