Carole Gordon say Premier Christy Clark’s meeting with Alberta premier Alison Redford in Kelowna Friday was a meeting in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Westside-Kelowna NDP candidate, who is running against Clark in the upcoming byelection, said rather than using her time here last week to talk about local issues, the premier did a “very premier-like thing” instead by inviting another premier to come talk to her about provincial issues.
“She’s running (in the current byelection campaign) as an MLA and said she was coming up for two days. It’s local issues she needs to be talking about,” said Gordon.
The byelection, called for July 10, will pit Clark against Gordon and B.C. Conservative candidate Sean Upshaw.
Gordon said instead of cozying up to Redford – whose last meeting with Clark was described as “frosty” after the two clashed over B.C.’s resistance to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline that would bring bitumen from the Alberta Oil Sands to Prince Rupert for export – Clark should have been talking about a minor oil spill near Merritt from the Kinder Morgan pipeline and what Gordon called a made-in-B.C. environmental policy.
“I know from door-knocking for the last two years—Gordon was also the NDP’s candidate in the riding for the May 14 provincial election—there are concerns here too about the environment,” she said.
Clark was asked about the Kinder Morgan spill last Thursday and said while it was a concern, it was a small spill. But, she added, it underlined why she is so concerned that there be proper spill response plans in place.
That is one of the five conditions B.C. has put on garnering its support for the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.
Gordon said other local issues Clark should be addressing include her government’s plan to allow health authorities to charge seniors for the use of wheelchairs in care facilities, skills training and the affordability and availability of quality daycare here.
“These are can be seen as provincial issues but they are also issues here and need to be looked at in a local context,” said Gordon.
During Clark’s news conference with Redford, she announced the creation of a ministerial working group to look t the issue of immigration, labour and skills training in both provinces.
Gordon said the issue of open government is another she would like to hear Clark speak about, given that one of the first acts of Clark’s new Liberal government was to cut the open government committee in Victoria.
“In this riding, (just under) 52 per cent of people didn’t vote (in the May 14 provincial election). It’s important to talk to the people who didn’t vote.”
Meanwhile, Gordon reiterated her desire to debate Clark during this byelection campaign and noted while she has accepted an offer from the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce to attend a planned all-candidates debate here June 27, the premier has yet to commit.
Clark has said she would like to participate in all-candidates debates here but does not know if she will have the time.
She did not participate in any all-candidates debates in the Vancouver-Point Grey riding that she lost in the provincial election to the NDP’s David Eby.