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The Globe and Mail

By-election proving a headache for BC Liberals

Premier Christy Clark speaks in Kamloops on Sept. 20, 2011.

Jeff Bassett for the Globe and Mail/jeff bassett The Globe and Mail

The date for a by-election in Chilliwack-Hope has not yet been set but the BC Liberals have already stumbled. The only declared candidate for the Liberal nomination, Diane Janzen, withdrew from the race following concern over her role as a candidate for the federal Liberal Party earlier this year.

"Clearly the stakes are high in the coming by-election, and the BC Liberals are not about to risk seeing any conservative support bleed away to the BC Conservatives," says the Chilliwack Progress in an opinion piece by newspaper editor Greg Knill.

"Whether Janzen's conservative pedigree was insufficient to fend off an even more conservative attack, we'll never know. But certainly her association with the federal Liberal Party and her challenge of Mark Strahl in the last federal election made her vulnerable." Mr. Knill says the Liberals and Conservatives have been goading each other for days. "The NDP must be smiling" he writes. "A split vote on the right opens an avenue to Victoria that [the NDP]might not otherwise enjoy."

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The Vernon Morning Star urges the BC Liberals to abandon party loyalties completely in order to embrace an NDP proposal on fees at the province's post-secondary institutuons. The prospect of post-secondary education is increasingly challenging for students as a result of the financial pressure placed on them and their parents, the paper says.

Even after a freeze on many fees, tuition at Okanagan College is " a fair chunk of change for a student working a minimum wage job or a parent who hasn't seen a wage increase during the economic downturn," the paper says. "That's why there is merit to NDP leader Adrian Dix 's call for tuition grants based on need." The grants would make college more accessible, remove the burden of student loans and ensure student develop skills to meet the current labour shortage.

"[Mr.]Dix is urging Premier Christy Clark to consider his concept and hopefully she will because the future of the economy and our youth is far more important than party loyalties or who gets credit for an idea," the newspaper says.


NDP MP Alex Atamanenko proposed a private members bill that would give conscientious objectors the right to prevent their tax dollars going to the military. The Nelson Star, in an opinion piece by editor Bob Hall, suggests Mr. Atamenenko should abandon the bill and spend more time "on issues that will actually make his riding and this nation an even better place to live."

Wouldn't it be great if taxpayers could check off items they would like to finance with their tax dollars, Mr. Hall asks with his tongue in his cheek. "Don't have children? No need to check off the box that supports the kids. Still many years away from your golden years? Don't need to support the elderly this year. The CBC not programmed into your car radio? Don't want to throw money at that. Feeling really healthy? Might as well take the chance on not spending any money health care this time around," he writes. But it would be hard to find a taxpayer who is not against at least one aspect of government spending. It's an absurd idea to allow everyone to decide how their taxes were spent. "We are all Canadians. And though we might not like how all our tax dollars are spent, we are all in this together. That spirit helps make this country great," the newspaper says.

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