On Jan. 21, I received an invitation to a town hall conference call with Premier Christy Clark. The hour-long conversation was ostensibly an opportunity for the membership to receive an update from the premier and ask her any questions we might have.
I accepted this invitation and received my notification for 7 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 25.
Needless to say I wished to bring up the petition on recall for municipal politicians. The government’s reforms gave civic governments a four-year mandate. It has left an accountability vacuum for the residents of these municipalities.
The people of Penticton have had changes forced upon them that were not brought forward during the run up to the election even though those running for re-election had discussed those changes through approximately 18 months of previous in camera meetings.
The failure to ensure accountability of municipal politicians through a method of recall during four year terms; creates distrust of the system; unrest in the populace and a general apathy on the part of the voter who begins to believe that their opinion doesn’t matter and their local leaders are not responsible to the electorate.
Penticton’s population is falling and it is not surprising; as many tourists and potential retirees experienced the unrest over the Skaha Park issue this summer and saw for themselves how unhappy the citizens of Penticton were with their local government. Who would want to move here under those conditions?
Though I was available; the town hall meeting with Premier Clark failed to materialize. Was the registration checked and was I blacklisted? Is the Premier unwilling to engage in a reasoned conversation on this matter with a member of the public?
A couple of months have passed and I have still not heard from Minister Fastbender in charge of the municipal affairs portfolio despite reassurances from MLA Ashton’s office that a response was forthcoming. Dan Ashton has been unable to secure me a meeting in Kelowna with the premier either it seems. So it seems the Liberal government is not accountable to the people either.
The response from the NDP was not much better.
But then why would any of them pursue accountability?
We need another populist movement in B.C.: One that brings accountability back into the hands of the people.