1) What is your background, and why are you running?
Issues around affordability, shrinking wages, and a lack of opportunities for young people have caused me to have grave concerns for the future of young families and seniors, while those of us in the middle feel squeezed. Canadians want, and deserve, real change. I am here to fight for that and them.
I have extensive private sector experience ranging from logistics to cost control, negotiations, mediation, and conflict resolution. This is backed up by a lifetime of community service. I have been a resident of Mission since 1978, and lived in the Thompson-Nicola in the 1990s. I spend a great deal of time in the back country of our riding. I know the people and the landscape well.
2) What do you see as the top three issues facing the riding?
a) Day to day affordability is key. It will be tackled through proven fiscal strategies that lower the tax burden for ALL people and lower costs on items such as fuel, cellphones, and groceries by eliminating taxation and regulatory barriers that drive costs upwards and only protect corporations.
b) Housing affordability is huge. It will be improved by easing housing demand, and the upward price surge, by admitting fewer immigrants with an emphasis on economic immigrants who are in demand and can contribute most to our country’s needs. Forty per cent of the 350,000 people we admit each year are sent to the GTA and Metro Vancouver. These market forces ripple across the riding and affect us all.
c) Infrastructure support for communities has been sorely lacking for years, and rural needs are often not the same as urban ones. I have learned of the desperate shortage of cellphone coverage up and down the Canyon and how lives are at stake because of this. Public-private partnerships with the phone companies can fix this, where a 50/50 sharing of the cost to build AND low-cost, long-term land leasing on Crown land can make it economically viable for the service providers. Once elected, this is a commitment I am specifically making to our constituents.
3) How will you balance dealing with the different needs and challenges of large Fraser Valley communities and small rural ones in a very large riding?
Accessibility is the answer. The only way to fully understand and address issues is through face-to-face contact with people. That is the best way to fully understand the needs of such a mosaic of people and cultures in this truly breathtaking riding.
I take pride in the commitment to making constituents my top priority. I have discussed how I might build a mobile constituency office that will travel throughout the riding, and how I must be as available as possible, in person. It is my promise. Hold me to it.