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JONESIE: What do Christy Clark, floods, suicide and fireworks have in common? Absolutely nothing

June 23, 2017 - 1:12 PM

 


OPINION


A few random thoughts on the first Friday of summer:

*

Oh, Christy.

I honestly thought she would pull this out. All Premier Clark had to do was walk into the legislature, throw down a gauntlet that lets the province know where the free market party in this province stands, then sit back and let the GreeNDP take over power from her minority and give voters their first taste of NDP government in sixteen years. Then they get to pick a flavour to criticize: raised taxes, Say No To Everything, goodies handed out to unions or protests everywhere. Clark could wait for the right moment to force another election.

What Christy Clark did yesterday, June 22, was hands down the worst strategy imaginable. She moved the Liberals to the left, adopting NDP campaign promises she and her party blasted in the last campaign and for years before. Now when the NDP takes over, how can she criticize their brand of legislation with any credibility? What alternative can she offer?

It appears the only way the Liberals get back into power is without her. That probably had to happen anyway, but she has squandered a real opportunity to remain as leader and premier. I am sure the B.C. Conservatives, if they weren’t such a mess, are licking their chops at another election call.

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In the old days, pre-social media, mass communication like news was in the hands of a privileged few who at least ostensibly wielded that power responsibly. There was no fake news, facts were checked, we had far less insight and more faith in our fellow citizens when they didn't comment on everything at any time — and we wrote about suicide with great care.

It's called suicide contagion and if you want to help prevent suicide, it's definitely worth understanding. Google it.

Yes, please, let’s talk about mental health. But for heaven’s sake, use a little caution in how you talk on social media about people who have committed suicide. It’s a whole different animal. I’m lookin’ at you Penticton Canadian Mental Health Association.

*

Kelowna opted to not hold fireworks for Canada Day this year. They said the water level on Okanagan Lake is still high, City Park beaches are a mess, power is still off and washrooms are closed.

Honestly, so what? The City of Kelowna and Festivals Kelowna threw up their hands and said we can’t do it and postponed it to Random Day in August and that’s a shame. You’re telling me that Mayor Colin Basran, with all his popularity, couldn’t recognize and declare our need for a community event to kick off the Okanagan summer in the face of this two-month flood watch hiatus on everything, call for and raise an army of pink-shirted volunteers in City Park, scrounge up a fleet of port-a-potties and generators, change expectations for revellers and make this a Kelowna-Can’t-Be-Beaten-Down hallmark moment?

Think of the provincial and national news stories on Kelowna resilience and signalling to the country that we are indeed open for tourism business.

*

Speaking of flooding, now that the immediate threat has subsided, I hope provincial and local authorities can put their heads together about how to better handle emergencies like this that cross jurisdictions.

Fires we’re good at; floods not so much. Not to take away from the amazing work of the various emergency operations centres who got us through another emergency with minimal impact, but some of the information coming out was just a hot mess.

At various times, we had one jurisdiction telling us water was subsiding two weeks before it did, another jurisdiction telling us all flood waters were dangerous and no one else willing to qualify that statement, general confusion about boats on the water, then the province telling us sandbags are one step below hazardous materials and others saying they are just fine. I don't know how to fix it, but I know what it looks like: Confusing. And it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the people we need to be able to trust to get it right. 

If there was a hero to emerge from the whole thing, for me at least, it was poor Shaun Reimer. He’s the guy at the south end of Okanagan lake with his fingers on the dam, the guy getting pilloried on the daily for not letting more water out when he had the chance. He appears to have been upfront and forthright about his job, the data and tea leaves he uses to determine how much water to let out as well as the exceptional circumstances of this year.

I’m not educated enough in this technical field to say if he did anything wrong or anything right and neither are you. But I do know character when I see it. In an age when it seems everyone runs from accountability, that man deserves a statue.

— Marshall Jones is the editor of iNFOnews.ca

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
InfoTel News Ltd

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