(from l) Fraser-Nicola candidates Aaron Sumexheltza (BC NDP), Jonah Timms (BC Green Party), Mike Bhangu (Independent), Dennis Adamson (Independent), and Jackie Tegart (BC Liberals) physically distancing after the All Candidates Forum in Ashcroft on Oct. 15. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

(from l) Fraser-Nicola candidates Aaron Sumexheltza (BC NDP), Jonah Timms (BC Green Party), Mike Bhangu (Independent), Dennis Adamson (Independent), and Jackie Tegart (BC Liberals) physically distancing after the All Candidates Forum in Ashcroft on Oct. 15. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Candidates face questions about health care, housing, and more

All five Fraser-Nicola candiates were at a forum in Ashcroft on Oct. 15

The five people running in the Fraser-Nicola riding were in Ashcroft on Oct. 15 for an All Candidates Forum. During the two-hour event, the candidates were asked a range of questions about mostly local issues, and had an opportunity to direct one question at one of their opponents. Each candidate also fielded questions directed at them alone, and had three minutes to introduce themselves and two minutes to wrap up.

Dennis Adamson, who is running as an Independent candidate, said that B.C.’s political parties are self-serving, which is why he chose to run as an independent voice for small towns and the people of Fraser-Nicola. He said that he would, if elected, support good ideas no matter which party they came from.

Mike Bhangu, also running as an Independent, acknowledged that he was an underdog, but said that he would speak truth to power and stand up for voters in Victoria. He said that fully functioning hospitals, as well as drug treatment centres, were priorities throughout the region.

Aaron Sumexheltza, representing the BC NDP, said he would fight for all communities across the riding to make sure they were represented in Victoria. He said that the BC NDP would meet the challenge of the climate crisis and keep B.C. moving forward for everyone.

Incumbent Jackie Tegart, of the BC Liberal Party, mentioned her years of public service as a school district trustee and an Ashcroft councillor before becoming MLA in 2013. She noted the challenges facing British Columbians, and said that the Liberals have a plan to move everyone in the province forward.

Jonah Timms, standing for the BC Green Party, noted the importance of working on relationships with First Nations and dealing with climate change. He also said that the BC Liberals have created a mess when it comes to B.C.’s natural resources, and that the NDP has failed to clean up that mess.

The candidates were asked questions about the Ashcroft Hospital emergency department, as well as the long delay in getting seniors’ housing built in Clinton. Sumexheltza said the NDP are committed to hiring more health care staff and increasing funding for health care, while Timms said the Greens would fight for health care services that had been cut in small communities. Bhangu said that government had to stop treating rural residents as second class citizens, and Adamson said it was crucial to have more hospital services available throughout the riding. Tegart said she recognized the challenges around health care and would continue to fight for services, and would also hold Interior Health to account.

All the candidates acknowledged the importance of more housing, including seniors’ housing, and the need to build more in a timely manner. Tegart noted that the Liberals promised funding for Clinton seniors’ housing in 2017, while Sumexheltza said that the NDP is committed to building new, public long-term care homes where people can get quality care.

A question directed at Tegart asked about the Liberal’s plan to eliminate PST for a year and then reinstate it at a lower rate, and how small businesses would cope with the cost of retooling computer systems and cash registers. She said that the PST move was one that small businesses and Chambers of Commerce have been asking for, and that the Liberals would work with businesses to deal with the transition. Sumexheltza said that the PST plan favoured the wealthy, and that the NDP was committed to providing direct benefits ($1,000 to most families, $500 to most single people) to the people who actually needed it. Bhangu said that the Liberals and NDP were throwing crumbs at people, and Timms said that massive, blanket tax cuts would not support the people who needed it most.

Responding to how they would help Cache Creek and other communities be proactive, rather than reactive, in dealing with natural disasters, Adamson said he would work with the federal government for funding, while Tegart said we need to accelerate efforts on climate adaptation to meet risks from fire and floods. Sumexheltza talked about the NDP’s CleanBC climate plan, Timms noted the need to address climate change, and Bhangu said grant money for dealing with disasters should be easier to access.

All five candidates noted the importance of fast, reliable Internet access in rural areas, and they also agreed on the need to work to promote and rejuvenate the Fraser Canyon highway, something Adamson said he has been working on as an electoral area director with the Fraser Valley Regional District. Tegart said the Liberals have partnered with First Nations, tourism groups, and people from Hope to Cache Creek to develop a master tourism plan for the corridor, and Sumexheltza and Timms spoke of the need to meet with communities, listen to them, and see what can be done for the highway.

All five candidates spoke in favour of the Rural Dividend Fund, which was curtailed by the NDP in September 2019, although only Sumexheltza stopped short of saying he would explicitly support bringing the fund back.

Other questions were asked about electric vehicle charging infrastructure, more training facilities for health care workers, the Ashcroft Slough Society and its goal of regaining access to the slough lands, First Nations relations, and dealing with the record deficit. A final question asked how each candidate would maintain a visible and meaningful presence in all areas of the riding and take its issues and challenges back to Victoria.

To view the entire All Candidates Forum, go to https://bit.ly/2TaDN4a. Advance voting in the 2020 provincial election has now ended, and general voting day is on Saturday, Oct. 24. For a list of voting sites throughout Fraser-Nicola, go to https://bit.ly/35fYQYV.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Votes 2020Election 2020

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

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

Dr. Albert de Villiers, Chief Medical Health Officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
‘People need to start listening’: IH top doc combats COVID-19 misconceptions

Dr. Albert de Villiers says light at the end of the tunnel will grow in step with people’s adherence to PHO guidance

One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

Even though the CP Holiday Train is not running this year, CP has made donations to the food banks along its usual routes (including the one in Ashcroft), and will also be broadcasting a special live Holiday Train concert on Dec. 12. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
CP Holiday Train rolling into homes with a virtual concert

CP has made donations to all the food banks that would normally benefit from the annual event

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Update: Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections, 4 in ICU

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital, 4 in intensive care

A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 is Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
First Nations Leadership Council demands justice for victims of B.C. social worker

Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls actions of Robert Saunders ‘nothing short of complete depravity’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Montreal Alouettes’ Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a ‘laggard’ on homophobia in sports

Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who’ve come out to teammates reported being victimized

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Information about the number of COVID-19 cases in Abbotsford and other municipalities poses a danger to the public, the Provincial Health Services Authority says. (Photo: Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
More city-level COVID-19 data would jeopardize public health, B.C. provincial health agency says

Agency refuses to release weekly COVID-19 case counts, citing privacy and public health concerns

Most Read