New Liberal leader faces tough questions

The BC Liberal Party’s resurrection is over, or has it just begun with the selection of Christy Clark as our next premier? Several questions come to the fore. Will there be party unity and internal support as stated by the unsuccessful candidates? How many will stay with the ship? What will their marching orders be? How much will things change, or will they remain the same? Questions, questions and more questions will be raised. The pot has not yet begun to boil and little stirring, if any, has taken place.

Ms. Clark has spoken out and stated her first priority is to improve the lives of B.C. families, echoing the theme upon which her campaign was based. She stated that: “My commitment to putting families first starts with job creation and fighting poverty. These issues are going to be the top priorities for our government.” In theory, it sounds good.

There are several issues that need to be addressed over and above these. Many of these are of equal importance. This is her opportunity to put her money where her mouth is. She stated that she wants to hear from “all British Columbians” and “institute real change.” Were I to talk with the new premier, some of my immediate questions would be as follows:

Would she entertain the idea of reconvening the Legislature and allow a free vote on the HST, as this would save about $30 million in the proposed useless June referendum?

Coastal oil tanker issues should be on her agenda. Will she let the feds run an Alberta oil pipeline across B.C. to Prince Rupert based on the proviso that the feds supply matching funding to build a refinery at the Port of Prince Rupert and that the only export shipped from this refinery will be gasoline?

BC Ferry fuel fiasco: Firstly, she would have to realize and admit that her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, messed up more on the BC Ferries development than the previous NDP debacle. Campbell built ships abroad that not only cost more, but are somewhat moth-balled at present as they consume 32 per cent more fuel than do the 40-plus-year-old ferries that are in service.

Health care: It’s time to follow other provinces and get rid of ever-increasing “regressive” MSP premiums. To this end, adopt a “progressive” fee for service model that is capped at one per cent of income, has exemptions for poor and low-income patients, and regulations ensuring all patients receive treatment regardless of ability to pay.

Education: (Remembering that as education minister, she saw about 100 schools close) introduce “per student” funding for primary and secondary education. It should be scaled to each region. This would give parents and students more educational choice, and allow communities to choose which schools to support when there are closures. Educational outcomes could be improved for rural and lower-income students. The bonus here is that students, parents and teachers would be brought together to co-operate in the educational process, which currently puts teachers in the front lines of having to defend a system that is unaccountable to anyone.

Whoa, wait a minute. Silly me, I shouldn’t even be thinking such thoughts. Our political system is somewhat unorthodox. Ms. Clark is leader in name only. She is not yet an MLA. Strange how someone can get behind the wheel of a bus without taking a test and getting a proper licence, isn’t it? Only in Canada and B.C. you say?

Ron Barillaro





Just Posted

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read