Larson takes dig at Ross for her children born out of B.C. as candidates read talking points at forum

By on March 28, 2017
B.C. Liberal candidate Linda Larson (left), the incumbent MLA, reads from talking points while NDP candidate Colleen Ross listens and waits for her turn to speak. (Richard McGuire photo)

B.C. Liberal candidate Linda Larson (left), the incumbent MLA, reads from talking points while NDP candidate Colleen Ross listens and waits for her turn to speak. (Richard McGuire photo)

B.C. Liberal candidate Linda Larson, the incumbent MLA, suggested her NDP opponent is an outsider in one of the few exchanges that drew emotions at an all-candidates forum in Osoyoos Thursday night.

Larson said she’s lived in the South Okanagan for 28 years and then added: “Unlike Ms. Ross, my children and grandchildren were born in B.C. and live and work and were educated in B.C.”

The comment was a clear dig at Ross, who lived most of her life in Ontario and Australia, and has only lived near Grand Forks for the past five years where she farms. Prior to that, she lived about two years in Nelson.

Although Larson made the dig in her opening remarks, Ross waited until the last question of the night to respond.

“I’ve lived in rural communities all my life,” she said. “To say I’m not from here and my children weren’t born here is actually not very friendly. How many people weren’t born here, aren’t from here or children weren’t born here?” she asked the audience.

“That is not very welcoming,” Ross continued. “We are supposed to live in a welcoming community. I decided to move here. I love it here. I bought a farm here and I will advocate for you… I will advocate for all people who live in this constituency.”

According to the 2011 National Household Survey taken at the time of the census, three in five residents of Osoyoos were not born in B.C. The figures on place of birth have not yet been released from the 2016 census.

Figures from 2011 are not available for Oliver because not enough residents responded to the Statistics Canada survey, which wasn’t mandatory.

Much of the forum consisted of the candidates, especially Larson, reading from scripted talking points in response to written questions submitted through the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce (SOCC), which sponsored the event. Those submitting the questions were not identified.

Play audio of forum. Runs 1 h 36 m 26 s:

 

The format allowed less audience participation than a forum six days earlier at the Osoyoos Seniors’ Centre where people in the audience asked all the questions and the responses were less scripted.

Nonetheless, after all 20 pre-submitted questions, a few questions were asked from the floor.

Osoyoos residents Michael Ryan, a former Town of Osoyoos councillor, and David Smith both questioned the candidates on B.C.’s election donor laws which have few of the restrictions found in federal laws or laws in other provinces.

Smith noted that the New York Times ran a story in January under the headline: “British Columbia: The ‘Wild West’ of Canadian Political Cash.”

Larson said her government recently tabled legislation to increase transparency.

B.C. Liberals post to the internet in real time money that is donated to the party, she said.

“The B.C. NDP refuses to publish where they get their funding from,” Larson said. “If you want an example, next week (NDP Leader) John Horgan is hosting a $5,000-a-plate breakfast in Toronto with big business in order to fund his campaign. I think there are issues on both sides and I believe that reform is necessary, but I question who is being forthright and honest about where their money is coming from.”

Ross argued that the NDP has introduced bills six times to take big money out of politics altogether by banning contributions from corporations and unions. This prohibition exists in most other Canadian jurisdictions.

But the B.C. Liberals defeated the NDP bills every time, she said.

Ross noted that Elections B.C. posts a list of political donors after each election.

“The $770,000 from Kinder Morgan – I didn’t see that posted on the B.C. Liberal website,” Ross said, alleging that the company’s donation influenced the B.C. Liberal government to support the TransMountain Pipeline.

Ross said the NDP would ban donations from corporations, unions and associations as soon as it is elected. She noted that the maximum donation allowed in Quebec is just $100.

Larson said the government’s proposed legislation would establish a committee and if that committee recommended restricting donations, “it would be accepted by the government.”

Among the questions posed through the SOCC, were ones dealing with:

  • Two-tier electricity rates;
  • Temporary closure of emergency services last year at South Okanagan General Hospital (SOGH);
  • Long-term care facilities;
  • Poverty reduction;
  • Shortage of family doctors;
  • Efficiency at SOGH;
  • Impact of the 2016 census on Osoyoos policing costs;
  • Policy on minimum wages;
  • A possible program to bring in seasonal tourism workers from outside Canada;
  • The Site C dam in northeastern B.C.;
  • The proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan;
  • Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain Pipeline;
  • Funding for fish and wildlife management;
  • Co-governance of boards of education and the province;
  • Education funding;
  • Mental health and addictions services for rural students;
  • The revised curriculum;
  • Affordable housing;
  • Support for people with mental health and addictions problems;
  • Invasive mussels.

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

NDP candidate Colleen Ross makes a point at Thursday's candidate forum at the Sonora Community Centre. (Richard McGuire photo)

NDP candidate Colleen Ross makes a point at Thursday’s candidate forum at the Sonora Community Centre. (Richard McGuire photo)

Linda Larson, the B.C. Liberal candidate and incumbent MLA, listens to a question posed by a member of the audience near the end of Thursday's all-candidates forum at the Sonora Community Centre. (Richard McGuire photo)

Linda Larson, the B.C. Liberal candidate and incumbent MLA, listens to a question posed by a member of the audience near the end of Thursday’s all-candidates forum at the Sonora Community Centre. (Richard McGuire photo)

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12 Comments

  1. Ritchie Kendrick

    March 24, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    It saddens me hear our MLA, Linda Larson, attack Colleen Ross for not having roots in BC. I too did not have roots in BC when my wife and I chose to settle in the Okanagan and raise our family in 1983. We would welcome any who care to share in building our community and the opportunities it provides us all. As an outsider, whose children were also not born in BC, I am very happy and proud that my family has thrived and contributed to growing our community and we are proud to call this corner of BC home and that includes my children and grandchildren. Perhaps Ms. Larson is not aware of the contribution outsiders like myself have made to the growth and diversity of the South Okanagan. New blood and new ideas create economic growth, investment and opportunity. I welcome Colleen and all others who, over the years, have chosen our region to lay down roots and call it home.

  2. Bev

    March 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    This is so true, It does not matter where your roots are. It matters what you bring to the table. Being an outsider may and many times does give one a different perspective. And believe me Linda Larson, that is not always a bad thing.

  3. Martha Collins

    March 29, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Ms. Larson truly does not understand the demographics of her riding. How offensive her remarks are that Ms. Ross’ children were not born here. Ms. Ross chose to live her life and farm in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Why should choosing carry less weight than birth that can be accidental at times? I chose to move here from Ontario and have called Osoyoos home since 2005. I am not from here, so does that mean that Ms. Larson doesn’t see me as a fit constituent to represent? What about my doctor? She isn’t from here, she is from South Africa. What about about my dentist? He isn’t from here, he is from Alberta. What about all the staff at Tim’s who serve me my morning coffee and afternoon green tea? They aren’t from here, but offer profound blessings for a great day. What about my cycling coach? She isn’t from here. What about the staff who take such great care of our town? Some of them aren’t from here. Some of our teachers aren’t from here. Are all of our farmers who grow our food from here? What about the orchardists who grow fruit? Are they from here? In looking at the rich diversity of the people who have settled here, we are all from somewhere else. Having said that, the Okanagan First Nation people have been here for thousands and thousands of years and they are truly from here. So, what a misinformed and absolutely offensive comment made by a woman who does not understand community and wants our trust to represent us come this May. How very sad.

  4. Donald L

    March 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Larson…it’s time for you to pack up your toy box and move on!

  5. Ernst Ulrich Maas

    March 30, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    She lived in the South Okanagan for 28 years. Wonderful. So she’s not from Oliver either. What a daft statement, however, one does not expect much from politicians these days!

  6. Dale Chobotar

    April 1, 2017 at 8:47 am

    A far right conservative covering as a liberal. Wow. That kind of dialogue is disturbing and unacceptable. I think you might have lost some votes there, so you better write some more cheques with our money to buy a few back.

  7. Simon I

    April 8, 2017 at 8:11 am

    “My opponent has only lived in her Okanagan riding for 5 years, which is 5 years longer than my party leader has lived in hers.”

  8. Alexis Thuillier

    April 8, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Remember all the lobbying Larsen did to stop her government from forcing the schools to close? Yeah, me either!

  9. John Weir

    April 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Um, how long had Christy Clark been a resident of Point Grey when she ran there? Or Kelowna? Oh that’s right, there is one standard for Liberals and another for everyone else.

  10. Helga Vermitude

    April 8, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    How horrible! So many people in BC are born in other provinces, especially many who’ve retired and have moved here for the warmer weather.

  11. Delphine Charmley

    April 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Ms. Larsen it doesn’t matter where someone is from or how long they have lived there. They chose to settle there indicates their love and commitment for the area. Ms. Larsen needs to go she is so far out of touch from reality within her community. Ms. Larsen clearly is showing the continued self serving,self entitled arrogances that is the BC Liberals. Is that the behaviours of someone YOU want representing you. I think NOT….

  12. Doug

    April 8, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Hey Linda aka lib going down. GO rag on your premier Ms Clark. She parachuted into Kelowna last election because she lost her seat she ran in….f(****(*(g hypocrite.

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