Vancouver-Kingsway candidate Salomon Rayek hasn't made many headlines prior to running for the federal Conservatives. But he has penned a number of letters to the editor on some of the province's most controversial issues. Commenting on the signing of the Tsawwasen Final Agreement in Ottawa by Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl - along with provincial counterpart Mike De Jong and Chief Kim Baird - Mr. Rayek wrote in The Delta Optimist that he was "hard pressed to understand all the celebration surrounding one of the most ominous legal agreements ever undertaken in this country." Mr. Rayek has also opposed Insite, telling Burnaby Now readers that injection site supporters aim to "legalize hard drugs and get rid of law enforcement."
And he protested parliamentarian Raymond Chan's distribution of a "self-aggrandizing newsletter filled with the usual rhetoric", questioning whether it should have "been paid for by the supporters of the Liberal Party" rather than taxpayers." This, coming from a member of party whose parliamentarians recently distributed taxpayer-funded flyers that a "majority of Canadians the text you think are unacceptable because it acts as campaign material." The following is a complete copy of those letters.
Re: Treaty signed in Ottawa, Dec. 8
I am hard pressed to understand all the celebration surrounding one of the most ominous legal agreements ever undertaken in this country, the Tsawwassen Final Agreement.
The government seems to be intent on completing the Gateway Program at any price, with the only possible obstacle being the Tsawwassen First Nation, effectively sandwiched in the centre of the development.
The TFN was offered a deal so lucrative it couldn't possibly say no, and the "yes" vote was further bought with a $15,000 signing bonus just to sweeten the deal and ensure the "right" result was achieved.
Notably excluded from any consideration in the proceedings, and not holding any sort of winning ticket in this lottery-like settlement, were non-native residents now caught within the confines of what amounts to a separate country operating inside Canada.
These people, as a result of this treaty, are effectively stripped of their democratic right to vote in local municipal elections, and will instead be subjected to the dictated terms of a separate government they are excluded direct participation in.
Non-native residents have effectively lost their voice and we, as a society, have taken a very dangerous stride into murky waters as a result.
This treaty will be unavoidably a precedent for other agreements. Any community with an aboriginal claim should worry about what just happened here.
Treaties are supposed to find closure, however this agreement is a patch, with one historic wrong being substituted for another. It's destined to become equally legendary in its error, in which Canadians everywhere will pay the price.
We are courting future social, legal and economic disaster as a result of this incredibly shortsighted agreement, and the prospect of many, many more such impossible agreements with unfathomable costs and inconceivable consequences loom on the horizon.
It's the morning after the party now, and it's time for us to come to our senses before it's too late.
Re: Take ideology out of decisions, Burnaby NOW, May 7, and Opposition is not just 'ideology', Burnaby NOW, May 10.
Mr. Keith Baldrey correctly notes that the Insite supervised injection site has been allowed to exist only because of an exemption from a federal law.
His suggestion that this facility be transferred to provincial jurisdiction is laughable, because the criminal law is indeed federal.
If the exemption is extended yet again, then we will see a push for opening additional facilities and for more exemptions.
Multiple and indefinite exemptions will eventually nullify the law.
So why have that law in the first place?
Doing away with the law is exactly what Mr. Baldrey and his "gang" (to borrow from his lexicon) of ideologically driven friends want to accomplish.
Their aim is to legalize hard drugs and get rid of law enforcement.
Dr. Colin Mangham points out that "drug overdose deaths have actually increased in Vancouver and Downtown Eastside since Insite was initiated," but we should worry not only about the overdoses.
It may surprise Mr. Baldrey, but the routine doses administered at Insite will eventually destroy the addict's health and life.
If this is harm reduction, then it is an Orwellian world that we are living in.
Facilitating injection drug use is as counterproductive as giving drinks to alcoholics or cigarettes to smokers.
I agree with Dr. Mangham that the funds that are used for Insite could instead be used more effectively.
Additional detox centres would provide a real harm reduction. Treatment for drug addiction must be available to every addict as soon as he or she requests it.
MP Raymond Chan celebrated April Fool's Day with his constituents this year by sending them a huge, self-aggrandizing newsletter filled with the usual rhetoric.
Mr. Chan poses with various personalities, including a prominent environmentalist, on an oversized sheet of heavy paper. Estimating the number of households receiving this to be in excess of 60,000, Chan's recent newsletter would weigh 1.5 tonnes and if laid end to end would reach 35 kilometres.
Based on this, if all Chan's newsletters had consistently been printed in this format since first being elected in 1993, this Liberal "environmentalist" would have had to clear-cut the rest of Stanley Park in order to produce enough paper to waste. And yet, he has the audacity to present himself as one concerned about the protection of the environment, conserving resources, and reducing waste, as outlined in the Liberals' agenda of Phase One of Project Green (page 4).
My favourite part of Chan's newsletter was the dramatically lit photo of him standing on the Garden City lands. After forgetting to include the key stakeholder in the process, (the Agricultural Land Commission), the much-touted plans that Chan "championed" (along with the city) were squashed like a bug because nobody bothered to consult with the deciding body, the ALC, till the very end, when the ALC said "no!" So, the photo of Chan proudly standing in the middle of an area that remains unresolved and failed in its negotiations, trumpeting it as some sort of triumph, and no further ahead than it was years ago, is absolutely laughable to me
But lastly, what I find most intriguing is the question if Stephane Dion and Raymond Chan are so green, why have they wasted so many trees to produce this piece of propaganda? Why are taxpayers forced to pay twice -- monetarily and environmentally? Should it not have been paid for by the supporters of the Liberal Party, assuming there are any left...