Fishing for quotes

This morning, Newton-North Delta streets are streaming with crocodile tears. Local Tories are simply overwhelmed by the news that former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum botched his bid to run for the Conservative candidacy in that constituency. After all, Mr. McCallum lost his civic seat by 10,423 votes. So there was some question as to whether he could hold that riding for the Tories. And his political fortunes are still clouded by questions concerning how he handled a series of sexual harassment complaints at city hall. But, according to a review of press clippings by your humble organ, the man who will be running in that constituency for the Conservatives - fisheries activist Phil Eidsvik - is not without some of his own baggage.

As executive director of the British Columbia Fisheries Survival Coalition, Mr. Eidsvik has been lobbying and protesting against expanded commercial fisheries for aboriginal peoples since the early nineties. In the past, he has described such fisheries as being "foul and offensive," "race-based" and even "evil." And his coalition was an early advocate for putting First Nations treaties to a refrendum. Back in September 1999, the group wrote to British Columbia municipalities asking them put the following question on their local election ballots: "Do you support the Nisga'a final agreement as it stands today?" All this will be surely trotted out by the Liberals as further proof Tory leader Stephen Harper is opposed to First Nations rights.

Also part of Mr. Eidsvik's luggage: in a column published in September 2000, The Vancouver Sun's Barbara Yaffe reported New Brunswick fisherman were threatening vigalantism if the government didn't remove aboriginal lobster traps that had been set in defiance of federal regulations. In that column, Ms. Yaffe wrote Mr. Eidsvik "admired" those fishermen "for making it crystal clear that if the native traps weren't hauled out of the water pronto, they'd do it themselves." And she quoted him as saying "The government responds much better to violence and confrontation than to political process and use of the courts."

And what will the law and order fans in Mr. Eidsvik's constituency think when they remember his coalition violated the Election Act to distribute brochures opposing the Nisga'a agreement? Back in the 1996 provincial campaign, third parties were restricted from spending more than $5,000 on advertisements. But the coalition blew that budget by about $25,000 and was fined $220,481 as a result. That fine was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, which ruled such restrictions were an unwarranted limitation on free speech. A version of this article was originally published in today's edition of 24 hours.

10 Comments

By "fishing advocates" do you mean, no aboriginal treaty/contract rights? That will be the question put to the media by the aboriginal community... and the consequential racist charge for not respecting treaty/contracts might surface.

The CPC has a very rocky relationship with aboriginal communities so it would not take much to spark serious confrontation over "fishing advocate" candidates.

With Phik joining and with John Cummins seeking re-election, the Tories will be chanting: Ein Fish, Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer!

Doug would be best off just sitting at home for awhile. The seat is certainly not a Tory lock and his opponents would have a field day with the allegations of how he mishandled the sexual harassment suit.

Phishin' Phil's comments won't haunt him. Warts at best. It'll be a fight for the Indo-Canadian vote.

Interesting though......

One must believe that the ex Mayor of Surrey has a poor bunch of handlers. Who wants a MP who can't get filed in time. It's not a big secret how the process works.
If the voters want the fish guy , well that's up to them

My favorite quote from Eidsvik is when he called the Nisga'a Treaty was "the worst kind of Alabama-style racism".

And here I thought that lynchings were the forst kind of Alambama-sytle rascism. Oh well, what do I know.

This now gives the Conservatives a triumvirate of anti-native, anti-treaty types. John Weston in West Vancouver, who proudly talks about his anti-Nisga'a stance and Mike Scott in Skeena.

Could they be any father out of touch? There is so much potential for historic break throughs on the treaty front right now. It would be a tremendous shame if all of the current momentum was lost by electing Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

Mr. Eidsvik's crusade against native fishing ignores Aboriginal rights that have been clearly confirmed by the courts; just as Mr. Harper has indicated his willingness to over-rule the Charter in banning gay marriage.

In both cases, these positions illustrate a frightening willingness to over-ride fundamental rights of Canadian minorities. In Eidsvik's case, refusing to acknowledge and resolve Aboriginal rights issues only prolongs the inevitable and enhances the kind of uncertainty that discourages investment in BC.

You've got to wonder if these people are paid Liberal plants -- Paul Martin & co must be chortling with glee!

One more reason why I am not a Conservative supporter. I am not exactly a Doug McCallum fan, but he was a moderate centre-right type guy who could appeal to moderate voters, whereas Phil Eidsvik is clearly one of the old hard-line Reformers. His views on Natives I think should be of major concern to many. Those planning to vote Conservative should look at their local candidate first before voting Conservative. Unlike down East, unfortunately a large chunk of Conservative candidates have very right wing views that I don't think most British Columbians support, yet many of them may get in through the back door.

Isn't this old news? You were reporting on this a few days ago.

I wonder if Doug McCallum's denial to run was a deliberate attempt by Stephen Harper or someone from his office to keep moderates like McCallum out and let hardcore Reformers in. Harper has had a history of meddling in local ridings and almost always on the side of the most right wing nominee. His views on Natives is representative of the fact a large chunk of the old Reform element is still left, which needs to go if the party is ever to form government or ever get my vote.

"...when they remember his coalition violated the Election Act... That fine was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court of British Columbia, which ruled such restrictions were an unwarranted limitation on free speech."

Then I guess they didn't violate the Act, since (the section of) the Act (they were alleged to have violated) was declared to be ultra vires, eh bright eyes?

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