Society for political anachronisms?

Corky Evans, one of the provincial New Democrat's most prominent members, is giving thought to not running in the next election. In an interview with Public Eye, Mr. Evans said an old friend of his in Slocan recently reminded him that "the next generation of leadership is now the same age that we were when our generation took over this party." And that he should "leave early enough that the next generation fills the vacuum - even if we were to lose the constituency."

Moreover, Mr. Evans said, "I no longer fit with the technology of the times. I came into public life when it was an oral job. And when the written word was required it was the written word and I wrote it and I said it. And, for 20 years off and on, I've come here and never spoken words written by somebody else."

Continued the former party leadership candidate and cabinet minister, "I have tremendous pride in that although it's nothing anybody else would give a damn about. But anyway, it's no longer an oral job. And it's no longer a written job. It is now an electronic job. And discourse is irrelevant and your words are assumed to be written by somebody else and they're assumed to be sterile so that you can't get anybody in trouble...And I'm not sure if I continue to serve that I won't fall even further behind in acceptable behaviour."

But he said there are a number of reasons why he would run again. "One is two years into it I still feel like a failure at finding a way to articulate to the people of British Columbia in the midst of economic boom why this is the worst government in the history of B.C. and a sell-out of everything that Social Credit and the NDP ever built." As a result, "often I think I've got to run again because to leave without figuring out how to tell that story so regular people can understand it constitutes failure in my life's work here - in my favourite job."

Mr. Evans also says financial considerations might also influence his decision to seek another term in office - a decision he'll make sometime this spring. The following is an edited transcript of his remarks.

***

Mr. Evans Firstly, on the side of yes I should run again, there's a couple of things. One is two years into it I still feel like a failure at finding a way to articulate to the people of British Columbia in the midst of economic boom why this is the worst government in the history of B.C. and a sell-out of everything that Social Credit and the NDP ever built. It eludes me to tell what I think is a very simple story which is that selling the farm and living on the cash of the sale is a false economy.

Historically, people tried to make the farm pay. They ran the railroad, they ran the ports, they logged the trees, they fished the fish and governments would rise and fall according to the price of fish and trees and their managerial capacity to run the farm. At present, we're selling the farm and passing out the largess. And everyone is going, "Wow, look at all the cool money." And they think it's going well. But back to your question, often I think I've got to run again because to leave without figuring out how to tell that story so regular people can understand it constitutes failure in my life's work here - in my favourite job.

A second answer to why I might run again is much more pedestrian and almost embarrassing. As you know, the committee that redesigned the pension said you have to be 65 to collect the thing. And, if you quit before that, there's a year-by-year penalty. And, at the time of the next election, I'll be 61 years old. Bill Bennett, remember, when he ran said, "I'll run for ten years." And when ten years was up he said, "I told you so" and walked out the door. I think this is like, using a sports analogy, being a linebacker. Your knees give out and you're not expected to stay till your 65. But the committee didn't agree. They saw this like working in the sawmill and you should hang-in there. And I don't know if I can live without a cash flow because I'm not 65.

Now on the side of quitting, my arguments for quitting, a very wise New Democrat and dear old friend who lives in my community in Slocan said to me a few months ago, "You know Cork, the next generation of leadership is now the same age that we were when our generation took over this party and essentially upset the older people by a whole bunch of 30 year olds taking it over and nominating a candidate and beating their candidate." And that was me. And it was a big fight. There was 1,000 members. And the party where I live was rejuvenated by the struggle. And then those people who then were 30 have followed along and been the energy source for the NDP in Nelson-Creston ever since and, even today, constitute the majority of the executive. And she said, "You gotta leave early enough that the next generation fills the vacuum - even if we were to lose the constituency." And I did lose the first time. In 1986, I lost to Howard Dirks.

And what Rita was saying to me is, "It's not a question of we need you to win. It's better to lose and have the younger people take over then to have you stay too long at the dance." And, boy, I think that's a cogent argument - a really strong argument. And I wish she had been speaking to the pension commission so she would have heard the importance of not staying too long...

I guess there's one other thing I'll say to you just because it's interesting. I no longer fit with the technology of the times. I came into public life when it was an oral job. And when the written word was required it was the written word and I wrote it and I said it. And, for 20 years off and on, I've come here and never spoken words written by somebody else. I have tremendous pride in that although it's nothing anybody else would give a damn about. But anyway, it's no longer an oral job. And it's no longer a written job. It is now an electronic job. And discourse is irrelevant and your words are assumed to be written by somebody else and they're assumed to be sterile so that you can't get anybody in trouble. And it's immediate.

It used to be that a problem would come to you - as MLA or as a minister or something. And you'd talk to all the people and try to figure out what was right and see if you could sort it out and put some things together and go try something. Now it's electronic and people think that you should know the correct answer to an issue in ten seconds of it being put before them. And your profession is equally guilty. You figure out something that I don't know anything about and never heard of, put a microphone in front of my face and say, "What you going to do about x?" And if I say, "Never heard of it" you just look stupid. And if you give an answer, you're committed to that answer forever. And I don't want to sound like I think there was a good ol' days. But I am part of a generation that pre-dates electronic communication. And I'm not sure if I continue to serve that I won't fall even further behind in acceptable behaviour.

8 Comments

Corky is brilliant and it is a damn shame that Carole James and Company don't let him do his job. Let Corky be Corky. No wonder he doesn't want to run again. I wouldn't either if I was forced to take orders from Carole and Co.

It seems that Corky wants to go, but since the pension doesn't kick in for awhile he might stay. Up till now there wasn't a pension to rely on, yet he ran and did his best. The ALR sell out by Gordon to the Tsawassen and the fact his leader jumped right on the bandwagon probrably has more of a reason to go. Lets not forget the pay increased every year. the RRSP money did as well. and there is always horse logging, if Gordo doesn't sell all the trees.

Corky Evans was the first person to tell me,

the space in between the benches

is 3-sword lengths...!

ie: there'd be enough room between
"ruling-party & opposition-party" swords,

that the speaker of the house, can walk safly between the 2 parties...!

3 swords...?

who would have thunk that,
WITH-OUT OUR ELDERS TELLING US THAT...?

WITHOUT THEM , WE LOSE THE HISTORICAL NATURE OF THE OF THE BUILDINGS DESIGN ...!

(not just architechure, but a political structure)

Corky told us about the sword thing,
while debate-ing about the distruction of "filer-bustering" ,,,

ya , filer-bustering is now dead ,
and there'll be NO ALL NIGHT sittings....!

Actully parlement closes when it ends
5:30-6pm...

(ie: fixed hours , NO EXTENTIONS TO IT )


--------- read it for your-self ---------

Look for this # 5502
(like scroll down on the hansard-website)

on this website:

http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/38th3rd/h70222p.htm#5501

------- and/or look for this text above --------

This whole building was invented for the idea of a government and an opposition.

You may not know this, folks,

but the space between the people sitting over there

and the people sitting over here

is really carefully worked out to be two sword-lengths.

I could sit right there and swing a sword, and the hon. minister on the other side could swing a sword,

and there's a third sword-length in between
so that the Speaker can go up and down.

That's so that in the olden days,
we could be fighting with each other,

but the Speaker could walk between….


That's because this is not a place to "root power".

It's a place to discuss whether or "not" how we exercise power is legitimate ,

or crooked,
or wise or stupid,

and it takes two parts.

[ Page 5502 ]

Interjection.

C. Evans: Five more minutes? You want me to explain Magna Carta to the modern time in five more minutes?


--- hello Sean,

the guy is like soc-ret-teez

(sorry for my poor spelling)

but the guy is sooo sec-cret-able,
he should/could be a senitor...


Please Corkey,

remind those "youth"
of the struggles that happened before you,

the struggles that got us to where we're are at now...!


Some-body should remind them,
(or we'll repeat the mistakes of the past)


Sean, you should have asked Corky
about the "Old-Guard" he replaced ,,,

like what was their influance ON HIM ...?
(a young Corky Evans )...?

and don't / didn't we see that some-how reflected in his actions as MLA...?

ted...

Ps, listen to the audio~video version of his speach,

Hansard doesn't do it justice

(or is that just-us )...?

check it out,
AND then think about the work that you do.

>>> ted...

hey, I knew if stayed up long enough,
(2am)

I'd come up with a video/audio link
to the past...!

in fact ,

the stuff I said Corky said...

-- try these links to hear & see for your self --

(ie: they should work on your computer)

http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/38th3rd/h70222p.htm#5501

scroll down to 1700 on the right-hand side
>>>

when the video starts ...?

slide the little bar to 2:59
( madam speaker will introduce Corky )

ted... (enjoy)

Just what we need in BC, a politician wanting to stay in office because he needs the money! … This is the state of the NDP?… forget about the passion of serving your community, constituents or BC… no, Corky may have to run again because he needs the pay check… what a sad state of affairs.

Corky should stay.
He honestly says what others may think.
He is concerned about and deeply knowledgeable about real issues (agriculture, forestry. etc.) which are not understood by most other MLAs.
His age is no disqualifier -- at 60, he's a young thing compared with many British Columbians. He certainly exhibits more intellectual acuity (to say nothing of sincere concerns and humour) than any 10 other MLAs (of either party) combined.
The only sort of younger MLAs we want are those who fight and work for a place, don't wait for the seniors to leave the field.

The Cork-man has gotta stay. This party has such a dirth of leadership right now. Then again, that's probably why he's leaving.

I find it troubling that Corky Evan's future as one of BC's most outstanding MLA's in the last twenty years, depends on whether he should stay a little longer or leave now, based partly on surviving financially, until his pension kicks in at age 65. I still ponder how different things might be today, had Corky Evans been afforded the opportunity to address and articulate his many leadership qualities and plans as Premier of British Columbia.

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