I am a lawyer with the Nicola Valley Indigenous Justice Centre in Merritt, where I live with my wife and our newborn son.
I am a councillor with the Lower Nicola Indian Band and was honoured to serve as chief. During my two terms, we worked with communities to put a moratorium on harmful biosolids entering the Nicola Valley, installed the largest community solar power system in the province, and worked hard to build economic development opportunities for our region.
People in our region are struggling. Not only are they dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19, but mill closures in rural B.C. and decades of Liberal inaction have meant that people face the tough choice between leaving their communities or staying with limited employment opportunities. I chose the NDP because they are supporting the forestry sector and working to ensure communities benefit. There’s more work to do. I am running to be a strong voice for our region and ensure there are good jobs in Fraser-Nicola.
Health care and housing are two key issues. Limited staffing hours, with doctor and nursing shortages, have resulted in emergency room closures. Many residents are struggling to find or afford housing that works for them, and this impacts health care when they struggle to find housing. The Liberals cut funding to the services we depend on. The NDP has already taken the first steps by investing in health care and housing, but you can’t fix 16 years of neglect in three years. We have committed to hiring more doctors, nurses, and health professionals, building more hospitals and Urgent Primary Care Centres across the province. The NDP government already invested historic amounts in housing for low- and middle-income earners, including seniors, and has committed to the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C.’s history: more than $7 billion over 10 years.
For too long, we’ve seen family, friends, and neighbours forced to wait for quality health care or travel to larger centres to get it. That’s why we have made commitments to expand a whole range of health care services in rural B.C. After years of BC Liberal underfunding, John Horgan and health minister Adrian Dix have taken steps to deliver the care British Columbians need. I’m particularly excited about the promise to build a cancer treatment centre in Kamloops. Our friends and family will be closer to the care they need, saving them time and money while improving care.
I was born and raised here, from a ranching family. I love this area and the people. As a practicing lawyer of 14 years, I fought to ensure Residential School survivors get the support they need. I have a long history of helping the communities of this region grow and thrive. If elected, I will work hard every day to bring economic development opportunities to our riding and ensure every community in Fraser-Nicola has a strong voice in an NDP government.