For this year’s provincial election, The Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal and The Hope Standard asked all four candidates in the Fraser-Nicola riding several questions, and their answers follow. The questions were:
1) Your current occupation and place of residence.
2) Have you ever held elected office before? If so, what and when? If this is your first time running in provincial politics, what prompted you to run?
3) What do you see as the top two or three issues in Fraser-Nicola, and how would you address them?
4) What makes you the best candidate for Fraser-Nicola?
General voting day is May 9. Advance voting is taking place in Ashcroft (Community Hall) on May 5 and 6; Cache Creek (Community Hall) on May 6; and Clinton (Memorial Hall) on May 5 and 6. Voting hours on each day are 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
1) Government/Aboriginal relations consultant and communications expert based out of Merritt. Currently working as a contractor for the AP group of companies.
2) I was elected MLA four times, appointed Minister of Transportation and Highways, and served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests. I also served on Merritt city council as “alderman”, as the position was then called. I’m running again because I feel I can defeat the current Liberal MLA who has been “missing in action” on major issues such as local mill closures, the removal of the bridge in Spences Bridge, siding against the “Friends of the Nicola Valley” on the dumping of bio-sludge, and her inability to improve the services at the Ashcroft ER. She has to be defeated. Fraser-Nicola needs a fighter, a strong voice to speak out for us, not someone who mimics the excuses from Victoria.
3) BC Hydro rates are out of control. The BC Liberals took our most valued Crown Corporation and have destroyed it. I have people showing me $700, $900, and even $1,600 to $1,700 Hydro bills. They are not living in mansions; they are in 12-feet wide manufactured homes and regular houses like the rest of us. This has to stop! The NDP will freeze BC Hydro rates.
Rural health care. The Liberals decimated our local health care, closing hospitals and under-funding those that remained open. The Liberal idea of “capital investment” in Fraser-Nicola is a sign to tell the people of Ashcroft “where to go”. No one voted for that. After 2005, even though I was an opposition MLA, the community and I fought back and had success in slowing down and stopping the Liberals’ 2001 cuts; but this MLA has remained silent, and service has eroded further. Instead we get excuses, not representation. I will speak out, fight back, and I will not be silenced until we win back service levels in our towns that work for us!
Jobs. The Mayor of Merritt, Neil Menard, told The Globe and Mail that the talk of Canada’s best economy is not true. We saw Liberals close mills in Boston Bar, Lytton, and now Merritt. They say nothing to stop it, but they say “thank you” when the mill owners cut donation cheques to their election campaigns. Join me to fight back and have timber cut from our valleys processed in our local mills!
4) I possess 30+ years’ experience in public service, and a proven track record of delivering for Fraser-Nicola, from building schools and pools to saving mills and the jobs they provide so our small businesses have customers and our children have parents who can give them decent living standards. It can happen again, but not if we cave into everything Christy Clark’s corporate donors want.
The Liberals have sold out to big money and are bought and paid for. It’s time to send them packing.