An extra entry fee

The British Columbia Federation of Labour bused 1,500 protesters to the provincial Liberal's last biennial convention. But, this time around, there's just one demonstrator: cowboy-hat wearing Summerland resident Roy Roope, who has been patrolling the entrance to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. The reason: like it says on his sign, Mr. Roope believes the toll on the Coquihalla Highway is an "Illegal Gov't Ripoff!" Explained the retiree, who was sporting a ski jacket and woolen gloves to fend of the bitter weather, "The Coquihalla toll is not fair to the Okanagan-Thompson people. It's the only toll highway in B.C. It should have been ended decades ago. It was intended to cover accelerated costs only. And that has long since been paid - long since been paid. As a matter of fact, we're at least approaching payment of the highway in full."

Asked what the reaction from Liberals has been to his protest, Mr. Roope, 69, said "Just about none. They read the sign but look away as soon as they do the take. Some are a little bit rude - middle digit, snooty comments" - including one from a party member who said all the highways in British Columbia would soon have tolls. But "most are a studied mask. They don't want to show anything. However one guy did offer to get me a cup of coffee."

But coffee or not, "as long as I can take the cold and there's people here," Mr. Roope says he'll continue his demonstration. "I'll break for lunch. But if I can take the cold I'll be here. I'll be here tomorrow too."

5 Comments

The real news from this convention was the surprising, unqualified and unreserved call for "Four More Years" that was issued by Penticton Band Chief Stewart Phillip, a long time enemy of the BC Treaty process.

I think the real key to this miraculous conversion can be found in the very last paragraph of the following CBC news account, where the Federal Conservative Govt is mentioned. I am only speculating, but I believe Chief Phillip was likely thinking of "Voting Strategically", and of thinking, rather like the Georgia Straight's Terry Glavin, that the stakes are so high that only across the board support for the Liberal label at all levels of government can serve the interests of Native leaders and administrators at this time.

No doubt BC Liberals, and friendly pundits like Glavin, will trumpet this development and put in the added twists about Carol James partly Aboriginal origins, and call her a weak leader for not being able to keep Aboriginal political bosses like Phillip onside.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2006/11/03/bc-campbell-philip.html

Ringing endorsement for Campbell from former foe

Last Updated: Friday, November 3, 2006 | 6:01 PM PT

CBC News

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell has been given a surprising endorsement by a former bitter adversary in the aboriginal community.

Making the opening address at the B.C. Liberal convention in Penticton on Friday, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he hopes the premier is elected for a third term in the 2009 provincial election.

Phillip said he never thought he'd see the day he would deliver the opening remarks at a Liberal convention, but added he's seen an "incredible change" in Campbell, one that speaks well for the future of the province.
It's also a major change for Phillip, as he acknowledged. He told reporters he is a traditional NDP supporter.

He noted that less than five years ago, his relationship with the Campbell government was "adversarial, if not poisonous" because of the Liberals' controversial treaty referendum. But he said that all began to change when Campbell approached First Nations leaders to build what he calls his "new relationship."

The premier says he's humbled by the endorsement, but noted there's still a lot of work to do to improve the lives of aboriginal people in B.C.

Challenged Nisga'a Treaty

While in opposition, Campbell and two senior MLAs who went on to become cabinet ministers had gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the historic Nisga'a Treaty, signed by the previous NDP government. The treaty gave self-government to the Nisga'a people of northwestern B.C.

However, the legal challenge was unsuccessful, and the three Liberals appealed. They dropped their appeal after Campbell won the 2001 election and formed the government.

Referendum created divisions

Then, in 2002, the Campbell government sparked widespread anger and protests with its controversial treaty referendum that created a split with First Nations.

The government had said during the 2001 election campaign that it would give residents of British Columbia a voice in the treaty process. But First Nations leaders, churches, unions and other community groups called the plebiscite "stupid," "immoral" and "racist." Only about a third of British Columbians returned their mail-in ballots, while many others burned them or turned them over to First Nations groups.

After that, the government moved away from its hard line, and began signing agreements-in-principle offering self-government and a share of resources on traditional lands. Campbell then became a strong supporter of last year's Kelowna Accord, that involved a $5-billion commitment by the previous Paul Martin Liberal government to improve the lives of Canada's aboriginal peoples.

The new Conservative government is not following through with the agreement, and has been strongly criticized for those actions by the B.C. premier.

Keep fighting the good fight Mr. Roope. Let them know that we are watching.........If we as tax payers conducted our tax returns the way the government conduct there money.....we would all be in jail.

The chief is switching horses. As mentioned he was dead against the treaty process and told every one on many occasions. He lives to badmouth folks. 70 percent of BC Indians are in the treaty process. He isn't. He complained about Campbell quite a lot. he didn't like the Nisga'a treaty either. Maybe he figures Gordon will give him a job? Maybe his position in the Interior Indian group is up for a vote before too long? Maybe he will attempt to run for the BC Liberals. why wasn't he vocal when a Locatee in Penticton evicted all the non Indian residents who had been on land set aside for years? Made all Indian Locatees with developments look bad.Who knows, and of course who really cares?

Sorry Budd, but I just cannot believe anyone would call Carole James “a weak leader for not being able to keep Aboriginal political bosses like Phillip onside” who would possibly suggest something so ridiculous ?

... who would possibly suggest something so ridiculous ?

Posted by Kevin Larsen on November 4, 2006

My guess? The Georgia Straight's Terry Glavin.

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