B.C. NDP leadership candidate John Horgan pledges to repeal Park Act changes

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      Sole B.C. NDP leadership candidate John Horgan says he’s received more mail about the Park Amendment Act than any other issue in the past six months.

      Horgan noted that NDP MLAs voted against Bill 4, introduced by Environment Minister Mary Polak and passed on March 24, and attempted to have its implementation delayed by six months. The legislation changed the Park Act to allow the minister to issue permits for feasibility studies in provincial parks for pipelines, roads, transmission lines, telecommunications infrastructure, and other “prescribed” projects.

      “Certainly, it would be something we would repeal should we form the government in 2017,” Horgan told the Georgia Straight today (April 11) at Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver.

      Horgan was interviewed at a media event held to announce the endorsement of NDP MP Nathan Cullen of his leadership bid. NDP MP Fin Donnelly and MLAs Mable Elmore and George Heyman, who have also thrown their support behind Horgan, also attended.

      Cullen, a former federal NDP leadership candidate, told reporters that Horgan and the B.C. NDP caucus have showed leadership in opposing Enbridge’s “bad” Northern Gateway pipeline project, which is under consideration by the federal government.

      The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP asserted that the next federal election will be a “referendum” on Northern Gateway.

      “Nothing will get built certainly before the 2015 election,” Cullen said. “So, Enbridge, federally, will be on the ballot across British Columbia.”

      However, both Horgan and Cullen shot down the idea of holding a provincewide referendum on new tar-sands pipelines.

      Cullen maintained that such a vote could infringe on aboriginal rights and title—as has been said of Kitimat’s Northern Gateway plebiscite on Saturday (April 12).

      “I would rather not see a referendum take place on issues like this,” Horgan said. “We need science to direct us. We need the law and the rights and title of First Nations to be first and foremost. Government officials should look at science, look at rights, and then make decisions after that.”

      According to Cullen, Canada can still become a “true energy superpower” while respecting the environment.

      Nathan Cullen doesn't think a provincewide referendum on new tar-sands pipelines is the way to go.
      Stephen Hui

      On the topic of marijuana, Horgan said it was “premature” to commit to decriminalization or holding a referendum on the issue.

      Horgan noted he won the support of Sensible B.C. campaign director Dana Larsen in the last B.C. NDP leadership race and would “welcome” his endorsement this time around.

      “I will be working with him to see what we can bring forward to help educate the people of British Columbia on the real issues around cannabis use—cannabis criminalization—and how it affects people’s lives far longer than it should and far longer than I believe is necessary,” Horgan said.

      On Monday (April 14), the Vancouver park board is set to consider a motion, from Vision commissioner Niki Sharma, that calls for the municipal body to urge the B.C. Liberal government to reverse the Park Amendment Act.

      An online petition calling for the legislation to be rescinded has been signed more than 160,000 times.




      Apr 11, 2014 at 1:09pm

      Re: "'Horgan said it was “premature” to commit to decriminalization"- sounds like another mediocre, wishy-washy politician afraid to take a stand.


      Apr 11, 2014 at 3:18pm

      Hey Mark, He is a future leader of the ndp. Of course he is wishy-washy. That's one of the only things consistent with the ndp.


      Apr 11, 2014 at 6:21pm

      blah...blah, blah, blah!


      Apr 11, 2014 at 6:23pm

      So the NDP's position is the govnernment should look at the science, then first nation rights and make a decision. Who cares what the majority of the population thinks.


      Apr 12, 2014 at 7:39pm

      So science when it comes to oil but not cannabis?

      Mark Burrows

      Apr 13, 2014 at 10:58pm

      Forget the cannabis for a moment, that's not the primary issue. Stopping the Enbridge Northern Gateway project is. This is a money grab for the federal government and the jobs promised is only a twenty year window but the damage to the sensitivity of the environment in the waterways, and the flora and fauna that borders the Douglas Channel. It's bad enough that the shipping business that has gone on there for over 60 because of the Alcan aluminum smelters in Kitimat, but their damage was minimal to what larger and more frequent ships will create. Just the increased pollution created by the larger ships, which will be international, and suspect of being ship worthy, and the increase of pilot and communication error will create enough of a damaging footprint even if one drop of oil is not spilled. If you think it was just the cutting away of the forest of South America was the reason for the destruction of their great rainforests, then give your head a shake, it was because they had no sense of the importance of what it represented, so they didn't care enough to stop what they were doing. Point is it was greed that drove them. It is greed that is driving the federal government. If they want to ship it out, then fly it out. They can build super cargo planes, sure they will not hold as much as a ship, but faster delivery, more often, and less destruction all around. Since there are less people required to fly a plane it is more economical in the long run.

      Stuart Meade

      Apr 16, 2014 at 10:46am

      My, my, my; It is nice to finally hear of issues, and aspects of the government's record being put forward by the NDP rather than "visions". They don't stand a chance in the "visions" competition. Premier Smiley Face, hardhat in hand, has that contest all locked up.

      Warren Walker

      Jul 14, 2014 at 12:53pm

      Premier Smiley Face will keep on selling her snake oil until this province wakes up and ends Corporate Welfare.
      Rill somebody tell Mulcair to clean up his act and shave?

      We haven't elected a bearded Prime Minister in 125 years!

      Too bad, the guy is a brilliant dude and environmentalist but his "arrogant college professor" demeanour cost him the next election.

      Had he fired a few people and cleaned up the NDP over PostageGate and asked the public if they wanted him to shave he could have spun a social media Campaign that would have him sexier than Justin Trudeau.