We believe that MLA Linda Larson needs to make a public apology to her constituents, in particular Doreen Olson and anyone who has written a letter to the editor in the past, for the vitriolic, harmful, and untrue comments that she has made repeatedly in the media throughout the region over the past week. Her personal attacks on citizens are completely unacceptable behaviour for a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
Her disparaging remarks were made on CBC Radio, the Penticton Herald, Penticton Western News, and the Oliver Daily News, and her behaviour was the topic of Gary Mason’s article in the Globe & Mail. Her actions and comments have been broadcast over the entire province.
Larson claims Doreen Olson called CBC and asked that they produce a story about Larson’s secret focus group that ‘she [Olson] decided the focus group was slanted, etc., and she is the one that started this whole process.’ Olson was acting entirely within her rights as a citizen to bring attention to what she thought was an improper, non-transparent and unfair process; and the general tenor of the large amount of public discussion in the last week confirms that Larson’s constituents share Olson’s concerns about the secret committee, through Larson interfering in the consultative process implemented by the Environment Ministry.
Larson insults her constituents by saying that she wants to protect committee members from lobbying or other harassment from members of the public, such as Doreen Olson. If this was a legitimate committee, its members should welcome input from the community.
Larson is insulting to her constituents and has damaged Doreen Olson’s reputation while causing her significant and unwarranted stress. As the co-ordinator for the South Okanagan Similkameen National Park Network she has put forward the position of the network in a very professional and open way, asking questions about the mandate and membership of the focus group.
MLA Larson said Olson represents only a handful of people and does not represent the majority of the community. This is so far from the truth that we are incredulous. Every regional district, tourism association, and chamber of commerce has passed formal resolutions supporting, or showing strong interest, in the national park. Several public opinion polls run by different professional agencies show that there is majority support for the park. The First Nations and all of their bands have supported, unanimously, a return to negotiations with Parks Canada.
Are all of these organizations and individuals crazy people? Extremists?
MLA Larson’s behaviour reflects poorly on the government of this province and is damaging to the citizens of her constituency, Doreen Olson, and anyone who chooses to exercise their democratic right to write a letter to the editor. It is time that she publicly apologized.
Eva Durance, Penticton
Bob Handfield, Kaleden
Bob Parker, Oliver
Chris Purton, Farley Lake
Doug and Susan Lychak,Okanagan Falls
Harry Nielsen, Penticton
Jim Bryan, Penticton
John Lewall, Penticton
Phillip Elliott, Osoyoos
Tim Birmingham, Cawston