The invitation only meeting in Penticton regarding the proposed national park highlighted one of the important groups being left behind, as the Penticton Indian band (PIB) who were only given a half-hour notice of the meeting.
Spokesperson Jonathan Baynes was critical of the lack of inclusion shown toward the PIB in this process and stated, “It is not a partnership if the park is just going to be pushed through.” And he asked, “What does the government mean by a partnership?” Well, Jonathan, welcome to what the non-native locals feel like, but at least we had a little more notice.
It seems that the Liberal government is taking a lot of lessons from Donald Trump by ignoring the law and telling lies (oh sorry, alternate truths) in order to misdirect the unwashed hillbillies of the South Okanagan. After all, we elitists know what’s best for you and a national park will make a nice addition to the pipeline we just bought.
It appears that Catherine McKenna is making promises that will require assent by parliament or possibly the creation of a whole subsection, much like the Banff Canada parks section, or will this be another Trumpism and we will be promised anything to get around us peasants?
Every resident of the Southern Okanagan should read and understand the Osoyoos Indian Band/Syilx Nations draft plans and park feasibility study. Make no mistake, this is the group that will have control of this park and the obligated expansions if the seed park is formed.
If I were a member of the Penticton Indian Band I would be very concerned here, as they are in bed with a giant with enormous political control, unfathomable financial resources and outside partners. These documents lay out, in no uncertain terms, that the current lands under consideration are too small and the expansions in consideration are up to Giants Head on the west and Rattlesnake Island on the east. The areas on the east would encompass Okanagan Falls, Skaha Estates, Heritage Hills, Carmi, East Bench and Naramata. On the west the encompassment would be St. Andrews, Kitley, Kaleden, Twin Lakes, Olalla, Apex, West Bench, Summerland and Faulder.
The Canada Parks Act Bill C-27 allows for the expansions by order in council, which eliminates any need to have public input on the matter. This is very much akin to Donald Trump’s bulldozer democracy. So we can’t say that Justin Trudeau and his ministers have not been learning a thing or two.
We have all been victims in the past of governmental soft sell and assurances; just to end up being slapped by the realities and consequences of what was not disclosed to us. Some will reap huge financial benefits, while the elitist perpetrators pat themselves on the back and wander back to the sanctity and security of their homes far away, leaving us with the decaying remains of what they will have caused.
It is time for all residents to become well informed and involved, considering the ramifications of what changes this will cause and the costs to you and your way of life. Make your informed decisions from the documents that will create this park and not from the propaganda for or against.
Rick Knodel, Willowbrook