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Letter: Harper risks ruining the tourism industry in the Kootenays

To the Editor:

There is another important reason to vote out Harper that I have yet to see in print, so I bring it to voters’ attention now. Simply put, 4 more years of Harper risks ruining the tourism industry in the Kootenays.

Let me explain. Thanksgiving weekend my girlfriend and I made the long drive from Vancouver to the Kootenays to reconnect with friends in Nelson and to enjoy the wilds. We camped Sunday night by the shores of Slocan Lake. With utter quiet, we quickly fell to sleep.

At 2:30 am we were awoken by two young men engaged in a lively political discussion. We were kept up as they listed Harper’s abuses of power and his sorry environmental record. Then they moved on to how best to send Harper packing.

One wanted to vote NDP, the other Liberal. I finally got up, walked over to their truck and after applauding their interest in our democracy, asked if they minded conversing elsewhere.

They apologized and promised to move on, but first wanted to know how I would be voting. I explained that for me as an ecological economist, the most important issue was removing Harper from power before he further vandalized Canada’s environmental laws.

I confessed that despite having sympathies for the Green platform, given our First Past the Post system, I couldn’t afford to cast a vote that wouldn’t count.

This lead to a new discussion topic: the need to reform our electoral system, since in 2011, the Conservatives were rewarded with absolute power despite a majority of citizens voting against them.

Seeing that their enthusiasm for democratic reform might well rob us of an entire night's sleep, I explained I my bed was calling me. They finally drove off.

Hence the threat to tourism:  young voters are so troubled by the prospect of Harper returning to power that they are staying up all night discussing the election, not even noticing that they debate voting strategy next to tents where tourists are trying to sleep.

Tom Green
(Nelson resident, 1996-2001)
Vancouver, BC