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Corky Evans

Politics is a funny thing, especially when you see the way these brave individuals who actually speak out are hounded by the media. Corky Evans has been a feature of the BC political landscape for the past 17 years and has recently retired from politics. The Tyee caught up with Corky for an interview, here are some quotes that make Corky’s legacy shine…

“Don’t ever think that wealth ever comes from any place except labour and dirt.”

“The perception of rural people is the old urban mythology about the redneck stupid people incapable of managing their affairs and probably dangerous if left to their own devices, and probably in need of an imported wisdom from urban sources, in order to keep them from wrecking everything. That’s nobody’s fault. That’s just the way colonialism works….”

Corky’s defense of the rural, didn’t preclude a shot at the urban…

The Tyee: A friend of mine once said that Vancouver only has one industry, and it’s real estate. Do you think that’s a fair assessment?

Corky: “No, it’s a short-term assessment. And I don’t think it’s a fair long-term assessment. No. I would say it’s money laundering.”

A long time defender of farmers and food production, Corky’s thoughts are often philosophical…

“If you’re asking how you can help farmers, buying healthy food grown by somebody you know is a wonderful place to start. And my observation of human behaviour is that once it starts, it leads in the best possible direction, and people don’t stop, and they begin to question their own waste, and their personal relationships, and their idea of community.”

“If you’re asking what it would take to make things work, it would take breaking the monopolies, and it would take the public deciding that they want competition, free enterprise and creativity, and they don’t want corporate control.”

“I think television has pretty well destroyed our understanding of the news and done a great deal to wreck governance. I know that elected people are afraid to admit that they had something wrong, because of television, because of our ability to show a picture of someone saying the world is black and another saying the world is white, with a voice-over saying ‘Watch Fred lie.'”

At the end of March, Corky gave his last speech in parliamentary sessions, which ended with the following story, displaying a man which BC can hardly lose as a leader in these difficult times. Whether you are NDP, Liberal or Green, or any other colour of the political specrum, I think you’ll agree that humility like this is rare and should be a prerequisite of nomination.

Hansard — Thursday, March 12, 2009 a.m. — Vol. 40, No. 2 (HTML)

“I was driving through Oliver a few weeks ago with a 45-gallon drum of fertilizer in the back of my truck, and I turned on the radio to hear the inauguration of the new President of the United States. Aretha Franklin started singing, and I found that I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t drive because I couldn’t see the road through my tears. When Aretha finished singing, I got back on to the road, and I made it as far as Osoyoos. Then the new President of the United States began to speak.

I hid my face and my pickup truck in an alley behind the laundromat, and I sobbed for 17 minutes. Now, I’m 61 years old, and I’m a guy, and for a little while longer I’m an MLA. And we old MLA guys don’t hide in parking lots and sob in our pickup trucks. I kept thinking: “Why is this happening to me?”

The answer I came up with was simply this. We made it. We, my generation, the generation who watched the Berlin Wall come down and celebrated and then watched the whole world lose its collective mind and despaired, had maybe made it to the end of that terrible, shortsighted, speculator-driven, utterly selfish and self-serving pendulum swing.”

It is easy to see why the Kootenays has been a focus of NDP support for many years, with a representative such as this. With the BC election coming up in a few short weeks, we can only hope for such honesty from those we choose to elect.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.