North Island Votes. Campbell River Mirror graphic

NORTH ISLAND VOTES: What is the most pressing social issue in the North Island riding?

Candidates respond to the issues

Michele Babchuk – BC NDP

Affordability and Mental Health and Addictions are the two most important social issues that we face in the North Island.

Now more than ever, during the uncertain times we are in during the pandemic, people are concerned about affordability. I’m so proud of the BC NDP platform that specifies real and practical help for people that they can count on right away.

Families needing childcare have seen the progress that John Horgan’s government has been making over the last three years. We’ve funded 20,000 new childcare spaces in just two years. More than 32,000 families in BC are now receiving childcare for $10/day or less, saving up to $1600/month per child. And we are accelerating our plan to bring $10-a-day child care to all BC families by increasing benefits and building new childcare spaces.

The new Child Opportunity Benefit starts on October 1, 2020 provides up to $2600/year for a family with two children.

We have announced a rental rebate of $400/year and a one-time direct deposit of $1000/family or $500/individual to help people.

These measures put money back into people’s pockets at a time when it’s needed most and will increase spending in our local businesses to help spur the economy.

And to help support our most vulnerable people, we will continue with supportive housing initiatives for people experiencing homelessness and work hard to continue tackling the opioid crisis in BC. These are our neighbours, brothers, sisters, friends. It’s clear that this is still a huge challenge in BC. During their time in government, the BC Liberals found money for tax breaks to the wealthy but almost nothing to tackle homelessness and mental health and addictions. John Horgan’s NDP have made the promise to add another 800 treatment beds and build new treatment/recovery/detox facilities across BC, and formed the very first ministry dedicated to mental health and addictions to ensure that the priority of these issues remained at the top of the list.

Norm Facey – BC Liberals

The most pressing social issue in our Riding is the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused urgent economic, social and public health challenges. The call for an election only compounded the problem, forcing a pause in rolling out support. Support is needed urgently, so if elected within the first 60 days the BC Liberals would Implement a new Economic Response Plan to create new jobs and investment and put money back in the pockets of taxpayers, by eliminating the PST for a year and launching a comprehensive review of regulatory processes to ensure more timely approvals.

Further, improve students’ and teachers’ health and safety, by implementing a province-wide framework for hybrid and online learning options, promoting distance learning programs, and restoring the $12 million the NDP cut from Independent Distributed Learning programs. We will launch and ensure a truly independent review of the response to COVID-19 in our seniors’ long-term care and assisted living homes.

Alexandra Morton – BC Greens

The most pressing issue on the North Island has to be child poverty. This is a wealthy riding with an average wage higher than most of rural BC, and the number of children living in poverty is very high. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I would like to harness that and explore all the ways that we can do better. We are lucky to have many people who are working with the most vulnerable members of our communities and I will be seeking their advice, as well as, the community at large. We absolutely have to support single mothers, to see their work to raise children as one of the most important jobs on the North Island.

John Twigg – BC Conservatives

Unfortunately, it is obvious that suppressing drug-related street crimes is an extremely pressing social problem but there are other important issues too including relations with First Nations, youth unemployment, family relations and a lack of parental involvement in school operations (which could be addressed by enabling more charter schools). There also needs to be better respect for the rights of people to hold traditional Christian family values while still respecting the civil rights of LGBTQ people.

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