Politically charged: NDP Grand Forks office opens
Speeches, offers of both local and federal solutions to current issues, and a guitar duel with Mayor Taylor kicked off the opening of federal New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Alex Atamanenko’s local office. The opening of the Grand Forks site was officially launched Saturday afternoon with much fanfare. Set amidst a backdrop of anti-war demonstrators, Atamanenko took the microphone and delivered the NDP message of Canada’s military at peace. He expressed solidarity with the peace activists, stating that (Canadian’s must) “take back our democracy,” and not participate in the “American war machine.” When pressed to clarify the NDP stance on this topic, Atamanenko pointed to Canadian outrage over the billions budgeted for the purchase of F-35 fighter jets, “these are bomber planes,” indicating they will not be used for national defence, but rather offence. War was not the only topic he spoke critiqued: food security was also paramount. On a local level, Atamanenko pointed to the drastic decline in Southern B.C. onion producers, and the hardships being faced by apple producers in the Similkameen Valley. Simply put, “we can’t compete with American subsidies,” said Atamanenko. On a federal level, the NDP solutions are to generate a national food policy and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, neither of which is endorsed by the Conservatives. Indeed Atamanenko fears that the new trade agreement proposed with Europe will also be detrimental. Jen Ratz, Atamanenko’s assistant, was quick to offer local initiatives. “Alex has been fighting for his constituents. He recently worked with Cawston Cold Storage on their apple issues, with the postal union to keep full-time workers at the post office, and has consulted with the Grand Forks Agricultural Society about food security issues,” explained Ratz. “Some of the private members bills introduced really had support like C-393 Drugs to Developing Countries which would have provided generic drugs to the third world; unfortunately after passing through all preliminary stages, the Senate squashed it,” she added. Abolishing the senate is a priority the NDP want to see come to a public referendum. They claim the senate is a group of unaccountable, unelected officials that don’t represent Canada’s best interests. About Canada’s best interests: for years the NDP motto has been to put families first, and now the Liberal Party is taking that page and publicizing it. When asked about their new campaign, Atamanenko was hopeful that the Liberals might keep this election promise.
And before taking to the stage to play some country tunes, he had time to chime, “I’m really looking forward to the local debates.”
Atamanenko will be participating in upcoming all candidates debates sponsored by the Boundary Sentinel and Community Futures Boundary.
Midway Community Centre Saturday, Apr. 16 at 7:00 p.m.
Grand Forks – GFSS Auditorium Monday, Apr. 18 at 7:00 p.m.