1. How do you plan to address the affordable housing issue across the Cowichan Valley?
There are several different issues facing residents in regards to housing:
- There are those that have no housing - or are couch surfing. Many of these people have no employment or are under employed. Job development through environmentally-sound resource extraction, and encouraging the cutting edge technological companies to establish themselves in our are area is imperative. Solar, wind power, ocean power, biocell technologies, desalinization, amongst many others are areas that will have a growing demand.
- Many more have serious drug-dependency issues. Our health system needs to do more than give out needles to change their living conditions. And more housing for those with mental health conditions is imperative.
- There are those that only earn minimum wage and work less than full-time and so cannot afford the rising rents in the area - IF they can find a rental at all. There are many large companies in our area that only hire part time workers and those workers are subsidized by tax dollars...some call that corporate welfare.
- There is a shortage of housing stock due to the increased pressure of out-of-town buyers and a correspondingly rising cost of home buying.
- And - the rising rate of municipal taxation is onerous for most on fixed incomes. Each of these issues requires a different approach. But there are great ideas out there - at home and abroad - to address these issues. Here is one of my favorites - there is a tiny house co-op being explored through Social Planning Cowichan. Many more of these should be encouraged. Not only are they economically sound - but they are very environmentally friendly.
2. How would you transition to a sustainable economy that will support local business and create reliable, living wage jobs for residents in Cowichan?
We have heard a lot of talk around this issue - but much less action. We need to have leaders who can lead. With solid business development experience. I personally thrive on identifying and exploiting business opportunities - and I enjoy helping others realize their dreams by doing the same thing. We need to give people some hope for the future and quit saying everything in our economy is bad. Because its not. Business support is key for our economy because small business drives it.
3. What do you consider to be the top priorities for improving education and, if elected, how will you work to ensure these priorities will be addressed?
For our First Nations students to have a teaching methodology that works within their cultural paradigm so that they can graduate. In younger grades they need more support to learn to read, write and get sound numerical sufficiency. In later grades, this can be encouraged through establishing technological hubs and teachers that can help them use that technology at their own pace. Along with day-care facilities alongside their classrooms. But in education as a whole, I see that our system does not prepare students for the role they will actually play in society. (Finances etc) And they need to learn how to think - not what to think. Last but not least - why are more students with that aptitude not getting trained in the trades at a younger age and reserve further education for those who will eventually attend university. That's how it is done in many countries and it is far more effective use of tax dollars.
4. What do you consider to be the top priorities for sustaining a healthy environment and, if elected, how will you work to ensure these priorities will be addressed?
Work tirelessly for:
- Swift and punitive monetary consequences for polluters.
- No more GMOs grown here. And labeling of all GMO imported products.
- No bulk water extraction.
- No more raw-log exports. Unless it is 100% surplus that our mills cannot readily use. Our mills should always have first choice on all raw logs. If none of them require them, then I would support exports, as this keeps our fallers and drivers employed.
- No old-growth extraction. These are now such incredible sites to see!
- More companies that are Canadian owned so that those that make decisions will have a personal self-interest in the policies they enact.
- More industry development and agricultural value-added products, like nutraceuticals which is a 'growing' industry.
- We need the training and support of more new, young farmers.
5. What do you consider to be the top priorities for better health care in Cowichan and if elected, how will you work to ensure these priorities will be addressed?
Drug rehabs must be rapidly expanded. Programs in schools to raise awareness and to help develop stress-coping skills and problem solving skills to combat the underlying issues which lead to drug use. We need state-of-the-art technology at our hospital and I would be looking at partnerships to raise those critical funds or other innovative funding ideas, like they do for hospitals in larger centers.
6. If elected, how will you support moving forward on reconciliation with First Nations in British Columbia locally within our riding?
This is an issue which is paramount in our community. There needs to be willingness on both sides - but the issue of land rights that were never ceded needs to be addressed, first of all. Yes, that is an issue of money, but we seem to have plenty of support for refugees - so that, in my opinion, should be directed to our First Nations. The issue of 'cultural' education is critical for future generations so that there can be an integration of all FN and non-FN community members. That is well addressed at Chemainus elementary where they have on site elders. We cannot change what past generations, with their social or cultural understanding of FN did - but we can address the issues that face FN today. That is where we need to focus our efforts.
7. One Cowichan has been facilitating a petition for the federal government to allocate adaptation to climate change infrastructure funds to raise the Cowichan weir for the Cowichan River. How will you work to bring the provincial government to the table as an active partner to move this initiative forward?
Social media is a powerful tool. It can be used very effectively to raise awareness of issues and place pressure on governments to act on critical issues supported by citizens. There is a whole segment of youth that are looking to actively participate in 'causes' that face our world. I believe I am the candidate to engage that energy and passion for our community.
8. What made you decide to run in this election?
I could not see a candidate that represented my generation. Our voices need to be heard. And very importantly, I could not see a candidate that has business background. Small business drives our economy and provides the tax base to pay for all the services we currently enjoy and those that need to be implemented in our community and province.