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RCO





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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:04 am    Post subject: MP Jim Abbott announces he will not seek re-election Reply with quote

MP Jim Abbott announces he will not seek re-election

Kootenay-Columbia MP Jim Abbott announced on Saturday that he will not be seeking re-election in the next federal election, but will continue serving in the meantime. He is pictured here on a CP Rail train next to the Olympic Torch at the site of the Last Spike at Craigellachie on Jan. 27.
Aaron Orlando/Times Review

Text By Aaron Orlando - Revelstoke Times Review


Published: February 20, 2010 10:00 AM
Updated: February 20, 2010 10:55 AM

0 Comments Kootenay-Columbia MP Jim Abbott announced on Saturday that he will not be seeking re-election in the next federal election, ending a 17-year run as the MP for the riding.

“I would like to thank all the constituents that I have had the honour of representing over the past 17 years,” said Abbott in a statement. “The wonderful support they have shown me made this challenging job enjoyable. I can say without question that I have done my best to represent their views in the House of Commons.”

Abbott was elected in 1993 as one of the original members of the Reform Party, and has won all six general elections in the riding since then.

In a Feb. 20 letter to to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Abbott says serving for so many years has been a big commitment, and he is now hoping to take more time to devote to family. “I told the Prime Minister it is time for me to focus more on my wonderful wife Jeannette, my kids, and my seven grandchildren,” said Abbott.

The letter to the Prime Minister says serving as a Member of Parliament has been an honour. "It has been tremendous honour to represent Kootenay Columbia," he writes in the Feb. 20 letter. "They are dedicated citizens, without a doubt, a fabric of Canada. Having committed eighteen years to 100,000 constituents, Canada, and the Conservative Party, I’ve arrived at a conclusion. It’s well past time that I make the same level of commitment to my family."

Prime Minister Harper also released a statement on Saturday, saying he considered Abbott a friend. “I am honoured to have not only had Jim as a colleague for so many years, but also as a friend,” said Prime Minister Harper. "I know that his decision to not run in the next election was a hard one for him to make, but I respect his reasons for it.”

During his time as an opposition MP, Abbott served as a critic for Canadian Heritage, Solicitor General, Revenue Canada, Regional Development, and the Senate.

When the Conservatives formed government in 2006, he took on roles including Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and in 2008 he became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation.

He has also served in a number of roles related to Asia Pacific issues, including travelling with delegations to Asia, and also in executive positions in a number of Asia Pacific Parliamentary organizations.

In October, 2007 he was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council of Canada, conferring him the title of "The Honourable."


http://www.bclocalnews.com/koo.....55007.html
RCO





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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( in an odd twist the past ndp candidate from 04-06 for this riding now wants to run for the liberals . and some big local names might consider the conservative nomination )


Bush says he’ll seek Liberal spot


February 26,2010

By GERRY WARNER
gerry@dailytownsman.com

It’s been less than a week since Kootenay Columbia Conservative MP Jim Abbott made his bombshell announcement that he won’t be running in the next federal election and already the first potential candidate has come forward.

But not for the Conservative party although there are noises coming out of the Tory camp too.

The candidate making an announcement now has run twice federally for the NDP, but he’s not announcing for the NDP this time. In fact, Kimberley Councillor Brent Bush is crossing the floor and seeking to be the Liberal candidate in Kootenay-Columbia.

Bush says he has his reasons.

"Even prior to the 2006 federal election, I had grown disillusioned with the direction Jack Layton had been taking the federal NDP. The Party had become much more urban oriented at the expense of it's rural CCF roots. At the same time, Jack Layton has created a cult of personality around himself that I could no longer support.”

Bush says when Layton supported the Harperarper Harper government in Parliament in Sept 2009, he resigned from the NDP.

"In September of 2009 I decided I could no longer support Jack Layton's NDP, yet I still believed that I could do a great job representing the constituents of Kootenay-Columbia at the federal level. As a result, I decided to seek the federal Liberal nomination.”

Bush, who ran against Abbott twice in the federal elections of 2004 and 2006 finishing second both times, says he wasn’t surprised by Abbott’s announcement and wishes him well.

“Although Mr. Abbott and I disagreed on many issues, I respect the fact that he is retiring in order to focus more on his family. For the past 17 years MP Jim Abbott has served the constituents of Kootenay-Columbia with distinction and I wish him well in the future.”

Bush says he believes he can attract voters from across the political spectrum, including environmentalists, small business owners, social democrats and conservatives disillusioned with the Conservative Party.

"The next federal election will mark a turning point for many constituents in the riding. For the past 17 years they have entrusted their vote with someone they knew and respected, Mr. Abbott. Now they will have to choose a new person they can trust to represent them in Ottawa. It will be my job to win their respect and trust and offer myself as the best candidate."

Kootenay-Columbia Liberal Party President Betty Aitchison says no date has been set yet for a nomination meeting but expects Bush’s name will be put forward when one is. Aitchison says she has no problem with the fact that Bush ran previously for the NDP.

“That’s not a problem. The person putting himself forward has a good background, has a good education and has served on council He’s also been involved with the community as a volunteer, and as a volunteer myself, I feel a strong empathy with him.”

But long-time Kimberley NDP member Lowell Paulson is not so optimistic about Bush’s chances. “I think he’s making a mistake, but that’s up to him.” Bush will have a hard time explaining himself during candidate debates and the NDP is already close to having a candidate to replace him, Paulson says.

Kootenay-Columbia Conservative Party President Dave Reeves says no moves have been made to find a successor to Abbott yet and none are expected until at least the party’s AGM April 6 when former broadcaster and Conservative Senator Mike Duffy will be the keynote speaker.

Since Abbott’s announcement, there’s been a strong surge of interest in renewing party memberships, but no candidates have come forward yet seeking to replace Abbott, Reeves said. “I don’t know when an election is going to be called, but we’ve got to be ready.”

Meanwhile some local big names have indicated they’re looking at the Conservative nomination. One of them is Kootenay East MLA and cabinet minister Bill Bennett, who issued the following statement.

"I have always felt so lucky to be the MLA for the best part of BC and I love my work as MLA and cabinet minister. At this point, I plan to stay right where I am. However, I am hearing every day from constituents who want me to serve as MP for the whole region. I have plenty of listening and soul searching to do and I will not be making any abrupt decisions."

Cranbrook Mayor Scott Manjak has also indicated interest but has not made a statement to this point.

Sparwood Mayor and Regional District of East Kootenay Chairman David Wilks says he’s interested with one caveat. “I’ve thought about it. I’m certainly interested, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. Certainly a lot will depend on whether Minister Bennett takes a run at the position.

“If Bill goes for it, it will certainly open up a lot of opportunities at the provincial level.”

Another name being heard is Creston Councillor Westley Graham, but no names yet from the northern and eastern parts of the riding including Invermere, Golden and Revelstoke.

One person who’s definitely not interested is RDEK Area C Director Rob Gay. “Oh my God. It’s not something I’d ever consider at this point.”


http://www.dailytownsman.com/a.....beral-spot
RCO





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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kootenay News Advertiser

Bennett says no thanks to Ottawa

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, Cranbrook Mayor Scott Manjak and Cranbrook's woman of the year Sandy Zeznik all vote for Cranbrook as CBC Kraft's Hockeyville.
Craig Lindsay/Kootenay Advertiser



Published: April 02, 2010 10:00 AM
Updated: April 02, 2010 10:11 AM

0 Comments On April 1, MLA for Kootenay East and Minister of Community & Rural

Development, Bill Bennett, made the following announcement:


I am happy to announce that at the present time I plan to continue as MLA

for Kootenay East and do not plan to seek the nomination for the

Conservative Party of Canada for the Riding of Kootenay-Columbia. I wanted to clear the air before the Conservative Constituency Association holds its

Annual General Meeting on April 6th and to encourage the participation of those

in the region who aspire to follow in the footsteps of my friend, MP Jim Abbott.


The reasons for my decision are as follows:


1. I love my job. I love representing my constituents. I enjoy the challenges of healthcare, education, social services, land use, mining,

forestry, agriculture, tourism and outdoor recreation. These diverse areas

of public policy provide me with an almost unlimited opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the good people of Kootenay East. And making a

difference is why I am in public life.


2. Thousands of voters supported me and hundreds of volunteers worked extremely hard to elect me as their MLA less than a year ago. They placed their faith in me. I want to continue to work for them.


3. I have much unfinished business that I want to complete. To name just

a few: ORV management; a land use plan for the Koocanusa area; improved healthcare services; 4 year nursing at College of the Rockies; a replacement

high school in Cranbrook; protecting access to the Flathead and opposing a

new park; amendments to the ALR in the Kootenays; helping the forest sector come back and the mining industry expand; and encouraging new

investment and job creation in Kootenay East.


4. As Minister of Community & Rural Development, I can bring positive benefits to our region that we have not historically experienced.


5. I am an advocate in the provincial capital for all rural British Columbians on all rural issues. It is a role

that I love, it is a key reason I entered provincial politics and it is a key reason I am staying put.


http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/89781847.html
RCO





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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sparwood mayor David Wilks to seek MP role
Bennett says ‘no thanks’ to Ottawa


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Sparwood mayor David Wilks to seek MP role
Bennett says ‘no thanks’ to Ottawa
April 10,2010

by Rebecca Edwards

Mayor of Sparwood David Wilks hopes to take his municipal government experience to Parliament Hill by running for Conservative MP candidate in Kootenay-Columbia.

He says that, if he is elected to the Federal Government, his constituency office will be in Sparwood with a sub-office in Cranbrook.

Wilks will publicly announce his decision at a press conference in Cranbrook this morning (Thursday) but spoke exclusively to The Free Press earlier this week.

MP of 16 years Jim Abbott announced last month he will retire when the next election is called.

Wilks initiallly said he would only consider pursuing the Federal seat if MLA Bill Bennett did not stand for the position.

Bennett announced last Thursday that he would not run for the Ottawa role, because he is happy with his role as MLA and feels his work is not yet done in B.C.

Wilks said he has always been curious about politics but did not join the Conservative party until leaving the RCMP in 2000. He became a Sparwood councillor in 2002 and mayor in 2005.

He added: “When Jim Abbott announced his retirement I felt there was an opportunity for me to make a difference at a Federal level.

“I believe my experience as Mayor for the District of Sparwood and as chair of the RDEK has provided me with the experience to understand what the people want and to act upon that.”

Wilks said he will stand for “the traditional issues” of creating jobs, improving healthcare in rural areas and for seniors, protecting the environment and ensuring the military is adequately funded.

He added: “I think the best example of my work, apart from the Elk Valley Tax Sharing agreement, was how I conducted myself during the tragic events of December 28, 2008 when we lost eight community members to an avalanche.

“That’s who I am. It was a tragic event but we bonded together as a community very well.”

His first task is becoming the local candidate by winning the vote of Conservative party members from across the Kootenay-Columbia constituency, which covers the Elk Valley, Creston, Cranbrook, Columbia Valley, Nakusp, Revelstoke and Golden. The second step will be a General Election campaign.

He believes that campaigning across such a large area will not affect his work for the District of Sparwood and the Regional District of East Kootenay.

He added: “I am not required by law to give up either position until such time I am elected to another position.

“I don’t feel I will be overwhelmed by the nomination process. I believe I can competently handle the two positions that I have already – the issue will be a little more taxing when and if I win the nomination and go to general election.”

Wilks said that, if he is elected to Ottawa, he and his wife Cindy will sell the Sparwood bowling alley they currently run. He added he has the full support of his family.


http://www.thefreepress.ca/art.....ek-mp-role
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Senator Duffy addresses Kootenay-Columbia Conservatives



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Senator Duffy addresses Kootenay-Columbia Conservatives


Gerry Warner photo

Senator Mike Duffy was treated to some products of local entrepreneurialism courtesy of the Kootenay Knitting Company at the “Dessert With Duffy” Conservative Party fundraiser Tuesday night at the Heritage Inn. Kootenay-Columbia MP Jim Abbott explained to Duffy how successful Kootenay Knitting has been supplying their famous knitted products to Canadian athletes at several recent Olympics.

April 8,2010

By GERRY WARNER
gerry@dailytownsman.com

Senator Mike Duffy, the former dean of the Parliamentary press gallery, spoke to almost 200 Kootenay-Columbia Conservative Party members Tuesday night and regaled the audience with anecdotes of his many years in Ottawa.

Duffy also gave his appreciative audience a pep talk on their party and conservatism in general and told them that in Stephen Harper they had by far the best federal leader in the land.

But Duffy, a renowned story-teller, drew the most applause and interest with his anecdotes about the many political personalities he got to know over his many years as a reporter and broadcaster in Parliament.

He told about the time early in former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s career when a reporter from a local Ottawa radio station made Trudeau feel intensely uncomfortable in a scrum by staring intently at him through his thick black-rimmed glasses.

The Prime Minister’s Office called the radio station to complain about the reporter’s behaviour and the boss called the cub reporter on the carpet to explain his actions. The reporter hemmed and hawed for a while and didn’t say anything, but finally he blurted out that he’d recently taken a course at Algonquin College.

And what kind of course, the reporter’s boss demanded. “Hypnotism,” the reporter meekly replied. The rookie reporter was trying to hypnotize probably the most unhypnotizable prime minister in Canada’s history.

The crowd roared.

Another anecdote Duffy told concerned one of the funniest and most notorious incidents in Ottawa history, the “pass the tequila Sheila” exchange between former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister John Crosby and Liberal Deputy Prime Minister and Parliamentary “Rat Pack” member Sheila Copps.

“Everybody thought they hated each other. They didn’t. They were friends,” Duffy told the crowd, adding that both of the canny politicians quickly realized that the incident raised both of their profiles immensely.

In an interview after the meeting, Duffy said Copps once gushed to him that the tequila exchange and another one in Parliament when Crosby told her to “just quiet down baby” helped to get her on the cover of Maclean’s Magazine.

When he stuck to his script, which wasn’t often, Duffy told the crowd that Conservatives “are the party of the moderate middle” and that Harper “is a Prime Minister we can all be proud of.” He said the Liberals are still “living in the Stone Age” and have no rural seats west of New Brunswick while the Conservatives represent all areas of Canada.

“If this government is so bad, why hasn’t the opposition forced an election? They know Canadians would give us a majority,” he said. The Tories haven’t called an election “because they know an election in the middle of a recession would put the recovery at risk,” he added.

Duffy also had lots of fulsome praise for long-time Kootenay-Columbia MP Jim Abbott, who announced in February that he won’t run in the next federal election after winning six elections and serving 17 years.

“He (Abbott) obviously knows how to push the buttons for this riding,” Duffy said. Abbott is one of the few original Reform Party members to remain in Ottawa “but he didn’t start out to be in Parliament. He just wanted to make things better,” said Duffy.

In introducing Duffy, Abbott said he can still “hardly believe” he’s served as MP in Ottawa for 17 years. “I’m just an ordinary guy from Wasa yet I’ve worked in the House of Commons all that time serving you.”

Abbott said he finds it “awesome” that Canada gives ordinary people like himself and others t6o serve their country in such a way and that’s one of the reasons he respects Canada so much.

Prior to Duffy’s address, Kootenay- Columbia Conservatives held their AGM and elected 30 directors to new terms with 37 individuals running for the positions. The number running was higher than normal and is believed to be connected to the leadership campaign to replace Abbott.

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks, who attended the Duffy meeting, is expected to announce at a news conference today that he’s going to seek the Kootenay-Columbia Conservative nomination. If he does, he will be the first official candidate in the race.


http://www.dailytownsman.com/a.....servatives
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MP Jim Abbott announces he will not seek re-election

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