In the recent election, provincial Liberal East Kootenay legislator Bill Bennett took fire from the First Nations community for running a campaign advertisement encouraging constituents to vote for "someone who pays taxes and is concerned about how that money is being spent." The tourism, culture and arts minister has said that wasn't a shot at his New Democrat competitor Troy Sebastian, a member of the Ktunaxa First Nation. Nevertheless, there's some who wonder whether the controversy surrounding that advertisement means the MLA's days at the cabinet table are numbered. Asked about the matter, First Nations Summit Grand Chief Edward John told Public Eye, "Well, I'm sure the premier will take into account those pretty oblique words in the advertisements in making his selections."
"It's a question of judgement on (Minister Bennett's) part. And it's a question of judgement on the premier's part as well," Grand Chief John continued. "And I guess we're going to have to wait and see. To me, it's a matter of judgement from all kinds of places."
"He was the minister responsible for tourism, culture and the arts. So I would think you wouldn't want to appoint somebody like to a position where there's already a bit of a cloud from the aboriginal community on matters that would directly impact on aboriginal peoples."
"But, again, as I say, it's a question of judgement. What's the premier going to do? He's going to have to create some balance between the urban centres and the rural areas. So if I was the premier I'd be challenged with this one."