B.C. Election: MLA candidates on their priorities

We put questions to Kamloops' MLA candidates on post-secondary, the economy and health care

British Columbians will go the polls May 9. We put a series of questions to the candidates from both of Kamloops’ electoral districts on everything from post-secondary education to health care and the economy.

Other topics: University fundingEconomy – Priorities – Private moneyHealth care

WE ASKED:

A number of issues are already on the table for this election. Which one of them can you not wait to see your party tackle, and how do you imagine yourself providing input and taking action on that issue?

Peter Milobar (Kamloops-North) and Todd Stone (Kamloops-South) – BC Liberals

In their response, Stone and Milobar said their top issue this election is to secure good-paying jobs for British Columbians. The foundation of the BC liberals plan is to have a strong, growing and diverse economy.

In their response they said since 2011, the BC Liberals have advanced BC’s economic growth from fourth to first and have helped BC achieve Canada’s lowest unemployment rate.

“As your MLAs, our priority is maintaining that momentum – continuing to grow our economy, facilitating investment, investing in critical services and infrastructure all while keeping taxes low,” said the Liberal candidates.

Barb Nederpel (Kamloops-North) – BC NDP

For Nederpel, her top issue this campaign is the availability of child care, which she believes directly affects workforce participation.

“Costs are so high right now that we see a deterrent for young parents to go to school or even enter the workforce, and that’s not right,” she said.

If the government was to invest in $10 a day child care, the province would see benefits in greater workforce participation, and the government revenue and economic activity that that will generate, Nederpel said.

Dan Hines (Kamloops-North) – BC Green Party

Hines and the BC Green Party’s top issue this election is changing the rules surrounding “big money” in BC politics. Specifically they are looking to reform the rules that govern political contributions and how vested interests can access and lobby political leaders.

“BC has been internationally described as the “wild west” of modern democracies for its lax, ineffective and non-existent regulations relating to the influence of special interests on government,” Hines said.

The Greens will will prohibit the current lobby practices, ban cash-for-access events, ban donations from corporations, unions and non-residents of BC, and place annual limits on individual donations.

Peter Kerek (Kamloops-North) – Communist Party of B.C.

For Kerek, unemployment, underemployment and poverty are this election’s top issues. Kerek has multiple suggestions for fixing such issues including implementing a guaranteed minimum income, raising the minimum wage to match the living wage ($20/hr), mass construction of affordable housing, doubling social assistance and disability rates, or a combination of these policies.

“But, the real struggle in implementing these types of progressive policies is that they undermine the usefulness of poverty to the capitalist class,” Kerek said. “If there weren’t an abundance of impoverished citizens, as well as the threat of poverty to middle-income citizens, then the capitalist class would find it much harder to demand more from workers while offering less.”

Nancy Bepple (Kamloops-South) – BC NDP

Bepple said that she’s committed to ensuring B.C. seniors are able to live secure, comfortable lives, living at home and independently for as long as possible.

When seniors do require assisted living placements, she said that the province must ensure that seniors’ needs are met, and that facilities are fully staffed and that medical and personal care needs are met in public seniors’ residences.

“Our seniors deserve a government that enforces minimum standards of care in assisted living facilities,” she said.

Beat Klossner (Kamloops-South) – Communist Party of B.C.

According to Klossner, no single issue is without connection to another issue.

“The lack of health care professionals, for example, is not just linked to a lack of funding, cuts and sneaking privatization. It is also an effect of the rising costs of post-secondary education,” Klossner said.

He said that issues have to be approached with the big picture in mind.

Donovan Cavers (Kamloops-South) – BC Green Party

No response was provided.

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