North Island Votes. Campbell River Mirror graphic

NORTH ISLAND VOTES – Candidates’ appeal to voters

Candidates respond to the issues

Michele Babchuk – BC NDP

In this unprecedented time of COVID-19 we know that people are worried about their loved ones and a future that looks different than we ever imagined.

We also know that the Liberal cuts to seniors’ care have contributed to outbreaks in long-term care homes. We’re fixing the problems that they created. When the BC Liberals left office, 9-out-of-10 seniors homes weren’t staffed adequately. Their cuts weakened seniors’ care and forced people to work at multiple facilities. Homes were understaffed. This made some outbreaks worse.

The BC NDP is keeping people healthy and safe by investing in healthcare.

We’re making a record 1.6 billion dollar investment to fight COVID-19 this fall and winter. We immediately acted on the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry. We reinforced physical distancing. We increased testing capacity. We pushed the federal government to close borders. We’re hiring 7,000 new front-line health care workers in long-term care and assisted living. We’re boosting testing capacity to 20,000 per day and hiring 600 more contact tracers to track and stop outbreaks.

The BC Liberals underfunded healthcare and refused to build hospitals. Now their tax breaks for people at the top would mean less for seniors care and healthcare. We can’t afford BC Liberal cuts during a pandemic.

We’re fighting COVID-19 to keep people healthy and safe. But, we need to keep going.

I am extremely happy with the leadership of the John Horgan government and am hoping to join his team and work hard for the people of North Island.

On Oct. 24th, please exercise your right to vote. I’m Michele Babchuk and I am asking for your support.

Norm Facey – BC Liberals

I will be your voice in Victoria – I am committed to listening to the riding, sharing the conditions as I understand them and taking our “made in North Island” solutions to be represented and heard in the legislature. For too long we have gone without a true representative for the families of the North Island.

The NDP have taken the North Island riding for granted, being “too busy in Victoria” from our own MLA is unacceptable, for months on end while the forestry (the largest employer in our riding) was in turmoil. This caused families to go to the foodbank, difficulty paying their mortgages, and really trying to figure out what to do – they were doing good, hard, honest work – and our MLA was too busy to listen to them. The Premier hid in his office, the Minister of Forests did not want to get involved. We needed our government and they were nowhere to be found. This is not a trustworthy way to govern; this is not putting BC and the people of the North Island first.

My first and foremost priority will be the North Island Riding. That’s the job. I do not get elected by the BC Liberals, nor by the rest of the province, I get elected by you, the citizens of the North Island, and I will be accountable to you.

Alexandra Morton – BC Greens

I know my ongoing stand to protect wild salmon from salmon farms might make people think that I am against all industry, but that is not the case. I was living in Echo Bay, a 100-year-old floathouse community with a school and a post office, when salmon farms arrived in 1987. The Province of B.C. denied tenures to us residents to moor our floathouses, while handing them out to the fish farm industry. This B.C. government policy wiped out the community of Echo Bay. The lesson I took from this is that Big Industry in small towns should be treated with caution. I see wild salmon as essential. I understand that for them to survive, salmon farms will have to be removed from the ocean. I am happy to speak with any who disagree.

Today, it alarms me that all the other candidates state that forestry, tourism and aquaculture are the three pillars of the North Island economy. Wild salmon, one of the biggest economic drivers and essential to tourism, have been dropped without mention. International investment is building land-based salmon farms around the world. Just two farms in the eastern US will outproduce all of B.C. They will win the sustainable farm salmon market and B.C., which has already lost its international wild salmon market, will export only the lowest market value salmon. And so we wobble on three legs, where there could be four.

While fishermen have been critically impacted by Big Aquaculture, the North Island logging industry is struggling to survive Big Logging. From 2013 – 2017, $3 billion in raw logs were exported while local mills were starved for fibre. Waste wood is burning on cut blocks, contributing to greenhouse gases, rather than being made available to local log salvagers. Mechanization has taken more jobs out of the forest, than environmentalists. First Nation governments, which produce enormous local economic activity, are forced to fight for every meter of access to their own territories. Is this the best we can do?

Sure, big companies create jobs and donate, but they exist outside our economy, syphoning off the wealth that was generated here this is unsustainable. We need to balance the big and small companies to protect ourselves from the boom and bust cycles that destroy communities and lives and dictate what is left for us.

I stood as a candidate in this election, because government decided for us that Big Aquaculture comes before the public salmon resource because we are told that we are just a resource economy, meaning that we must accept what outsiders decide to take or leave. However, our housing crisis suggests otherwise. People see the North Island as a wonderful place to live. If you elect me, I will do my best to facilitate a local economy that supports our most vulnerable, allows us to thrive, restores the people’s salmon and leaves enough for our children to thrive.

John Twigg – BC Conservatives

The main reason I am running in this election (for the third time in North Island) is to raise awareness about the urgent need for British Columbia to develop self-sufficiency strategies in as many areas as possible, starting with essential areas like food and money (i.e. issuing a new made-in-B.C. currency through a revived Bank of B.C.) and including other key areas such as communications and security (e.g. reviving the B.C. Provincial Police force).

With the world hurtling towards ever more terrible troubles and wars it should be a widely-held common sense that the best thing British Columbians should do now is become much more “maitres-chez-nous” – controllers of all of our own affairs, and the best way to do that is to have a healthy functioning democratic government in Victoria that will heed the wishes and meet the needs of all citizens, not only of the wealthy and influential friends-and-insiders cabals, as has too often been the case in past governments.

If space permits, I would like to add that as a long-time environmentalist I still believe it is important to preserve and protect the forests, lands and waters of North Island and all of B.C. but that does not include taking radical actions to try to stop global warming and climate change because science shows that those are driven almost solely by variations in solar emissions and other natural factors like planet tilt and orbit, and very very little by human carbon emissions (CO2 actually helps plants grow, but GHGs should be cut).

I could say a lot more, and am doing so on my website www.twiggcampaign.ca, but editor Alistair asked us to be as concise as possible! Thanks for reading. Feedback is welcome to john@johntwigg.com .

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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