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Posted: August 3, 2016

Trumping reasonable discussion

Letter to the Editor

With Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett retiring, the BC Liberal nomination process for our 2017 election has spawned some scantly informed public comparisons with the current fear filled US political debacle.

It’s too bad because our nomination process should be based on in-depth research of the candidate’s qualifications and their history of public dedication.

MLA Bennett has earned his retirement after years of creating solutions for Kootenay residents. Bill’s successor will need years of experience at all levels of government to continue Bill’s accomplishments.

For example, David Wilks is running for the nomination in Kootenay East for the BC Liberal party. Wilks has a total of 33 years of public service, serving as a Kootenay RCMP Officer, two term Mayor of Sparwood, Regional District of East Kootenay director and board chair, and our Member of Parliament for four years.

While mayor, Wilks renegotiated the Elk Valley Mine Tax Sharing Agreement with Victoria, increasing the distribution by $1.9 million and included an escalator clause in the 20-year document.

In 2014 David intervened with the Canadian Minister of Environment regarding international, Geneva-based, chemical reclassification. His actions saved the jobs at Galloway Pole Yard and six pole yards across Canada.

MP Wilks was involved in high-level talks in Ottawa regarding divestiture of the Dominion Coal Blocks east of Elko. This issue has the potential for significant progressive impacts on Ktunaxa treaty negotiations by balancing both environmental and employment issues.

With his intimate knowledge of this file, as MLA, Wilks could continue his efforts to bring positive resolution for Kootenay residents.

As other candidates may come forward offering their names in the nomination process, I trust Kootenay residents won’t be distracted by the political circus in the US, or references and comparisons to it here at home.

Jim Abbott,


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