Health and safety is on most voters’ minds heading into a provincial election, and Nanaimo’s B.C. Liberals candidate also wants to talk about safe streets and safe neighbourhoods.
Kathleen Jones was announced this week as the party’s representative in the Oct. 24 election.
The retired social worker spent much of her career in the Comox Valley and Campbell River, and also worked in Washington state. She retired to Nanaimo in 2012 and isn’t sure the area is the same now as it was then.
“The last three or so years, after tent city happened, things have just escalated, or maybe they’ve gone downhill,” Jones said. “I’ve noticed more and more, things aren’t going well.”
She said in her years of experience in social work, she’s seen different perspectives on how to help people from all walks of life and has notions of what works and what doesn’t. She suggested a range of shelters, health and addictions services and housing options are needed.
“If you’re homeless, if you’re addicted, if you’ve got mental health issues, the whole focus is to get you re-integrated into society,” said Jones. “I have not liked at all this building of these 90-person compounds. They’re not working.”
Jones said she’s active on Facebook and is always having conversations there about what people are seeing in Nanaimo and what they want and need. She says she’s the sort of person who knows how to propose solutions and she feels like the majority of people are “really ready” for change.
“They want to know something that’s going to work. They want it to work yesterday…” she said. “I think Nanaimo really needs a lot of new ideas and they need to know the ways and means to get them done.”
Tali Campbell, campaign manager for the B.C. Liberals in the Nanaimo riding, said he and Jones are still making decisions about ways to engage voters during the COVID-19 pandemic, but said the party has requested and set up a lot of meetings with different businesses and agencies. He said the NDP candidate in the riding has a higher profile, but said Jones has the knowledge and experience necessary for the campaign ahead.
Sheila Malcolmson, New Democratic Party incumbent, is the other announced candidate in the Nanaimo riding.
Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberal Party incumbent, is the only announced candidate in Parksville Qualicum.
The election is Oct. 24.