Editorial: ‘No’ national park referendum

Editorial: ‘No’ national park referendum


Let’s face it – if a referendum were held on the national park reserve it would probably result in a majority of “No” votes.

Obstructionism is in. The No side is much more vocal, active and organized than the Yes side.

It’s easy to see why Parks Canada doesn’t want to send its staffers to any Preservation Society meetings.

Fortunately we’re not entitled to a referendum on the issue.

There are far more voters in the nearby towns of Oliver and Osoyoos than people actually living and ranching within the proposed park territory. Why should the neighbouring communities determine the fate of those with the most skin in the game?

And what about citizens of Penticton? They’re part of the South Okanagan too.

Why not allow all British Columbians to vote?

Heck, since it’s a federal issue, why not invite all Canadians to participate in such a referendum?

Who’s to say such a referendum would even be binding?

Everybody in the country will be impacted by a new national park to some degree. There’s nowhere we can draw a line to fairly decide who can vote and who can’t.

A referendum could have been held years ago and another one can be held years from now – but there’s no moment in time when a referendum will matter the most. It would be short-sighted to base something so permanent on the flavour of the week in 2019.

The next generation will be far more impacted by this decision than anybody alive today.

Once we’re all dead and the population has turned over, I doubt the citizens of 2119 are going to wish that fewer national parks were established before they were born. But who knows, maybe they’ll be proud of their ancestors for kiboshing conservation.

Oddly, people on both sides can agree that we should preserve our beautiful backyard, yet there’s fierce debate over where the fences should go and which set of rules should apply.

It is just unfortunate that some people with “Yes” views are being intimidated by some anti-park people who don’t like seeing Yes signs.

Dan Walton
Oliver Chronicle


  1. Dan your article in the Chronicle was such a disappointment. As a journalist I was expecting something free of bias. You frame those apposed to the national park as bullies and vocal yahoos
    Your editor obviously supports your position, fair and honest reporting is becoming a rarity
    Andrew Taggart

  2. And we can all be awarded a participation trophy. Let’s all sit around the campfire and sing kumbaya (sp).