Placing Ajax Mine squarely in his crosshairs, Coun. Donovan Cavers confirmed he’s seeking the Green Party nomination in Kamloops-South Thompson.
Cavers also told a crowd of about 30 supporters at Zack’s Coffee Thursday morning that if elected to represent the constituency next spring, he’ll pay for the cost of a byelection to fill his seat on City council.
“The British Columbia Green Party and I support responsible resource development in B.C.,” he began. “Locating a huge open pit mine within three km from Pacific Way elementary school is not responsible resource development,” he said, adding the familiar refrain, “too big, too close.”
“I believe an MLA’s responsibility is first and foremost to represent the constituents in the riding in which they were elected. The B.C. Green Party understands true wealth,” he said, equating wealth with clean water, clean air and time to spend with friends and family. “When we sacrifice these things for a quick buck, we are poor.”
Cavers said he doesn’t believe a decision will be made on the controversial Ajax proposal until after the 2017 election, suggesting that it will remain a key election issue in the riding.
“The skeptic in me says a decision on Ajax will be made just after the election,” he said. The project is too controversial for the province to make a decision in the interim.
“I foresee it being an election issue.”
He referred to the Green “triple bottom line principle,” to assess all policies on the basis of social, fiscal and environmental considerations.
“Mr. Stone and the B.C. Liberals have accepted more than $60,000 from KGHM,” he continued. “Our political contribution rules in B.C. are so archaic that political parties can accept donations, not just from outside of the province, but from outside of the country.”
He called the practice “completely shameful,” lumping in the NDP for its union contributions. The Greens would ban political campaign contributions by corporations and unions, just as many provinces and the federal government did years ago, he said.
"The campaign won't be supported by mining companies from Poland," he said.
Cavers said he has always responded to and complied with freedom of information requests while in public office.
“Todd Stone’s ministry is the focus of a criminal investigation for triple deleting freedom of information requests regarding the Highway of Tears,” he said. “B.C. needs a government that’s accountable to the people, a government more interested in defending the public interest than in deleting critical and potentially damaging information.”
Cavers pledge to underwrite the cost of a byelection was a reference to Mayor Peter Milobar’s announcement Tuesday that he’s seeking the Kamloops-North Liberal nomination. Milobar said he would not follow the example of a Penticton politician who footed a byelection bill after he was elected MLA. A byelection would cost taxpayers in the order of $125,000, much more than in Penticton, and democracy is better served if candidates are not burdened with such costs, the mayor has said.
If confirmed, Caver would take a leave of absence from City council during the election writ period. As with the mayor, he will continued the work of a city councillor until then.
It would be the third time he's represented the Greens in the riding, having first run federally in 2008. He stepped in at the last minute as a Green candidate in the 2011 federal election when another candidate withdrew.
Dan Hines, an Angligan pastor and counsellor, has declared his intention to seek the Green nomination in Kamloops-North. No other candidates have stepped forward.
Despite the party's weak support in past provincial elections — Bev Markle polled only 6.5 percent of the vote in 2009, the last time a Green candidate ran in the riding — Cavers insisted that they stand a much better chance in 2017.
"People are craving a new kind of government, a government with vision and integrity," he said.
September 8, 2016 04:20pm
September 8, 2016 02:26pm
September 8, 2016 01:36pm
David Johnson says:
September 8, 2016 12:54pm
Obviously this riding is not about to vote in a Green candidate, provincial or federal, regardless of who it is. As an exercise of showing the priority Cavers places on the Ajax question, he scores fairly high. He will probably increase his favour in the next municipal election just by doing this, regardless of the reality that a majority of the voters are quietly pro Ajax.
The red herring here is the promise to foot the bill for a by-election should he be elected. That is an optics based promise that will never come to fruition, where in the Milobar case the by-election would be far more likely scenario ... and Cavers is playing it up as if it is an established procedure for the riding winning individual to pay for the by-election. It is not, but it sure kicked up the headline here.
If he really means it, he would give up his municipal seat now.