PENTICTON - We know Elvena Slump for her letters to the editor and recent controversy over a lawsuit filed against her by the city for remarks she made about senior staff in those letters. But this isn’t her first controversy.
Slump, 76, spent nearly two decades working in print, publishing news, including a paper called The Truckspeaker that reached as far east as Manitoba and up north to the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The publishing industry opened her eyes to a variety of issues, local and national.
One of the issues that arose from her work on The Truckspeaker was government-funded meal allowances for truck drivers. Slump didn’t believe workers received appropriate allowances for basic human needs such as food and shelter and her pro-worker efforts resulted in a civil case with the Supreme Court of Canada, which unfortunately she lost, but opened up the issue at hand to the public.
“I’ve had this before that people don’t like what you’re doing,” she said. “I’ve faced the fire.”
Slump has hired a local lawyer and former editor of the Penticton Herald, Paul Varga to represent her against the city. But she doesn't know if legal action is even required anymore since the last communication she had from the city was the letter sent to her by the city’s lawyer two weeks ago. But she’s not going give up.
“If the city gives me a lawsuit, I’m going to respond accordingly,” she said.
Slump has written to the local papers for years, even before she got really involved while running for city councillor in 2008. While she didn’t win a seat on council, she did learn a lot in the process and hasn’t become any less involved in her community since.
“Regardless of whether you stand for or against an issue is not important,” she said. It’s all about being engaged.
“Democracy is very reliable on dialogue and we have a lot of dialogue in our community,” she said. “Democracy is very healthy in Penticton.”
She does recognize that it’s hard for a lot of people to be involved because life gets in the way. Now that she’s retired, Slump has more time to dedicate to her writing and community involvement.
And don’t doubt for a second that she’ll stop being outspoken about political and community issues—she’s already had two letters published in local papers, issued a list of changes she wants to see under the next city council, and had a fundraiser held in her name, the proceeds of which went to local charities.
“I can say what I think and anyone that wants to disagree with me, they can do that,” she said. “It’s what brings the issues to the forefront and makes our city better (that matters).”
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