Independent Clare Explains Withdrawal of Support For Conservatives
Prince George, B.C. – Cariboo-Prince George Independent candidate Sheldon Clare says he’s hearing a multitude of concerns from constituents during the current election campaign.
Clare says “there’s a lot of people out there that are undecided and are very concerned about the economy, they’re concerned about senior’s issues, about agriculture, veterans, they’re concerned about the issues that I’ve been raising and I’m getting a very positive response. My phone people have been telling me they’ve got lists of people they’ve called, we’ve been concentrating the last little while on Williams Lake and there’s very few people that were adamantly decided on who they were going to vote for.”
Asked for his thoughts about that Clare says “I think that there are concerns about a number of things that the current government has done. Bill C-51, the counter-terrorism legislation, has many people upset. There’s also concerns about the economy. The Conservatives long held the monopoly on being the responsible managers of the economy but they’ve relied heavily on resource extraction and put a lot of the eggs in that basket and that basket seems to have tipped over.”
“So right now diversification is really of interest to a lot of people. We’ve got to get back to making sure we are using our renewable resources as well as promoting agriculture and making sure that our farmers and ranchers are able to be the bread basket of this great nation.”
“For me the biggest issue is to make sure that we have a good loud voice in Ottawa and that we get the representation that we’ve been lacking for many years. It isn’t just the last few years it’s a long-term problem: we’re out west, we’re up north and we’re really out of sight and out of mind. We’re taken for granted here and this riding really needs to become a riding that people cannot take for granted. It needs to be a riding if you want to win it you have to work for it.”
Clare says “we’ve seen the party system run amok with this government, it’s over-controlled, over-managed, micro-managed if you like and I think we need to get more power back into the hands of members of parliament to be able to represent their constituents to government rather than represent a party policy or platform to the people in their ridings.”
Clare is an acknowledged long-time supporter of the Conservative Party. 250 News asked why he has decided to leave that fold and run as an independent. “Well, I’ve had a number of concerns over a lot of legislation. Bill C-51 was certainly one, the failure to take more action on Bill C-42. I have concerns about the hamstringing of Canadian immigrants as second-class citizens in Bill C-24. There have been a number of legislative initiatives that I really think are not in the best interests of this country.”
“I’m also concerned about having seen a more corrupt side of government than I would have like from this government and I’m really unhappy with that and I just couldn’t in good conscience continue to support something when I was really not in a mind frame that I could live with myself if I did. I just looked at this, I said this is not what I’m up for. I want to see a bit more responsible government that is responsive to its citizens.”
Asked about his concerns over Bill C-51, Clare says “I think Bill C-51 should never have been allowed to pass. When you give intelligence agencies enforcement powers you’re making a fundamental mistake, and it’s a mistake that was being made when the RCMP had both intelligence and enforcement powers back in the 1970s. And the MacDonald Commission found there needed to be a separate agency to do intelligence and that was the origins of the founding of CSIS. So CSIS would do intelligence but not have enforcement and now that’s come back full circle and they want to give CSIS enforcement powers. I’m very uncomfortable with that.”
Asked for his opinion of why Stephen Harper appears headed in that direction Clare says “I don’t know. I think there is a desire to have a perception of security for people. People are nervous about some of the things that are going on in the world but feeling safe and being safe are not the same thing. It’s important to be taking action where it needs to be taken to deal with the root causes of problems, but this idea that terrorism is a huge problem in Canada is really quite mythical.”
“I mean we have real problems in this country that need federal attention. I don’t think that the changes to C-51 are really doing anything more than the police agencies are already capable of doing to catch and prosecute the people who are of ill intent. They’ve been catching them just fine, why do we all of a sudden have all of these privacy needs and information-sharing needs between government agencies about ordinary Canadians?
“I think that we should all be very concerned about governments that want to over-control their citizens.”