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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

JOHN TWIGG -- She is a pillar of integrity and honesty and decency, she's also one hell of a political warrior, and her presence here will be missed


Retiring Delta South MLA
Vicki Huntington

There will be no Vicki Huntington in the BC Legislature after the May 9th general election.  The Delta South MLA, who won victory twice as an Independent, announced several weeks back this will be her last term

John Twigg, a former journalist who specialized in covering the BC legislature, came to appreciate Ms Huntington's insightful comments, and pointed questions, whenever she had an opportunity to make them, as well as her excellent responsiveness to constituents' concerns.

"I've been watching the B.C. Legislature for about 50 years now and Vicki is by far the best Independent MLA I've ever seen," said Twigg, comparing her constructive contributions to the work of Oak Bay Conservative MLA Dr. Scott Wallace in the 1970s.

The great value of Huntington's service also was noted in the Legislature by veteran NDP MLA Leonard Krog, who stood spontaneously and broke some rules to give her a glowing tribute: "...if this was the quality of MLA that was elected to every Legislature in this great country, we would indeed be able to say, with absolute confidence, that this is the greatest nation on the face of the earth."

Twigg noted it was regrettable, but telling, that no one from the governing Liberal side of the Legislature rose to echo Krog's remarks.  He went on to staste that, "It reflects the fact that Huntington so often made life difficult for the Liberals, by often daring to speak truth to their abuses of power.  Most recently this was the government's attempted cover-ups of its scandalous fundraising activities which Huntington was attempting to thwart via a Private Members' Bill."


BC Liberal Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson did eventually deliver a few kind words towards her ... but not until mid-afternoon.

"It was Vicki's admirable style to always tell the truth and that included her making allegations that the governing party's fund-raising tactics had reached a level warranting the label of corrupt," said Twigg, citing two recent interviews she did on radio station CKNW.


Below are excerpts from the preliminary Hansard transcripts of her remarks, then Krog's full comments.  BC Leg March 14 -- MESSAGE OF APPRECIATION

V. Huntington: I do have a couple of introductions to make, but I would like to preface my introductions with the comment that this is unexpectedly my last day in the House. I did want to take the opportunity to thank all my colleagues for the incredible respect and assistance that you have all shown me. I appreciate the help. I appreciate the honour of being able to serve my constituency in a rather unique opportunity over the last eight years. I just wanted to thank you and the House for your kindness. [Applause.]

Introductions by Members

V. Huntington: Thank you again for your generosity. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce a number of people from the riding today. Firstly, Bernadette Kudzin and Yvonne Parenteau, who are my trusty constituency assistants; Phil Horan, who is my riding association president; Nicholas Wong and Lindsay Gorman — Nicholas is stepping into the ring and running as an independent in Delta South: and lastly, Ken Davie, one of Delta's remarkable dairy farmers and the subject of one of my member's statements. He is a highly regarded former volunteer fire chief and well respected throughout the municipality. I would like the House to make them all welcome.

Tributes

SERVICE AS INDEPENDENT MLA BY VICKI HUNTINGTON

L. Krog: I must confess a certain distress this morning, given the words of the member for Delta South, who had mentioned to a couple of us that, unfortunately, this was likely to be her last day. Of course, I immediately went to the rules that say you're not allowed to talk about the presence or absence of a member. I wondered whether it would extend to potential absences.

I don't think she should have to give her own swan song, so I am asking the House's indulgence for just about 30 seconds or a minute or so.

There's a pantheon of great MLAs in the history of this province who sat as independents. The most obvious one is the late, great Tom Uphill, who represented Fernie for many, many years.

The member for Delta South, I think, has demonstrated an incredible example to everyone in this House of civility and integrity. She, in all of her remarks and all of her speeches, emphasized the importance of our relationship to the land and the sea and the creatures who dwell upon it and the soil that we rely on to produce our food.

She was incredible defender of the values, I think, that are shared by most British Columbians.

So I just don't want her to leave here today, having to announce her own parting, without the opportunity at least for someone to stand up and say in this chamber that if this was the quality of MLA that was elected to every Legislature in this great country, we would indeed be able to say, with absolute confidence, that this is the greatest nation on the face of the earth. In her absence, we will struggle on as best we can, us lesser mortals.

I couldn't finish my remarks without also reminding the members of this House, particularly those of you who haven't been here as long as some of us, that not only did she just manage to win twice, running as an independent; she actually took down the then Attorney General of the province of British Columbia. Now that, hon. Speaker, is no mean political feat.

So at the same time that she is a pillar of integrity and honesty and decency, she's also one hell of a political warrior, and her presence here will be missed.

Thank you, Vicki Huntington.

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