I am not happy with how politics in BC is being managed, so I am here to change it.
I am building a platform that will represent the people of Columbia River-Revelstoke. I believe the main thing that people want from their government is to be heard and represented. If you would like to add your input and become a part of this important process, please message me below. As it comes together, you will be able to find all all platform information here. The platform below is a work in progress. Keep in mind that other candidates have a pre-made platform handed to them. I am personally writing mine, based on the conversations I am having with the people of Columbia River- Revelstoke!
Here are some of the things people are talking about:
Senior Rights and Health
Rural Services and Opportunities
Political Financing Laws
Affordable Child Care
Standards of Employment
Job Protection and Creation
First Nations Relations
ICBC (Should We Allow Private Insurance?)
Trade with the United States
BC Hydro and Fortis BC Prices
Reforming BC Government
Moving the election date to the fall. This would allow election year budgets to be voted on and tested before the election. This year it will fall to the next government to pass the budget; they can update it, change it, or completely rewrite it before its approved, which means the version we are seeing right now is not definite. As it is an election year, the budget is used as an election tool by the party in power and paid for by the tax payers. Right now, the BC Liberals are using your tax dollars to advertise new funding that will not be distributed, or used until after the election, which makes it hard to know if the money is really helping a problem, or if they are just trying to buy your approval. (Remember, they can still change it after the election is over! Note how every 4 years we have an update.)
Tax payers shouldn't be paying for a political party's ads. We need an independent commissioner with the authority, and responsibility to decide if ads are in the interest of the public, or simply the party in power.
Only individual British Colombians who are eligible to vote should be able to donate to our political parties. No corporation, union, or any other organization should be donating. Currently, BC political parties can accept donations, from just about anyone in the world, with no limits to the amount of these donations! This allows influence from outside sources and allows wealthy groups and organizations to further their own agendas. To put it simply, politics in BC basically allows legal bribery.
Set limits on these donations. The Federal government allows donations up to $1550 to the party, and $1550 to your individual riding. We need to do something similar here in BC. This will force the parties to engage a larger number of donors rather then just focusing on impressing a small list with deep pockets. It will make the parties more accountable to individuals, and limit the ability for individual interests to be pushed on the parties.
Ban cabinet ministers and the premier from attending fundraiser outside of their riding. Ensure that any fundraiser they attend is in their riding, and is intended to be for their constituents to connect with their MLA.
Pressure the parties to officially allow "free votes/conscience vote" on all non-platform issues. MLAs should be voting for their constituents first, not their parties. I understand that their is no direct rule that says that they must vote within party lines, but party pressure, and BC's voting history says otherwise. I want a rule that says it is acceptable for them to vote for what is best for their riding, even if this means voting against their party. The BC Greens already have one in place.
We need to start dealing with the budget more openly. I want people to be involved in politics, but it is unreasonable to think everyone is going to sit down and read the entire budget and BC's Political parties know it. The announcements from the budget need to state the current total debt of the province, the complete debt to GDP ratio, and the provinces full contractual obligations with comparisons to the previous years. This would provide a much better understanding of how our province is doing and how your money is being managed, instead of misleading the public with bold half-truths. These ads are tax payer funded, they should be informative, and not be used as an advertisement for the party in power.
If we want to solve affordable housing, we need a strategy that focuses on the people in need. The proposed budget for 2017 allocates $920 million dollars to create 5300 units of affordable housing. This works out to approximately $173,500 per unit. I think we could do a lot better. The $920 million is a large investment from the province, and I do commend the BC Liberals for its size, however, w e need to utilize this funding to its highest potential! I think it is time for new solutions.
Ownership should be the goal. If we offered rent-to-own projects, we would eventually see all of those invested funds returned and cycled through to create more affordable housing, while at the same time enabling these people to build equity of their own. Adding to that, we would be lifting the responsibility of long term maintenance and paying municipal taxes off of the government, so that the government can move forward with new projects instead of focusing on what has already been completed.
Focus on funding non-profits, individuals, and municipalities that are working on solving this issue. Traditionally, the government has been working with investors and construction companies that are out for big profits and not truly focused on creating solutions. Consider creating a limit for how much we are willing to lend per unit of housing, and opening up applications provide a plan within the budget.
Build a website that will guide interested parties through their option to meet those requirements. If I am not elected this time around, I will create a section here on my website dedicated to this issue.
When the price is right, buy existing property.
Promote the use of Municipal powers. By changing by-laws for zoning we could promote the creation of suites, laneway homes, and townhouses. We should also aim to create an area in the municipality for more dense living, allowing for cheaper land costs, or even potentially zoning areas specifically for "tiny home villages". Tiny homes are not for everyone, but for those it does works for it is an extraordinary way to get started on home ownership and building personal equity. I believe it is a good idea to keep an eye on Vancouver's newly implemented vacancy tax, and consider following suit if all goes well, it could pressure people to fill vacant homes and we could use the income from it to create more affordable housing.
I will be extremely vocal that this issue expands past the lower mainland. And furthermore, I will also push the fact that this is truly an issue that is effecting a large number of British Columbia's, in some way, not just those considered "low-income". Everyone deserves an affordable place to live.
Using these steps I think we could create homes for rent to own in the range of $200-$500 dollars a month. That may seem ambitious but the options are there. I also think people should be free to overpay to get ownership sooner.
Job Creation and Protection
I will stand up for jobs in our area, by supporting both the creation of new job opportunities and the preservation of the jobs we already have. While the BC Liberals brag that the BC Job's Plan has been a huge success, in our economic region of the province we have an unemployment rate of 8.8%, (http://srv129.services.gc.ca/ei_regions/eng/soutinbc.aspx?rates=1) far above the national average of 6.6%. While I am happy to hear that the average rate across BC is going down, it does not change the fact that we need jobs here!
Introducing and expanding on Eco-tourism projects in BC. Revelstoke has been doing well with the Eco-tourism market and I believe the other side of the riding could benefit from following in their footsteps. These projects are built into the existing environment, minimizing the ecological effects, and using BC's best selling point to our advantage.
Resources that are extracted in our province should be processed in our province. Let's make sure we are maximizing on job potential here in BC before we export them. We need to create new legislation that will keep jobs in processing here in BC.
We should be working together to create jobs. There will be a section in our new community forum dedicated to just this task. Within this forum you will be able to share your struggles as an entrepreneur as well as your solutions, and offer your advice to others who are also struggling. It would allow your MLA's office the opportunity to ensure we are taking advantage of all grants available, and assist in the often trying process of applying.
Standing Up for Our Communities
I will work through issues with members of our communities as they come up in the Legislative Assembly. Not just every four years as I attempt to collect your vote, but any time the need arises.
We need to modernize the relationship between your MLA, their constituency office, and the constituents. I will create an online forum for the community that will allow for discussion in all things political. Here, I would like to see all projects seeking provincial funding, an area to discuss the current events in the legislature, and an area to discuss community growth goals. Through this forum we could ensure that everyone in the our electoral district is using and applying for all the available government grants, as well as opening the door for the community to be actively involved in politics.
I will ask your questions, and share your concerns in the house. The parties often ask questions that are intended to tear down the opposing party, but I am focused on representing you, and so my time in the legislator would be spent exclusively doing just that! I can bring questions, and concerns from all points of view, without fear of conflicting with a party.
I believe information presented back to constituents should be honest, and non partisan. I want to supply honest, unbiased, information back to my constituents. Party MLAs have a hard time doing this, they have an agenda, and they want you to believe in it.
Revelstoke needs a dedicated conservation officer. Last summer, within the span on three days, nine bears had to be put down. 24 bears across the year. Currently, the nearest conservation officer is in Golden. I will fight to make this happen no matter how long it takes! At the moment, Kootenay East has six conservation officers. We here in Columbia River-Revelstoke only have four and our riding is almost four times the physical size.
We need to complete the expansion of highway 1 from Kamloops to the Alberta border. This has been talked about for years, both our major political parties have committed to this project in their respective platforms. I will aggressively hold them to that commitment, at the same time I am creating a policy resolutions for the federal parties to make it a priority as well.
Energy And Technology
The cost of accessing solar power has been declining over the years, and we are moving into a future where you won't have to add separate rooftop solar panels any longer; the roofing material will be solar panels. I am a commercial roofer, and in my industry we are gearing up for some major changes. BC hydro bills keep getting bigger and providing your own power is about to become a lot more affordable! Many new construction projects and roof replacements will be featuring these types of roofs in the near future. This along with many other incoming projects leaves me feeling that overall power demands from BC hydro will be going down.
Site C Dam does show some potential benefits, but considerations should have been made before moving forward. Hydro Dams have long served BC, but before moving ahead with this project we need to know for sure that somebody is going to buy the power it is creating. BC hydro is already $17.9 billion in debt, and rate payers simply cannot afford to pay $9 billion more if we cannot find a buyer for the excess power (Especially our small businesses, many of whom are already paying several thousand a month!). We don't need speculation, we need contractual agreements to buy the power that this dam will supply. If we are moving ahead with this project this needs to be a priority.
We need a community wide initiative to help small businesses replace old technology with newer more efficient appliances, and replace the insulation in the many very old buildings in the region. There are grants already available, but as many business owners tell me, they don't have time to find them, do the paperwork to apply, wait for approval, and then organize with contractors. I would really like to organize a strategy to make it more accessible, and help bring down power and gas usage in our riding.
I want to represent you, but to do that. I need to hear from you! So please, don't hesitate to contact me.. Your voice matters.