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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Federal Politics: Scott Fast – A Voice For Social Democracy In The Valley For 40 years

Federal Politics: Scott Fast – A Voice For Social Democracy In The Valley For 40 years

David Murray, reporting for Today, met with Scott Fast, University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Political Science Professor and ex-NDP candidate, to talk about Canadian politics, society and the Fraser Valley.
By David Murray.
David Murray: Thanks for inviting me over to your house to do this interview for the Today Scott!
Scott Fast: It is always nice to see you David and I am looking forward to sharing some of my memories with your readers.
Scott Fast ... way back when
DM: Scott, I heard you were born in the United States? SF: Yes, I was born in Seattle Washington.
DM: How long did you live in Seattle?
SF: I lived in Seattle 22 years. I went to high school at Mt. Rainer High School in South Seattle and then went on to attend the University of Washington.
DM: Did you play sports at Mt. Rainer?
SF: I played football and baseball at Mt. Rainer. At the U of W I played rugby.
DM: What position in football and baseball did you play at Mt. Rainer?
SF: I was a slow wide receiver at Mt. Rainer , and a catcher in baseball. This probably accounts for my bad knees now.
DM: When did you come to Canada?
SF: I came to Vancouver to attend U.B.C. It was to get my Masters in Political Science , that was in the early 1970′s.
DM: Did you consider yourself a Democrat when you lived in the United States?
SF: Yes I did consider myself a Democrat, I voted against Richard Nixon in 1968 and attended a lecture-speech done by Robert Kennedy just a couple of weeks before he was assassinated. That was such a shame, he would have been a very good president!
DM: When did you finish your Masters at U.B.C.?
SF: It was in 1974.
DM: How did you become aware of Fraser Valley College and what led you to apply for a teaching position at the College?
SF: My sister Sharon Fast (Wettstien) was living in Aldergrove in 1974. She saw a small ad in the local paper about the school wanting to hire a political science professor . She phoned me at UBC to let me know about the opening. I went out to the college to apply right away in 1974. They told me they were only having a few classes offered that year but encouraged me to apply in 1975 , that is when the college were going to hire a full faculty. I did exactly that and I became a full-time political science professor that September.
DM: You coached soccer at Fraser Valley College for many years, you had a lot of success at the school as the Head Varsity Soccer Coach!
Scott Fast ... today
SF: Yes, I did not know a lot about soccer when I was first hired at the college, my son Tom started playing soccer when he was about five years old when we lived in Chilliwack . I coached him until he was about 16 . I was the President of Chilliwack Minor Soccer for a lot of that time so I had a chance to learn a fair bit about the game. This made my decision a simple one so when the Athletic Director Jane Antil approached me to coach the Varsity Men’s Soccer team in 1987 I was happy to take on the challenge. DM: I was involved in Fraser Valley College’s first basketball game in 1986. The school I was coaching at Capilano College beat FVC 122-118. I still remember Kenny Braich scoring 39 points against us . Your first school soccer game was against who?
SF: It was against Langara, they were a power in the B.C.C.A.A , we lost 1-0 and put forward a respectable effort.
DM: When did your school’s first win come?
SF: It came in our first year, it was the last game of the year. It was a 2-1 win vs Selkirk College in Castlegar.
DM: Did your team ever win the B.C. Championship?
SF: Yes, we won in 1995, we beat Douglas College in final 2-0. We went on to win a Bronze Medal at the Nationals in Medicine Hat Alberta with our only loss of the tournament coming at the hands of Calgary’s Mt.Royal College.
DM: Tom was your first child, I know you have two other children.
SF: Yes , I have another son who is my youngest, his name is Travis. Katherine who is the middle child, was a stud of a soccer player at FVC, she was either 1st or 2nd team All-Province every year she played at FVC. She later went on to play at Dalhousie University at the age of 29 years while she was attaining her law degree. I am also a proud grandparent. All three of my kids have daughters. Travis’s daughter is named Anais, Tom’s daughter is named Lexi, and Katherine’s daughter is named Chole.
DM: You have a lovely wife?
SF: Yes, her name is Evita (Rintjema) Fast. She has been very supportive of everything I have accomplished.
DM: When you first came to the Fraser Valley you lived in Chilliwack, were you involved with the NDP back then?
SF: I have been involved with the Party since 1979. I was nominated to run as a candidate provincially in 1983 and again in 1986?
DM: This was a great opportunity for someone who loved politics to get involved. How did you feel about the experience?
SF: It was a very rewarding and learning experience. Being a political science professor , this gave me a opportunity to learn first-hand at the grass roots level about politics in our province.
DM: You were involved politically at the University as well ?
SF: Yes that was from 2004-2008. I was the President of the Staff Association of the Fraser Valley University.
DM: I know you ran Federally for the NDP ? What year was that?
SF: It was in 2004. Evita and I moved to Abbotsford in 1998 so when the Federal Election was called in 2004 I was nominated and ran in the Abbotsford riding?
DM: How did you do?
SF: We went from 3.7% support in 2000 to 13.9% in 2004. This was one of the largest percentage gains in the country that year!
DM: Do you see the NDP doing well in the next federal election?
SF: I think we going to do well. We have had more time, have garnered more volunteer support and have raised more money than we have ever done before in this riding. I think we are poised to make a big breakthrough! Everyday rank and file hard-working voters in Abbotsford have had enough and want change. A lot of new people have moved into the era. They are young first time home owners and have a tendency to vote for the NDP.
DM: What do you think of Jack Layton?
SF: I think he is perhaps in the top 3 leaders our party has ever had!
DM: The NDP look to be making some breakthrough’s in Quebec? Do you think there will be a Quebec caucus for the NDP ?
SF: Yes, there is a good possibility of 4-6 seats in that province. My son Tom lives there and he is saying that the NDP is sitting around 22-23 % in the popular vote, that is higher than the national average of 20%.
DM: In closing Scott, you have given so much of your life as a champion of social democracy in the Fraser Valley the last 40 years. Do you have a message you would like to say to our “Today” readers?
SF: In brief let me say this. We are at a real crossroads on what kind of society Canada wants to be. Do we want to continue to dismantle the Canada which has clearly been the past agenda’s of both the Liberal and Conservative governments? With this path and the policies that have been put in place by the “far right” we will see our country much like what has happened in the United States, contribute to the destruction and eroding of the middle class which has clearly pitted the super rich in a day to day battle against the rest of us.
It has been increasing clear to me that the NDP is the only party seeking to preserve and promote a society where economic fairness and social justice prevail.
DM: Great words of wisdom Scott!
David Murray
David Murray is the Federal NDP candidate for Abbotsford. He is the political columnist for theToday. He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter @ DavidMurray4NDP

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