Sebastian: "It's fair game for people to say they're disappointed with your decisions."

Bill Bennett's New Democrat challenger says the East Kootenay Liberal legislator, "really needs to understand he's there to represent all his constituents and to listen to them and not to attack anyone who has a different point of view." Troy Sebastian made the comments after Public Eye exclusively revealed the tourism, sport and the arts minister had described a tourism operator in his constituency as having "bigoted" and "ignorant" opinions. This, after the operator wrote an email criticizing Minister Bennett for talking more about coalbed methane development than the tourism industry.

"It's clear that the tone of the response is an attack and really defensive," said Mr. Sebastian. "People in the community deserve to know they can approach their local MLA without being publicly attacked or humiliated. And that's one of the main reasons I'm running in this campaign."

"You're always in public life going to be faced with challenges when you make a decision or government takes a certain approach. And there's people who are going to be your constituents who are not going to be in favour of that or who are going to be critical. And that's just part of the job," he continued. "It's fair game for people to say they're disappointed with your decisions. You may disagree with them as a representative. But the way to deal with that is to deal with that with respect and not the way Bill has."

5 Comments

It’s fair game to criticize Bill Bennett’s style if you’re put off by someone who brings all his passion to his work. But I’ve never seen any evidence that he is not fully committed to advancing tourism in the province. My experience working with Bill on the creation of commercial resorts is that he gets attacked precisely for trying to create pubic benefit from resort development. It’s a challenge for any minister speaking in his or her own riding to know whether to focus on ministerial business or constituency issues. At worst, he misread the Fernie audience's particular interest this time.

Bill Bennett was completely out of line with this e-mail. And worst of all he is not at all apologetic about the completely libelous statements he has made about one of BC's top cat-skiing operations and local organizations.

Sure Bill has done alot of stuff.. thats what you get to do when your a minister.. pose for pictures. Could have been anyone else. And anyone else would have had respect for their constituents and not wrote sissy fit e-mails like a teenage girl.

As a lifetime resident of the east kootenays I cannot wait for Bill Bennett's forced retirement on May 12th.

"at worst, he misread the Fernie audience's particular interest this time"?

I certainly think this Minister's behavior goes way beyond that. First he insults and accuses of libel a constituent who simply felt his work has been lacking in one particular field. Secondly, he was preoccupied with what appears to be a paranoid delusion that another group of constituents was out to lay a trap for him, which does not seem to be the case.

Clearly, here is a Minister from a government who views citizens with legitimate concerns as enemies of his government. Minister Bennett and his crew are starting to sound an awful lot like George Bush in his final months.

It was a Chamber Director who tried to discredit Mr. Bennett without basis with other members of the business community.

As a member of the Fernie business community - it is very distressing to have a Chamber rep act in this way.

Mr. Bennett has worked very hard to help our community.

Wildsight acts very political in Fernie...

I am happy to see in his comments that their rep Ryland Nelson acknowledges Bill has done lots for the community.

What is really "distressing" is the chamber director who broke the trust of the board and forwarded the e-mail thread to Bill Bennett. So much for trust on the Fernie Chamber of Commerce board now.

Sure Bill has done a few good things for our riding, like trying (only after immense pressure) to keep energy development out of the Flathead, but this behavior is not acceptable for someone who is supposed to be representing us.

And how about this quote where he discredits the entire community of Fernie.

"I've been hearing that Fernie’s got all this potential. And I've been saying it myself for eight years as an MLA. And I've been hearing it for longer then that. The problem is, we're not seeing anything - it's just all talk."

and your still standing up for him?

P.S. - I do work as a part time contractor for wildsight, which is a non-partisan organization. But I am free to do what I want on my free-time, including posting online here as a regular citizen. Not a wildsight rep.

Or working to get Troy Sebastian Elected as someone who will represent our great little corner of BC with some respect and dignity - http://troysebastian.bcndp.ca

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