I distinctly recall Randy Kamp when he entered the political game and became the representative for Maple Ridge, albeit as a member of the opposition.
At that time, he was open-minded and seemed to have an interest in the issues and concerns of his constituents. He had ideas and challenged the status quo.
He came to our home at the request of our son, who is a person with disabilities, to learn about our son’s situation, and during the first years in government, provided assistance and guidance in dealing with government bureaucracy. He even spoke of the shortcomings of government, including his own.
Recently, and specifically since Randy and his Conservatives won their much sought-after majority, he is different.
My first direct experience was when I copied him on a letter to Minister Vic Toews expressing my annoyance with being characterized as supporting child pornographers because I opposed the government’s proposed legislation that would strip away hard-won privacy rights.
In spite of the government having to back away and the minister sending the flawed bill to committee, I received an email from Mr. Kamp adamantly defending Minister Toews.
No substance, just a bunch of pablum – I was obviously too dense to understand the brilliance of his government.
Another example was when Otto Langer, retired DFO member, alerted us that the Conservatives were about to gut the Federal Fisheries Act. Part of the information Mr. Langer had received was that the proposed changes to the Act were to be included in the omnibus budget bill.
When the changes were not included in the budget bill, not because they were not planned but because the responsible Minister Ashfield did not get it ready on time, Mr. Kamp was immediately in the press, making derogatory comments towards Mr. Langer, that Mr. Langer was incorrect in the information he had shared.
As it turned out, the changes had to be introduced separately. Same outcome, but for Mr. Kamp to be so dismissive and disrespectful towards Mr. Langer is telling.
Now we see Mr. Kamp not only steadfastly defending these changes, but again carrying the ball for another colleague, Environment Minister Kent, as they make disparaging comments about the four former ministers who have raised their concerns about the proposed changes to the Fisheries Act.
For Mr. Kent and Mr. Kamp to resort to tactics of asserting the four former ministers had not even read the proposed changes, especially when some of the written submissions were quoting the proposed legislation, speaks volumes about the Messrs Kent and Kamp.
These are tactics of bullies and of people who have been caught out.
What is more disconcerting about Mr. Kamp’s apparent loss of integrity and backbone is that he was previously a supporter of the proper protection of fish and fish habitat. Today he seems nothing more than an automaton mouthpiece for the Conservative government. He has no opinion, at least one that he is willing to share with his constituents – the people he is supposed to be representing and the people who pay his salary.
His support of these initiatives does not come with compelling arguments or logical explanations or business plans that may answer many of our questions.
The wording in the existing Fisheries Act is clear and direct. Its application has not always been done with the utmost of common sense by some DFO officers, but rather than fixing the real problem, this government has decided to gut the legislation which is the only piece of legislation in Canada that provides real protection for fish and fish habitat.
My sense is the proposed changes are going to do little but bung up the courts, make a bunch of lawyers rich, and make life easier for exploiters of our natural resources.
In the meantime, the fish will be the real losers, and ultimately the people of B.C. and Canada.
Mr. Kamp’s morphing into a government talking head is profoundly disappointing. We deserve better than to be treated like mushrooms by what has become one of the most arrogant governments in our history – after only one year of being given the privilege of a majority.
Mr. Kamp should remember that what the voter giveth, the voter can take away.
John Kelly, Maple Ridge