Statements from the three candidates in our riding

  • May. 10, 2013 8:00 p.m.

Hondo Arendt, Green PartyFirst of all, I would like to thank the people of Haida Gwaii for all the support you’ve given to the Green Party over the years. Haida Gwaii has one of the highest percentage of Green vote of any region in Canada election after election. I suppose the only explanation for this phenomenon is that Islanders are ahead of the curve when it comes to politics. The Green Party isn’t the one that most people vote for, but I believe it is the one that almost everyone will eventually wish they had voted for. This is because the Green ideology is the only one that seems to accept the notion that, in politics, we suffer from severe tunnel-vision. We tend to focus on the short term only, and usually only measure success based on whether or not the total economic output increased over the last quarter. This leads to the neglect of other measures of a ‘successful’ society. We live in one of the wealthiest societies ever created, yet we do have significant problems like record levels of poverty amongst the wealth, climate change, and a global economy that is absolutely reliant on diminishing fossil fuel supplies. In its election platform, the NDP has taken its biggest jump to the right in its history. It now embraces many policies that it once vilified. The new NDP now supports expanding fish farming, no longer opposes raw log exports, claims they can make environmental assessments “better” by “speeding them up”, promises to privatize crown corporations in the interest of “efficiency,” and vows to keep corporate tax rates amongst the lowest in Canada. Even more alarmingly, the NDP has enthusiastically embraced expanding BC’s fossil fuel industry. While opposing the Enbridge pipeline, they support the idea of tripling oil exports out of Vancouver, building numerous LNG plants and pipelines, and now recognize the “need” for increased coalbed methane development and fracking. They continue to pay lip-service to the notion of a moratorium on offshore oil and gas production, but only on the “North” Coast (and don’t say where they consider vaguely-defined the Central Coast to end). Likewise, they vow to fight for to uphold the “tanker” moratorium, but have changed what they mean by that. All those vessels you’ll soon see passing by carrying LNG (or even “light” oil) are no longer considered “tankers” by the NDP. They may look like them, to you but apparently you are wrong, they are just run-of-the-mill cargo ships. In BC we now have two virtually indistinguishable right-wing parties who have both embraced unregulated capitalism and promise us a bright future based around expanding the coal, oil, and methane industries. If you like this, then you may have a tough time choosing your party on election day. But, if you actually hold traditional left-wing values, or if you are alarmed by impacts of the fossil fuel frontier-rush mentality that now dominates provincial politics, there really is only one party for you.Judy Fraser, LiberalHello, I am Judy Fraser and I am seeking your support to represent you as your MLA in Victoria. I have lived in Prince Rupert since a child. My father was a fisherman and a carpenter. I grew up on the fish and forest industries. I married a fisherman. I have a grown family who moved away during these years of little opportunity on the North Coast.I have been a lifelong activist and advocate in Prince Rupert. I am an ardent North Coast booster. Most recently I have been heavily involved in improving the functionality of the Prince Rupert airport and in attracting health care professionals to our region. I am running because things are beginning to turn for the better. However, I fear, if not encouraged and supported, the hope and opportunity being expressed on the North Coast will be missed. In Prince Rupert, port developments have laid a new economic foundation. There is great hope that further port developments and in particular LNG export facilities will secure the region’s economic future for generations. In North Coast’s outlying communities, their local economic development is starting to take hold. Community economies based on: forestry, aquaculture, fisheries and tourism are building. Economic development lead by Haida organizations indicates a corner is being turned on Haida Gwaii as well. We see in Prince Rupert young people are starting to regain some hope in the viability of our region. Some of our children are returning to raise their families. I hope you are seeing the same in the communities of Haida Gwaii. I want to work with you to help keep this momentum going. As your MLA, I will support your local initiatives to develop community economies and will advocate on your behave for provincial investments in your communities. I will support the continued expansion of the Port of Prince Rupert. And, more importantly, I will fight to ensure provincial benefits from these developments find their way to the remote communities on the North Coast. Provincial revenues from these new developments should be used to improve health care, education, transportation and community development throughout the region. As your MLA I will be your advocate in Victoria, ensuring you get a share of the provincial benefits from growth on the North Coast. I am a lifer to this part of world. How we balance economic development with sustaining the environment and our way of life is important to me. North Coast people are supportive of modern sustainable economic development. We know there will always be hard choices; that there are no easy answers in balancing the economy and economic. For me this election is about healthy communities and healthy families. It is about a balance between a healthy modern economy and sustainable environment. I am from the North Coast. I am an advocate for the North Coast. I ask for your support May 14.Jennifer Rice, NDPI’ve recently returned to Prince Rupert after a week of campaigning on Haida Gwaii. It was a great opportunity to meet again with many friends and supporters, village councillors and representatives of the Haida Nation. I met with people on their doorsteps, in coffee shops and at community organizations I visited. Voters on Haida Gwaii have a couple of main issues they want their provincial representative to address such as saying a strong no to the Enbridge pipeline and oil tankers on the North Coast. I also heard that they want BC Ferries to be treated as part of the highway system and to make it more affordable to get people and goods on and off the island. They support the NDP commitment to freeze ferry fares to March 31, 2015 while conducting an audit of the corporation. And like voters across the province, they want a change in government. I’ve heard that people want a government that will focus on the economic fundamentals to promote private sector growth, innovation and a thriving business sector. A BC NDP government is offering change for the better. That means change for the better to build a prosperous economy by giving young people the skills and education they need to succeed which provides businesses the skilled workers to innovate and grow. Change for the better means support for small business sectors and sustainable resource development. Change for the better also means to nurture a caring society. An NDP government will focus on reducing child poverty and help all kids get a good start in life. We commit to improving learning conditions for kids? and improving home and acute health care. We also commit to treating seniors with dignity and improving working conditions for people. An NDP government will revitalize the treaty process and support First Nations’ economic development. Change for the better also means respect for our environment. An NDP government will protect our land and coasts with a rigorous made-in-BC pipeline approval process. We will take real action on climate change, revitalize BC’s parks system and protect significant ecological areas. We will have a focus on energy conservation and sustainable energy development. We commit to protecting our groundwater and species at risk. All of us share a deep understanding of the need for change. Throughout this campaign young people have inspired me and they are responsible for so much of the hope for our future. Many are going to vote for their very first time. They are ready for change. Ready to see our government start working today to improve tomorrow. We live in urgent times. And we want more than anything to elect a government that has the courage and the determination to create the change we need. If you believe like I do, that it’s time for a positive change, then I ask for your support. Please vote NDP and vote Jennifer Rice on May 14. To learn more and to view our fully costed platform visit jenniferrice.bcndp.ca.