by Ken Alexander
100 Mile Free Press
While it has been reported that the recall of Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett had been postponed, Eric Freeston, who is the spokesperson for Recall Cariboo-Chilcotin Campaign, says that just isn’t the case.
Barnett says she heard from a radio reporter last week that another B.C. Liberal MLA was going to be chosen for the mid-February slot that Fight HST had indicated recall canvassers would start collecting signatures in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
However, Freeston had clearly stated last month the Cariboo-Chilcotin recall group was marching to the beat of its own drums and not that of Fight-HST, which is led by former premier Bill Vander Zalm.
Noting there is some sort of misconception of information, Freeston says the local recall campaign is far from over, and nothing was postponed because they haven’t set a date to officially start the petitioning process.
BC First spokesperson Chris Delaney says some comments he had made a couple of weeks ago about canvassing slowing down during the Christmas break were misconstrued.
Delaney adds he had indicated it would not only affect the recall efforts for Ida Chong on Vancouver Island, but it could also be detrimental for the Cariboo-Chilcotin group as it tries to line up canvassers.
Agreeing this was the crux of the misinformation, Freeston says his group was well aware of the Cariboo-Chilcotin group’s momentum being slowed by the Christmas holidays.
“We knew there would be a slowdown; it was the primary reason why we decided we weren’t going to go ahead before or during the Christmas break. We knew it would be more difficult to get canvassers signed up because everybody would be too busy with other things.”
If the misconception is that we’re not going ahead with the recall of Donna Barnett, Freeston says that’s wrong.
He notes the Cariboo-Chilcotin recall group has been meeting regularly to keep its fingers on the pulse to see what the appetite for recall is and where they are with canvasser sign-up.
Freeston says the group is meeting Jan. 15 to determine where everything is at, and one of the things that will likely happen is a decision on whether to set a date.
“It’s too early to say one way or the other; we just want to make sure we have our ducks in a row. When it comes to recall, there’s no manual to go by; we’re in totally uncharted territory on this.”
He adds the only way the group is going to pull out of the recall process is if the B.C. Liberals cancel the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) or move up the referendum date and provide some guarantees.
“One of the problems with the B.C. Liberal government is they haven’t been giving us any guarantees. Just because [leadership candidate] Christy Clark says she would like to have a free vote in the legislature doesn’t mean anything to us.”
Freeston says the whole leadership campaign means nothing to his group. “We’re dealing with the same group of people who voted this in and the same group that lied to us.”
It’s the whole party, he says, adding none of the government MLAs stood up or said they should hold off because they didn’t have a mandate from the people to bring in the HST.
“As far as we’re concerned, [recall] is a go.”