The News Bulletin e-mailed the same questions to all candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding, giving them the opportunity to identify their priorities in their own words:
B.C. GREEN PARTY
Chris Istace, 45
Occupation/background: I am a small brick-and-mortar business owner for 17 years as well as freelance writer/photographer for the last six years. Three years ago I left my role in technical sales and operations management for an oilfield company after spending 21 years in the industry.
Why are you running for MLA? I am extremely concerned with the impact our daily lives, industries, and communities are having on the natural world in the presence of climate change. I want to offer my life experiences and passion in service of helping my community, my riding, and the province as a whole. I know that the overlapping crisis of COVID, the opioid crisis, homelessness, housing insecurity, and climate change are affecting everyone in our riding in one way or another. We have concrete solutions that will help ensure our communities weather the storm of these concurrent and intertwined crises and come out thriving on the other end.
Ensuring stable and sustainable resource jobs in our communities is a must. Stable resource jobs feed families. Our small businesses need our support as well. Our communities need small businesses and small businesses need our communities. Support for these is crucial to ensure we provide a sustainable livelihood for all.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? We need to ensure proper support for small businesses so they can weather the pandemic storm. Ensuring our communities are liveable by creating stable and sustainable jobs for our resource sector. Working to ensure we take action to mitigate the effects of climate change on our lives. Making our communities liveable and ensuring equity in access to all we have to offer.
B.C. LIBERAL PARTY
Duck (Don) Paterson, 68
Occupation/background: My history includes 46 years in newspaper production in Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Ladysmith and Victoria. I later managed a manufactured home park for two years and, for the past three years, have been working on a beef farm near Ladysmith. For the last 30 years – and for 32 years in total – I have been a councillor for the Town of Ladysmith. As well, I’ve been a Ladysmith Festival of Lights member and the voice of Light Up for 30 years. I’ve also helped organize local events like logger sports, show ‘n shines and many other community projects.
Why are you running for MLA? Politics has always interested me and the situation our province is in – especially the pandemic and our huge budget deficit – prompted me to try to do more. I see provincial politics as a natural step up to try to make a bigger difference for more people.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? Health care is at the top of my list. Our present situation has shown us where the ‘holes’ are. Now we need to find ways to plug those holes without costing taxpayers a fortune.
Homelessness and related issues are another large concern for me. The ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policies of the NDP are not helping folks who are hurting, they’re only making things worse. Giving a hand up, instead of a handout, is what is needed to make a positive difference. We also need to do a better job for families living where homeless people are gathering. Ordinary folks have huge investments in their homes and businesses and it’s not fair to them to have to deal with the issues created by a lack of care, counselling, rehab and other assistance to vulnerable residents.
We need to generate more revenue from sources other than the average taxpayer’s pocket. Government is a business – a business of people (who are the shareholders) – and we need to make sure their health and well-being is uppermost in the business plan.
Doug Routley, 59
Occupation/background: I have served as MLA for 15 years. I have worked in construction, logging, sawmill operations, as a tree planter and taught English in Japan for one year. After living and teaching in Japan, I returned to create a bicycle importing, manufacturing and retail business.
I also worked as a school custodian and served as a school trustee in the Cowichan Valley. It was during my time serving as a trustee that the previous government started making drastic cuts to education funding and closing schools. This is when I decided to run for the position of MLA to be able to better effect change at a provincial level.
Why are you running for MLA? Representing the Nanaimo-North Cowichan area for 15 years has given me a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in our coastal communities.
Most of my years as an MLA were spent in opposition watching our community suffer through a rising poverty and housing crisis and fighting for the investments and improved services that we needed. This last term has been drastically different – we have seen a new urgent care clinic, the Island’s first nurse practitioner-led clinic, new and expanded hospitals, new and upgraded schools, more investments in affordable housing, lowered child care fees and more. I am running for re-election to ensure we continue moving our community forward.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? My priority is to continue the progress we have made and to ensure our community continues to get the investments we need to build more affordable housing, create more child care spaces and improve health care services that we all depend on. Particularly in Nanaimo I am committed to ensuring the navigation centre is up and running by next spring, and to seeing a new cancer treatment centre built so more people in our community can get the treatment they need closer to home.