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Morton canvasses candidates on wild salmon

Most bloggers watch elections from one location. Wild-salmon advocate Alexandra Morton has been touring B.C. to ask federal candidates about their positions on wild versus farmed salmon. The answers tend to fall along predictable party lines.

In her latest post, on the eighth day of her tour, Morton reported on what she'd learned about the candidates in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country:

Today was a particularly fascinating day. We met with Terry Platt who is running for the NDP in West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast. I have met Terry many times as she works on BC Ferries. Terry is a very strong supporter of wild salmon and is dedicated to protecting them from salmon farms. She worked on a salmon farm in her riding in the mid - 1980s.

Terry said the beautiful white Chinook salmon of the area vanished rapidly after the farms went in. I saw this at home in Broughton where the winter Chinook vanished with the first furunculosis epidemics on the salmon farms. Terry is an eye-witness to the damage too.

Next I met with John Weston, Conservative. John likely is a nice man, but it was very clear to me that he is under pressure from his party and likely the Weston family, to restrain from supporting wild salmon too strongly. He would not say he would protect them from the salmon farms. I could be wrong, but I don't think this is where his heart is. He appears to be a man who follows orders well.

I met Dan Veniez the Liberal candidate at the Quest University. Dan seemed well-informed and he would get salmon farms out of the ocean, but Dan is an angry man.

Brennan Wauters was at the Quest U. candidate meeting as well. He is the Green Party Candidate for this riding. Brennan is someone I think we are all going to hear more about in the coming years, if not sooner. He has a strong vision on the precariousness of our current economic situation, wherein we appear to be in economic health but in fact are in structural deficit.

Brennan sees the environment as integral to the economy, whereas the conservatives hold a fatal viewpoint that it is a luxury item we the people don't really deserve. Brennan knows how to use the social media and makes himself extremely available for dialogue on his website.

We visited some spawning channels in the area that John Weston was very proud of, but I was horrified. They were choked with algae and while there was a nice viewing platform built the view was of a place salmon eggs must have suffocated over the winter.

My sense of this election is that people need to be brave enough to trust themselves and trust the candidates that listen to them. The Conservatives are distant, their campaign appears to be run from Ottawa, they are difficult to find and contact in most cases. Kerry-Lynne Findlay seemed to say she would protect wild salmon from salmon farms, but so many people have written me to say they heard different at the All Candidate meetings that I have written to her to get her to clarify. I think people vote Conservative because they don't trust their own judgment as to what their communities need.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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