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| ||09 05 11
|I predict Marion Wright will win this. This was a nail-biter for Claire Trevena last election, and with Wright's credentials among the First Nations community, I believe the BC Liberals will take this one.|
| ||09 05 10
||Globe and Mail|
|Native vote puts seat in play for B.C. Liberals|
May 9, 2009 at 8:54 PM EDT
CAMPBELL RIVER - Mike Jacobson-Weston has never been to a Liberal rally before. Neither has Jamie Wilson, or the other women clustered with her at a Saturday campaign event with Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell.
These aboriginal voters supported the New Democratic Party in 2005. This time, a number of native leaders in the North Island riding are promising to get their communities out to the polls to defeat NDP candidate Claire Trevena.
Mr. Jacobson-Weston is from the Da'naxda'xw First Nation in Alert Bay. He has switched his allegiance based on the strength of the Liberal candidate, Marion Wright, who has been a chief councillor of the Kwakiutl Band.
?It is odd,? he said, looking around the room at the other Liberal supporters at Saturday's campaign event in a helicopter hanger.
He has worked with Ms. Wright on aboriginal child-welfare issues and said he has no choice but to vote for her. ?I have so much faith in her,? he said.
?She is going to be our aboriginal voice in Victoria, especially for our children.?
Ms. Wilson, of the Homalco Indian Band, said she voted for Ms. Trevena in 2005 because that's what the rest of her family did. On Tuesday, she plans to vote Liberal because she likes Mr. Campbell's promise to enact a law to recognize aboriginal rights and title.
?We just want our rights back,? she said, her one-year-old boy peering up from his stroller, unfazed by the loud rally.
If there is a backlash against the NDP from aboriginal voters here, it largely surrounds the Toba Valley independent power project that is under way in partnership with the Klahoose First Nation.
Ms. Trevena and her party are calling for a moratorium on private power projects. It has earned her support from prominent environmentalists who oppose the run-of-the-river projects as a threat to wild rivers, but she has been branded by the Klahoose as an ?eco-Colonialist.?
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, believes most aboriginal voters will still support the New Democrats in the election because of the party's commitment to social justice.
The clash over private run-of-the-river power projects is not one that translates across the province, he added. ?We have enormous concerns about these projects completely compromising the rivers of the province,? he said. ?The majority of First Nations are deeply concerned.?
But in the riding of North Island, the issue could influence the outcome of the vote. Although it is traditionally an NDP riding - six of the last seven elections have returned New Democrat MLAs - Ms. Trevena won in 2005 by just 660 votes.
Almost 14 per cent of the population in North Island is aboriginal. Most of the chiefs have endorsed Ms. Wright, and are organizing to get their communities to the polls on Tuesday.
Ken Brown, chief of the Klahoose First Nation, said his people will be out in force on Tuesday to vote for Ms. Wright ?so we can continue to prosper? under a Liberal government.
Ms. Wright, in an interview, predicted the battle for North Island will be close again. ?We are doing everything we can to get the vote out,? she said. ?It's going to be a tight race but if we all link arms and move forward, we can do this together.?
Mr. Campbell told the Campbell River rally the NDP's call for a moratorium on private power projects would kill jobs.
?The NDP have a job destruction program,? he said. ?We care about your jobs.?
The backdrop chosen for the rally was a flashy $3-million Bell 407 helicopter, a symbol perhaps of prosperity, although the community's economic mainstay is fishing.
Mr. Campbell's message about jobs has sharpened in the final days of the campaign: For the last two days, he has been telling voters that NDP leader Carole James's would effectively hand out pink slips to tens of thousands of workers because of her party's commitment to raise the minimum wage.
As he was speaking, the faint sound of air horns intruded. Paramedics were lined up outside the hanger trying to bring attention to their strike.
Mr. Campbell has been met at almost every public event in this campaign by the paramedics but until recently, their exchanges have been polite, even warm.
Last week however Mr. Campbell tossed a loonie to one paramedic in an attempt at a joke. Since then, tensions have been rising and the Liberal leader was forced to exit a rally by the backdoor in Courtenay on Saturday after paramedics blocked his campaign bus.
| ||09 05 04
||Globe and Mail|
|James targets North Island|
Globe and Mail Update
April 29, 2009 at 12:32 PM EDT
CAMPBELL RIVER ? Fourteen Vancouver Island ridings will be at stake on election night, and Carole James began a major bid yesterday to hold and expand the NDP's grip on the island with a stop in the largest, which the party won by 660 seats in 2005.
The NDP Leader flew into this community at the heart of North Island, the largest riding on the island, and the focus of what Ms. James conceded is a challenge for the NDP.
?It was a close race last time,? she said just before she boarded a plane in Vancouver for the flight across the Strait of Georgia to Campbell River, noting that the riding has swung between Liberals and New Democrats in the past 30 years.
In 2001, Liberal Rod Visser won by 7,406 votes. But he was defeated by Claire Trevena in 2005.
A complication this time is the NDP's commitment to impose a moratorium on new independent power projects (IPPs), which has run up against a plan for a large run-of-the river project at Toba Inlet that is backed by the Klahoose First Nation.
Chief Ken Brown has vowed to get out the vote for Liberal candidate Marion Wright, who has served as a chief with one of 21 native bands in the riding and has promoted run-of-the-river projects.
Ms. Wright said the NDP's opposition to IPPs is a wedge issue among native voters and environmentalists. ?Green energy projects are extremely important up and down the island,? the Liberal candidate said. ?I think the NDP's blunder in saying they're going to put a moratorium [on IPPs] is helping us out,? she said.
Ms. James said she was hoping Ms. Trevena would get the benefit of the doubt from voters because of her work in areas unrelated to IPPs, referring to her advocacy for native housing and against hospital closings.
The NDP Leader began her own advocacy a few weeks ago, spending two days in North Island, she said.
?I understand the position of first nations on independent power, but believe the majority of people in North Island, as in the rest of British Columbia, will want to make sure public resources stay in public hands and support our position,? Ms. James said.
Ms. Trevena, a former journalist, was hoping Ms. James's visit and a stop at her campaign office would amplify efforts on the ground to bring support her way.
?It's important to show the leader is aware of the issues here,? she said, pinning her hopes on word getting around of Ms. James's visit.
| ||09 04 28
|Three things are haunting the NDP this time around.|
First, their opposition to the carbon tax. All that will result in now is the NDP sloughing off votes to the Green candidate. People are also wary of what the NDP would actually do if they were to ever gain power in the area of the environment.
Second, the NDP's Candidate Selection bylaw which will make certain ridings GLBT/Female/Minority only ridings. Even if the local riding members elect someone else the party will not allow that candidate. This is what many of the NDP's own members fought against as anti-democratic and social engineering. Contrast that with the fact the Liberals selected (by choice not bylaw) a female First Nations member and the NDP look quite extreme.
Third, in the past Federal election voters sent the message that they are tired of not having a voice from opposition politicians. Claire has done nothing for the riding and in tough economic times people are a lot more cautious about political risks like Ms. Trevena.
I don't think anyone will be surprised (though the NDP will be disappointed) that the Greens will gain, and an excellent Liberal candidate will come out ahead. I actually think this will be the election when the Greens provincially make the NDP even more irrelevant. (Don't like the Greens, but I predict a surge from them).
| ||09 04 20
|This one is too close to call.|
A very interesting race, as around two-thirds of the voters in this riding live in Campbell River, but neither of the candidates are from there.
Liberal candidate Marion Wright is from up-island and is well-respected in the Aboriginal community up there, which voted for Trevena in overwhelming numbers last time out. Could that make the difference?
The collapse of industry in Campbell River has been swift and sudden, but has not been as devastating as it would have been 30 yrs ago, and it is not at all clear that it plays to the NDP's advantage.
CR has slowly crept up as a retirement community, and it is these voters who will pick the MLA on May 12th. They are not as affluent as the Albertans who have flocked to the Comox Valley, which should help the NDP.
In the end, the health care sector is now the largest employer in the city and it may be regional jealousies over the location of the North Island Regional Hospital that turns the tide in this riding.
| ||09 04 15
|The NDP is 20pts ahead of the liberals on the island. I can't see a scenario were Claire Travena loses her seat she is more likely to get relected by a wider margin as all NDP members on the island seeking re-election are.|
| ||09 03 24
|An effective MLA? You must be kidding. Claire Trevena has single-handedly managed to alienate the entire First Nations bands through her crass remarks about the First Nations 'selling out their land' for money. She also has done nothing for the hundreds of people who have lost their jobs because of the mill closures.|
| ||09 02 27
|Claire Trevena will hold this seat. Her credentials are much better than another poster implies. She has worked as an assignment editor and programme editor for the BBC World Service, a Canadian correspondent for several United Kingdom newspapers and a senior editor with CBC Newsworld International. She was also a Public Information Officer/Deputy Spokesperson during the UN Mission in Kosovo and was responsible for increasing awareness of local government structures and services. She's been awarded the Government of Canada Civilian Peacekeeping Medal|
Her reputation as an effective MLA will earn her another victory.
| ||09 02 23
|This riding will come down to the two candidates strengths and weaknesses, more so then any party policy. Marion Wright of the BC Liberals is the antithesis of Claire Trevena. She has a PHD in childcare - Claire is the childcare critic with little educational background. She has been a First Nations chief - Claire prides herself on her First Nations relationship. Marion lives in a larger town - Claire lives on a small island (Quadra). I predict that this will be a huge surprise for both parties when Claire is defeated|
| ||09 01 19
|Recent federal election results will have the BC Liberals excited about this riding, but I believe it is a fool's bargain. The BC NDP will hold.|