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ELECTION 2020: Candidates outline top issues facing Victoria-Swan Lake

Advance voting opens Oct. 15, ahead of the Oct. 24 election

Ahead of this October’s provincial election, Black Press Media asked your candidates what they believe the biggest issues are facing the Victoria-Swan Lake riding and the province. Here are their responses.

Rob Fleming

Rob Fleming – NDP: Keeping our province among the world’s safest places during the global pandemic remains the number one priority. Strong public health leadership and science-based decision making have served us well to support families, communities, businesses and vital services like education to adapt and safely operate under the ‘new normal.’

B.C. has rolled out programs to alleviate economic stress and assist businesses to preserve and create jobs. Accelerated infrastructure investment is critically important for a strong economic recovery. Our Clean BC climate plan supports low carbon or net-zero emissions projects.

We’ve begun to successfully connect more people to a family doctor. The new urgent primary care centres deliver better and faster care, attach people to doctors, and take pressure off emergency rooms. We’ve created 21 UPCC’s, including Saanich, Victoria, and Esquimalt. Opening a second medical school will ensure we don’t face another shortage of healthcare professionals.

Housing affordability and childcare are also key. We’ve opened an average of 750 new childcare spaces in B.C. every month for three years. We’ve completed or approved 3,500 homes in the Capital Region. This positive momentum allows us to build even more new affordable housing for working families, seniors, students and vulnerable people.

Annemieke Holthuis

Annemieke Holthuis – Green: I’m running for the BC Greens because I believe to make communities stronger, we need to focus on what connects us, rather than the things that divide us. I value collaboration, integrity and ethical leadership. We need more voices in the Legislative Assembly that support the core principles of the BC Green Party, including social justice, respect for diversity and participatory democracy and a real commitment to the environment.

B.C. is going through the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis and the climate crisis. To solve such complex matters requires having everyone at the table to identify the issues, look at what works and arrive at clear, practical and workable solutions. With my skills and experience, and as a Green MLA, I believe I can represent the residents of Victoria-Swan Lake and B.C., to help bring people and communities together. As the mother of four daughters, I want to build safer, healthier and more sustainable communities now and in the future.

For 30 years I worked as a legal advisor to the Government of Canada on human rights and criminal law reform. I have served on the boards of local organizations that promote the social determinants of health, including mental health.

David Somerville

David Somerville – BC Liberal: This election, we need a government that will prioritize students and families when it comes to addressing affordability. Whether it be the broken promise of cancelling the $400 Renter’s Rebate, the delayed construction of affordable housing units, or the skyrocketing ICBC rates for young and experienced drivers, the NDP government has continued to make life unaffordable for everyone in Victoria-Swan Lake.

The NDP have proven they will stop at nothing to hold onto power. First, they broke their agreement with the Green party, forcing an election in the middle of a pandemic. They promise that they are not lying about the $400 Renter’s Rebate this time around and they insist that ICBC will get cheaper despite the premiums increasing roughly 40 per cent over their last three years in government.

The BC Liberals have a plan to make life more affordable. Eliminating red tape and creating incentives for high-density zoning will speed up the construction of affordable housing. We will also end the ICBC monopoly and give British Columbians the choice to find private insurance options that offer cheaper rates. My name is David Somerville, I am a 2018 UVIC grad, and I want to be your MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake!

Walt Parsons

Walt Parsons – Communist: The cost of housing in Victoria-Swan Lake (V-SL) increased drastically in the last 10 years I have lived here. There’s been no corresponding increase in wages, putting people in increasingly precarious positions and many who were already vulnerable found themselves unhoused. The CP-BC believes that housing is a human right, and by building 100,000 affordable units we can put significant downward pressure on rent across the region.

Speaking to dozens of teachers, support staff and parents in the riding, it is clear that folks affected are unhappy with Rob Fleming and the Ministry of Education’s reopening of schools amid the pandemic. While COVID rates remain low in V-SL, the burden to ensure that remains the case in schools has been placed on already overburdened school district budgets and employees.

If climate change is left unchecked our world will become inhospitable to human life. Meanwhile in B.C., we have a government which has supported dangerous pipelines and thus is perpetuating our dependence on fossil fuels. The cost of these projects is not only expensive but also desecrates the First People’s lands and sovereignty as they should have every right to say no to these destructive projects.

Jenn Smith

Jenn Smith – Independent: Most people today sense there is something wrong with our system, and that our government is becoming less accountable and more totalitarian in nature. Free speech is under assault and our government has lost almost all interest in what the public has to say on important issues, preferring instead to rule by party decree and forced compliance. Unwillingness by government to hear and respect all sides of a debate has led to increased social polarization. I would seek to reduce that by creating a more open and inclusive form of government that listens to all sides and then uses direct democracy/referendums to consult the public on key decisions. MLAs should represent the people of their riding, not the party or moneyed interests.

The NDP has been complicit in advocating programs and policies that not only are leading our most vulnerable children onto a path towards medical “sex reassignment” and subsequent pharmaceutical sterilization, but they are trampling parental rights and women’s rights in the process.

COVID-19 hit the riding very hard and whether you support recent government restrictions or not, the people of the riding and small businesses devastated by COVID-19 restrictions need to be made whole financially for their losses.

READ MORE: A Greater Victoria guide to voting in the B.C. election

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 saanichnews.com/tag/bc-votes-2020.

READ MORE: B.C. Politics


 

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