Ahead of this October’s provincial election, Black Press Media asked your candidates what they believe the biggest issues are facing the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding and the province. Here are their responses.
Florian Castle – Communist: The issues I believe are most important are the housing crisis, the criminal invasion of sovereign Wet’suwet’en land by the NDP government, the climate crisis, the public health crisis, and the economic crisis which was triggered but not caused by the pandemic.
The effects of the housing crisis can be seen right here in Oak Bay-Gordon Head. Rising rent has been particularly hard on university students, but also on working-class families. Though the climate emergency has at times taken a backseat to the public health crisis in public discourse, I believe it is as relevant as ever.
In power, not only would the Communist party take additional measures to ensure the physical and economic well-being of British Columbians during the ongoing economic and health crises, but we would also seek to ensure the long-term health of the planet by immediately taking measures to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible. One such measure would be the immediate halting of the ongoing invasion of Wet’suwet’en territory. By violating the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, the colonial government is preventing them from fulfilling their essential and ongoing role as stewards of the land. There can be no environmentalism without decolonization.
Nicole Duncan – Green: In Oak Bay-Gordon Head access to integrated healthcare supports including the shortage of primary care doctors, mental health supports for youth and quality and affordable seniors care are key issues. All children deserve access to quality, inclusive and accessible public education.
I will push for adequate and predictable funding to address equity issues in the system and to maintain effective programs to meet the diverse needs of our children. Like most areas of our province affordability is a major challenge for many people in our riding. I will work with other levels of government to address affordability and the housing crisis. Action to address climate change cannot wait. We need to heavily invest in a green conversion and innovation now. Investing in our future means protecting our environment and this includes safeguarding our water, air and land and rethinking how we manage our natural resources.
I’m committed to supporting a responsive and accountable government and that requires elected representatives to work effectively together across party lines in order to move our province forward toward a more equitable and sustainable future.
Roxanne Helme – Liberal: Voters are looking for a strong economic recovery action plan with emphasis on the private sector. They understand that our first-class public sector cannot thrive on the back of a devastated private sector. Business activity needs to be stimulated for the economy to grow. Many question whether the NDP has the tools to do economic recovery.
Voters desperately want effective and measurable policies to address homelessness, mental health, addictions and public safety. There is no shortage of compassion for our neighbours who are struggling but dangerous tent cities are no solution. Tent cities – that have increased dramatically during the NDP term in office – do not provide real homes, and are not sustainable. We can and we must do better.
I also hear from voters who tell me they are angry we are having this unnecessary and opportunistic election in the midst of a pandemic. This is a time when people are looking to their government to help lead through the crisis and ease our worries, not add to them. Voters are upset that the NDP is using the pandemic and our non-partisan public health leaders to their political advantage.
Murray Rankin – NDP: There’s no doubt this pandemic has presented unique challenges for so many of us. We all want a government that is going to build an economic recovery that works for everyone, while protecting the health and well-being of British Columbians.
I’ve joined John Horgan’s team so we can continue to do just that, as well as deliver more of the much-needed services in our community. Building on the work already done, like the four new Urgent Primary Care Centres on the South Island, we’ll launch a new medical school to train more doctors and health care professionals, so everyone can access quality healthcare when they need it. Affordability is top of mind in our community. That’s why a re-elected BC NDP government will expand $10-a-day child care to even more families and provide direct support to British Columbians through the pandemic recovery benefit.
These commitments build on the progress we’ve made to improve health care, create jobs and opportunities, and make life more affordable. And because it is critical that we take action to protect this beautiful place we call home, we will continue to move forward with CleanBC – the most ambitious climate action plan in North America.
Election day is Oct. 24 with advance polls open Oct. 15 to 21 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Find more election coverage online at oakbaynews.com/tag/bc-votes-2020.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.