Two years of spearheading the local movement to end the hated HST led Kathryn Askew to a personal conclusion.
“We have had really arrogant, dishonest government in the Liberals and it has to end,” she says. “Offering my time and energy to the NDP as a nominee for MLA is the most effective thing I can do to make that happen.
“Whatever the HST referendum result, I am committed to helping people feel that government is listening to voters,” she said. “People all over the Comox Valley have told me they are fed up with the Liberals’ lack of respect for ordinary people.”
She noted that local Liberal MLA Don McRae characterized HST She said she’s just as concerned about the current Liberal leadership as she was about Gordon Campbell.
“We’ve got a coal mine planned for right above the Baynes Sound shellfish and tourism industries. If we can divine anything from Christy Clark’s position on the Prosperity Mine near Williams Lake, it will be full-bore ahead for Raven,” said Askew.
“That was such a bad proposal that even the federal Conservative government rejected it, saying it would have ‘significant adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat, navigation, and on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by First Nations’.
“Christy Clark said that was ‘dumb’ and said she thinks ‘the Prosperity Mine needs to move ahead … as a signal to investors across the world that British Columbia is open for investment.’
“Can you believe it? What does that mean for Raven? And for all of us?”
Askew retired from full-time teaching and union activism in 2009 and began to co-ordinate over 100 volunteer canvassers for the Fight HST organization that fall.
“The initiative petition was a non-partisan action that attracted people from all political stripes, as well as many who had never been involved politically before,” she said.
When it was over, Comox Valley canvassers had collected over 25 per cent of voter signatures on the petition against the HST, well over the 10 per cent minimum required under the legislation.
Askew also took on the role of ‘Recall Proponent’, heading up the local effort to recall McRae.
The NDP’s nomination meeting is set for Sept. 18 at the Filberg Centre. Over 450 NDP members are eligible to vote to choose the candidate.
Read more about Kathryn on her website: www.kathrynaskew.ca and on Facebook at Kathryn Askew Comox Valley.
— Kathryn Askew