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The candidates speak

With election day fast approaching, the Observer asked each candidate to explain, in his or her own words, why voters should offer their support.We received statements from all three candidates, presented below in alphabetical order.Gary Coons, NDPThe last four years travelling the North Coast the most talked about issue is "Rural Neglect."When we first heard Gordon Campbell use the term "heartland," we hoped that the health of rural communities was a priority. Wrong. Students, seniors, workers, communities and the most disadvantaged felt the wrath of Gordon Campbell's deliberate neglect.The Campbell government believes in decreased funding and increased barriers. The North Coast has been suffering from a degrading physical and social infrastructure. A direct result of these attitudes.Crumbling roads and water systems, closing doors to social services and education, massive increases in ferry fares and Hydro rates; all stem from the arrogant Liberal urban-bias.We need a government that truly understands the importance of Rural BC as an economic driver. The BC NDP can be that government.The NDP have concrete actions that will support rural and resource based communities. Our Platform "Take Back Your BC," has some points of our plan and how these actions will truly benefit the North Coast...they include:-A Rural Economic Development Fund to transfer a fair share of the province's wealth back to where it is created;-Restore local oversight of green energy production and empower rural BC...we must stop Gordon Campbell from selling off and privatizing our province, and from pushing for Dirty Oil and crude oil tankers traveling our coast;We need to:-Limit the impact of a boom-and-bust cycle by investing in retraining to support new opportunities;-Establish a Community and Jobs Protection Commissioner, to work with local government, First Nations, businesses, workers and unions that will save jobs and support emerging industries;-Push harder for meaningful reforms to the Employment Insurance systemWith these solutions, the BC NDP will demonstrate a strong commitment to the North Coast by working to ensure that neglected infrastructure projects move forward. People are our number one priority. Please see our platform :Google "BC NDP platform". I am proud of our plan, I know it will work for us!Lisa Girbav, Green Party My name is Lisa Girbav and I am your Green candidate for the North Coast. Generally, people don't know very much about the Green Party of BC. The Green Party bases its platform on three basic principals-is it good for the economy? Is it good for the environment? And is it good for the people? Unfortunately we live in a society that usually only asks the one question-is it profitable? Our society is reliant on ever increasing consumption, even though we know that what we are doing is unsustainable.The Green Party has a better plan for British Columbia.Our plan is based on a new green economy. An economy that will reduce income taxes, help reduce our carbon foot print, and will create green-collar jobs in exciting new industries. Our plan encourages new jobs in geothermal, solar, ocean and wind energy generation. Green infrastructure is what we need to help reverse climate change.Our plan promotes organic, local food production across our province and in our cities. A green economy will expand river and forest restoration projects and encourage local wood production and selective fishing industries in rural BC.We need to take care of our planet, without it we have nothing. The economy and the environment are not separate-a healthy economy depends upon a healthy environment. We have the ability to create green jobs right now and combat climate change at the same time.In the last election, nearly 40 percent of the province didn't vote. Those non voters have the ability to change the outcome of the election. On May 12, take five people with you to vote.Vote green for a better plan for BC. Together we can move BC not to the left, nor to the right, but forward to a better future.Herb Pond, BC LiberalsI want thank all of the people who are helping my campaign on Haida Gwaii /Queen Charlotte Islands.Travelling from community to community has heightened my desire to serve as your representative for North Coast. My optimism has been boosted by the spirit of the people I have met. I have worked with the leaders on Haida Gwaii for years and look forward to working with them again as we carry your desires for progress, on your terms, to Victoria.My direction comes from you. I listened to you during this campaign. You said, you want a representative who can get the ear of BC Ferries and make the case for the north, who will assist in getting the mail back on the plane, who will assist in developing recreation and community facilities for your youth, who will support extending community based forestry and seafood operations, who will work for stronger social services.I am a new member of the BC Liberals. I joined because of Premier Campbell's leadership in forging a new relationship with First Nations and Aboriginal peoples. I believe the only path forward for all of us is one based on recognition and partnerships. I joined because I believe the BC Liberals provide the best leadership for the economy. I joined because I believe I can make a difference within the party.The challenge is to be heard over the political clout of the south. During my years as mayor, I learned how to get the attention and win support. We were often successful, but we had to work hard.It was hard these past four years with an MLA who thought his only job was to criticize and protest. I will voice your concerns, but I will also build relationships for results.

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