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STONE – The NDP’s bizarre scheme to centralize power in Victoria

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

By TODD STONE
MLA, Kamloops-South Thompson

LAST MONTH, in reference to recent and proposed changes to B.C.’s forest policy, West Fraser CEO Ted Seraphim expressed concern that the Horgan government was “making policy changes without consulting with industry.” This seems a touch familiar.

MLA Todd Stone.

Here in Kamloops we know full well the reality of how this government treats the importance and necessity of consultation with the public, small business and even First Nations. From the BCLC headquarters runaround to a handful of other botched files, the NDP employ a ‘fire then aim’ approach, being quick to first implement, then consult after the fact.

Take the Land Title Service Authority (LTSA) records issue here in Kamloops. The MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson, local First Nations, Kamloops City Council, the TNRD Board, local businesses, and myself brought up our legitimate concerns regarding the relocation of historic, hard copy records from Kamloops to Victoria and specifically the lack of consultation, and we were all dismissed and chastised.

Despite protest, there have still been no consultations, and the response from Horgan’s NDP was to claim that this decision is out of their hands and beyond their control, notwithstanding their self-touted ’proud’ commitment to reconciliation and consultation.
Months later, the records are still being moved. So concerned about the reticence of Horgan’s NDP to hit pause on this decision, Chief Mike LeBourdais of the Whispering Pines/Clinton First Nation has launched legal action to stop the movement of these documents.

So much for consultation.

This is not the first time Horgan’s NDP has continued its adage of ‘this government knows best’ and used a heavy hand to enact policy. In the past two years we have seen this scenario play out with the speculation tax, new Employer Health Tax, mountain caribou consultation, and a number of other issues important to British Columbians who are outside of the NDP’s very specific power base. Judging from the current forestry fiasco, this is likely to continue.

An example of their careless approach to governing hit thousands of British Columbians this spring, when the NDP’s Bill 15 proposed changes to the Agriculture Land Commission that deny the rights of private landowners to advocate on their own behalf with respect to their private land — who are now deemed to no longer be ‘persons’ under this over-reaching government policy.

These decisions, as well as the removal of regional ALR panels, represent a bizarre scheme to remove the power and knowledge of local people and instead centralize it in Victoria. My Opposition colleagues recount similar stories across the province of constituents feeling that their concerns are not being heard. The government made virtually all of these changes with blinders on and did not bother to consult with farmers, ranchers or other rural private property owners.

Consultation is a vital part of any government’s work. It’s key to our role as representatives. That is why I am appalled by the actions of the Horgan NDP government. At the end of the day, government action without proper consultation is completely unacceptable and if not curbed, it is dangerous for any democracy.

Enough with the notion of ‘government knows best,’ because it clearly doesn’t.

Todd Stone is MLA for the Kamloops-South Thompson riding.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6883 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on STONE – The NDP’s bizarre scheme to centralize power in Victoria

  1. Well first of all they did consult with the unions and secondly you are right about government clearly not knowing what is best especially coming from you because you do have first hand experience in that.

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