Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Why Federal Elections Bore

with 2 comments

Rafe Mair’s Tyee piece this week is about the election.
Like Rafe I will be voting Green but he has this to say about my local Conservative candidate

Sticking up for your constituents

When it comes to federal MPs paying attention to folks back home, a prime exception to the rule is John Cummins, M.P., Delta-Richmond East. He is a Conservative, formerly Reform. (I vote Green, incidentally) Cummins has consistently acted in what he felt were the best interests of his consistency.

On one occasion, he felt that a bill should be debated, so flouted the orders of Prime Minister Harper to give leave to have the bill passed forthwith. He lost his shadow cabinet post. Cummins was on the Commons Fisheries Committee and criticized amendments to the Fisheries Act by the minister and was promptly yanked off the committee by Harper. Cummins, though the most knowledgeable MP in the House on the West Coast fishery, is not the Fisheries minister and won’t be the minister of anything because he refuses to subvert his constituents feelings to the wishes of the prime minister.

I’ve been involved in the shocking environmental desecration proposed, and being undertaken, by both senior governments in Cummins’ riding and John Cummins has been there fighting alongside his citizens, while the Liberal MLA for the area, Val Roddick, who usually won’t shut up, runs and hides. So do the ministers.

There is, after all this, a moral to this story. If we had a system where the member of Parliament had the powers in fact that he has on paper, we would see a lot more John Cummins. As long as we have the same old, “first past the post election system” (if “system” it can be called), we will have more lickspittles like Lunn and Roddick and fewer John Cummins.

It really isn’t any more complicated than that.

More recently Cummins also declined to support the SFPR – which caused a pre-election “announcement” to get cancelled. And for that alone  I would put Cummins ahead of the pack.

Except, as my mother said, “I could no sooner vote Conservative than I could spit in church.”

Written by Stephen Rees

September 15, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Posted in politics

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2 Responses

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  1. I like John Cummins, MP, but I completely dislike the leader of his party. Sadly, Canadian politics completely disregard men of integrity.

    Malcolm J.

    September 16, 2008 at 8:25 am

  2. It is unfortunate that often reporters write in a tone and manner that suggests to the lay reader that the reporter’s words are fact. More and more reporting, due to time constraints, has little to do with research and more to do with capturing the crafted public relations messages of career politicians like John Cummins and framing the messages into a story. The story is often set upon the reporter by the editor, set upon the editor by the owner of the media. The reader can less and less know the facts when reading a reporter’s content and more and more about opinion and crafted messages.

    The messages of Cummins are more myth than fact. This includes Raif Mair’s suggestion that he has been, “there fighting alongside his citizens” and “paying attention to folks back home.” Which citizens and folks? The same citizens and folks that say he didn’t help to resolve the long pending environmental destruction of Delta? The citizens and folks that donate to his campaigns and lobby him on their commercial fisheries issues against the First Nations?

    Delta-Richmond has been unheard on numerous contentious issues because Cummins only exhibits loud tub-thumping and opposition posturing. Cummins failed to get beyond his own nose on issues and think up positive solutions to put forward for Delta-Richmond East. In fact, had Cummins understood our environment as much as he clearly understands increasing his own bank account balance for the past 14 years, perhaps Delta would be healthier.

    In Cummins’ own words, his intent to keep his pension as a Reformer, when other Reformers were giving it up, was so Cummins could leave a legacy for his children. Note Cummins places sole value on a financial legacy, nevermind environmental legacy. If he understood how to talk with people rather than yell at them with his tenor voice, perhaps Delta Richmond East would have matter more than Cummins’s myths and results would have been forthcoming.

    Let’s take the Delta-Port expansion as an example. Jimmy Pattison donates to the BC Liberals (quite a few federal Conservatives in that party) and Pattison donates to Cummins. Pattison owns Westshore Terminals and wants to increase profits by importing and exporting: plastic products and coal, etc. A long standing project for expansion is proposed and Cummins says in parliament this plan is laudable. Later after the Elections Act is changed and it doesn’t matter if Cummins receives a corporate donation from Pattison, Cummins opposes the Port expansion.

    South Delta started yelling, “Stop! What about our environment and our health?” Cummins said nothing about our environment until April 2007, one week after I became the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for Delta-Richmond East.

    I was a former Green Party of Canada candidate and I am one of Stephane Dion’s environmental advocacy candidates for Delta-Richmond East. Along with the Green Shift plan, praised by environmentalists and economists as visionary and brave, Cummins pretended his epiphany on our environment and hollered at rallies and podiums.

    My point: it is easier for Cummins to be in opposition mode than to figure out solutions because he started out in a party with a victim mentality, the Reform Party and then he moved onto one of the most irresponsible, incompetent Conservative governments in the history of Canada. Conservatives fail to find solutions to the needs of Canadians. This is an obvious fact. Cummins is good at perpetuating his myth and men like Raif Mair keep writing about Cummins myth.

    Aside, I agree our electoral system is due with a refreshing change and our parliament with a choice for our future, that’s why I am involved in politics as a candidate.

    Take care John Cummins in your retirement. It is time for you to retire, you just don’t seem to want to let go of the podium or the pockets full of cash that being a politician has paid you.

    Fortunately, I can be a Member of Parliament for Delta-Richmond East that is interested in leaving a legacy of care for our environment, for my nieces, for your family, for my nation.


    Dana L. Miller
    Liberal Party of Canada candidate for Delta-Richmond East

    Dana L. Miller

    September 18, 2008 at 8:08 pm

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