It’s nearly the end of the season for this grove of banana trees on the Comox peninsula  /  George Le Masurier photo

The Week: Courtenay Liberals without candidate days into the Oct. 21 federal election

Sep 13, 2019 | Commentary

By George Le Masurier

UPDATE: The Liberal Party just announced their candidate at 2.48 pm today. See the story here.

Three days into the federal election campaign and the Liberal Party in the Courtenay-Alberni riding still has not chosen a candidate.

Last week, riding President Ken Richardson told Decafnation that he expected to announce their candidate early this week. But this week has come and gone. And the federal Liberals did not have a candidate as of this morning.

It’s not like they didn’t know a federal election writ would drop this fall. Everybody knew that and the other three main parties — Conservatives, NDP and the Greens — had candidates ready and already campaigning.

So, what’s going on with the federal Liberal Party?

Maybe nobody is stepping up in the riding that most people think will be a battle between incumbent Gord Johns of the NDP and Byron Horner of the Conservatives.

Or, maybe there’s a backroom deal in the works.

There’s enough ideological overlap between the provincial Liberals and the Federal Conservatives to engender suspicions of a deal. The Liberals promise not to run a federal candidate so as not to take votes from the Conservatives, giving Horner a better chance against Johns and the NDP. In turn, the Conservatives promise not to run a candidate in the next provincial election, giving the eventual BC Liberal candidate a better chance against Ronna Rae-Leonard — who only squeaked into office by a handful of votes.

But that’s delving a little too deep into conspiracy theories. Or is it? What is the alternative reason for the federal Liberals to lag so far behind?

The CBC won’t host a federal election debate focused on climate change, but a group of Comox Valley organizations have planned one for the Courtenay-Alberni riding.

The candidates forum to talk about the climate crisis and what our role is to fix it is being sponsored by the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership, Comox Valley Youth Environmental Action, Cumberland Community Forest Society, Dogwood, K’omoks First Nation, Project Watershed, Unitarian Fellowship and World Community.

(Full disclosure, I will be moderating the event)

The debate is scheduled for 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Florence Filberg Centre – Upper Conference Hall located at 411 Anderton Ave Courtenay.

Comox resident Ken McDonald warns people not to let their dogs drink water from Brooklyn Creek. He sent Decafnation a photo of the creek this week. Here’s what McDonald says:

“You will notice that the water is “sudsy.” It gets that way during a first-flush (rainfalls after a dry period). I didn’t take a water quality sample of Brooklyn Creek (just Golf creek to gather evidence), but I know that when the creek looks like that, it is very contaminated, usually with large concentrations of fecal contamination and heavy metals.

“I warned some folks walking their dogs along Brooklyn Creek to not let the dogs drink the water when it is sudsy. Most were shocked, upset and disgusted. And people wonder why the salmon population is declining. If human beings had to continually swim in the filth that they generate, our population would be declining as well.”

Speaking of water quality … who monitors the water quality at the Comox Valley’s public swimming beaches? Not Island Health. They decided to stop monitoring — if they ever did — our Valey’s beaches and shift that responsibility onto local Comox Valley governments.

Except Island Health forgot to tell the municipalities.

When Decafnation contacted them, neither Cumberland, Comox, Courtenay or the regional district knew anything about the change. But other municipalities did. Saanich, for example, is already monitoring beaches in their jurisdiction.

Maybe Island Health doesn’t think swimmers here have any cause for concern. Looking at their website, it doesn’t appear that water quality at places like Kye Bay, Goose Spit and Comox Lake have ever been monitoring. At least we couldn’t find any data.

But when most of our creeks and streams carry contaminants into the estuary, Comox Harbour and Baynes Sound, maybe we should be monitor ocean water quality. Most of the whole area has been permanently closed to shellfish harvesting, so the water quality can’t be that good.



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