My wife and I saluted the recent passing of former Premier Bill Bennett and reflected on our good fortune to have connected with Socred governments who were great believers in small “d” democracy.
If you flew their colours and supported the party and had an issue, it was always the same game plan: people, project, politics. Someone had to be on the point that they trusted, the project or issue had to make sense and you had to make it sellable!
Travel Highway 3 between Grand Forks and Christina Lake with your eyes wide open and you will witness three significant projects which have the footprint of three Socred government premiers.
Travel east of Grand Forks and you will quickly see an 11-kilometre wildlife fence adjacent to Highway 3 and with good fortune you will see bighorn sheep.
In October 1984, MLA Jim Hewitt, a cabinet minister in the Bill Bennett government, supported the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce bighorn sheep transplant, a tourism initiative.
Near the eastern end of the wildlife fence you will see signs identifying the Class A Gilpin Grassland Provincial Park created by the BC Liberal government in 2007. The heart of the park is a 595-hectare (1,470 acre) ranch purchased by the W.A.C. Bennett Socred government August 1972 using their Green Belt Fund.
Frank Richter, the Socred cabinet minister, supported a petition and letters urging the government to purchase the ranch because the rancher had been accused of killing deer in his fields for years!
As you travel through the community of Christina Lake you will notice an art centre built on land that touches Highway 3 and Christina Lake.
In the late ’80s, Socred cabinet minister Howard Dirks in the Vander Zalm government supported the wishes of six town/city councils in the West Kootenay/Boundary that the government purchase the property and designate the land a park to increase tourism.
Today getting support for any issue that embraces the hallmark of good government—transparency and accountability—is literally a pipe dream since the demise of the Social Credit government!
– Barry and Midge Brandow, Grand Forks