Linda Larson

Linda Larson is the MLA for Boundary-Similkameen, which includes Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls.

Before abruptly ending the interview, local MLA Linda Larson mused last week on CBC Radio about “outside influences” driving the proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen national park reserve.

Her interview with CBC Daybreak South host Chris Walker aired July 3, the day after the province, federal government and two First Nations announced they were moving ahead with the park planning process.

Larson, who represents the Liberals in Boundary-Similkameen, complained in a telephone interview the B.C. government had ignored the interests of locals who favour other forms of environmental protection.

“I’m also very concerned about outside influences that are actually pushing this thing forward. Most of the support for this park is coming from outside of the area and from conservation groups from all over the country and the world, and I have great concerns about that.”

Asked by Walker to elaborate, Larson spun off in a different direction.

“International money lobbying is also part of pushing (sic) in British Columbia right now. And, more importantly, the premier and this government are not listening to rural British Columbians,” said Larson.

“This is another example of urbanites pushing rural land use planning onto the rural residents of B.C., and it’s happening all over the province as you well know.”

Asked again by the host to elaborate, Larson turned defensive.

“Chris, you have followed a lot of these different groups, everything from Greenpeace onwards, the list is extensive. You are well aware that the money to fund them always comes from, as a general rule, outside the country. I’m not interested in discussing that with you. My concern is what’s happening here in the South Okanagan. It’s the fact that the provincial government has once again ignored the people who live in rural British Columbia, and that’s the issue,” she said.

“But you raised outside influence. I didn’t bring it up; you brought it up. So I just think maybe that deserves some followup,” Walker replied.

“I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me this morning, Chris, but I have to move on. Thank you very much,” Larson said before hanging up.

Walker said later it marked the first time in his 12 years as a radio host that someone had hung up on him.

Larson didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday from the Herald.