COLUMN: Lack of vision from those who would cancel Bush

An attempt by a Saskatoon blogger and others to prevent former U.S. president George W. Bush from appearing at next month’s Surrey Regional Economic Summit is a classic exhibition of shortsightedness.
It also shows how many people have such closed minds that they refuse to consider there is more than one side on most issues.

An attempt by a Saskatoon blogger and others to prevent former U.S. president George W. Bush from appearing at next month’s Surrey Regional Economic Summit is a classic exhibition of shortsightedness.

It also shows how many people have such closed minds that they refuse to consider there is more than one side on most issues.

This myopia may help them feel secure in their opinions, but it does little to promote understanding of complicated issues, and of differing perspectives.

Bush, a Republican, is scheduled to appear on stage with former president Bill Clinton​, a Democrat, on Oct. 20. Bush succeeded Clinton in occupying the White House, and together, the two presidents headed the world’s most powerful government for 16 years, from 1993 to 2009.

To have both of them in Surrey for an economic summit is a tremendous coup for this city. The period they were in charge of the U.S. government was critical in setting the economic stage for today. Their insights are of great value.

It is revealing, but not surprising, that there seems to be no concern about Clinton appearing in Surrey. This is obviously due to his politics, and the fact that he is not associated with the unpopular war in Iraq.

Bush was president of the U.S. at the time of 9/11, as has been noted extensively in recent weeks, during the 10th anniversary of that horrible attack.

Bush created the Department of Homeland Security​, which has continued to boost efforts by the U.S. government to prevent terrorists from entering their country. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq followed. The Afghan​ conflict, which continues, involved many Canadians and it was just earlier this year that Canada’s military role in Afghanistan ended.

Both he and Clinton presided over economic boom times in the U.S., and in the latter part of his presidency, Bush had to deal with the subprime mortgage crisis and the near-collapse of the U.S. banking system.

To hear firsthand about these times, and the decisions that were made, is of enormous benefit to the investors, business people and decision-makers who will attend the summit.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair​ was keynote speaker at an earlier Surrey summit, and was a controversial choice as well. He added immeasurably to the value of the event, and helped ensure that it continues to be regarded as one of the top business forums in B.C. each year.

To have two former presidents attend and speak will boost the value of the summit even further. It is vital that Surrey get the word out to those beyond the city borders of the economic opportunities that are available here.

Whether it is the scorn of downtown Vancouver elitists, or the indifference of eastern money changers, Surrey has had to struggle in the past to get that message out.

The summits have helped tremendously to change that perspective, and Mayor Dianne Watts and organizers deserve a lot of credit. Surrey has a very bright future, and a good deal of future economic activity will be directly related to the city’s position on the U.S. border and to U.S.-Canada trade relationships.

It would be very unfortunate if a few people with political axes to grind derail this event. Those who care about Surrey’s future and don’t get enmeshed in political shortsightedness are more broadminded and forward-thinking. Hopefully, they will prevail, and both former presidents will make this year’s Surrey Regional Economic Summit the best ever.

Column by Frank Bucholtz, editor of the Langley Times.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Car giveaway set for MEI on Friday

One lucky alumni member will receive a new Mazda 3

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

Sasquatch Mountain Aussie Day celebration raises $800

Proceeds of bikini runs, toonie tosses and more go to wildfire victims

Abbotsford Police issue 81 speeding tickets in school zones over 2 days

‘30 in 30’ traffic-enforcement blitz took place last Thursday and Friday

Salvation Army kettle campaign raises $121,000 in Abbotsford

Christmas fundraising up $20,000 over previous year

VIDEO: Chilliwack arson victim lights up rural property like a runway

Chris Thompson had enough after twice having barns torched in suspicious circumstances

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read