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Victoria-Beacon Hill candidate Q & A
JANE STERK, B.C. Green Party
What do you see as the most important issue for residents in your constituency, and why? -- Loss of faith in government. People are saying they want someone who will speak for them, remember them and continue to listen after the election and not continue the negative politics in the legislature. People want a watchdog and an advocate, but they want these roles played constructively.
What would be your top priority as MLA? -- To establish trust with citizens and to get them involved as participants in my work as MLA and then to bring their ideas and priorities into the legislature by sharing this with the government, proposing legislation and proposing amendments to legislation.
How would you work to improve the flow of transportation in your constituency and the region? -- We would create a regional transportation authority with the power to go to both the provincial and local governments to propose new strategies for land-use planning. This authority could also explore rail use along the E&N, and potentially along highway corridors.
How do you feel about some form of municipal amalgamation in the region? -- I believe some form of amalgamation is needed if we want good regional planning. Amalgamation, however, needs to be done in such a way that it garners broadly based citizen and community support. Top down amalgamations forced by provincial governments elsewhere in Canada have not proven to lower costs and improve services as predicted.
iPhone or Blackberry? – iPhone
KAREN BILL, B.C. Liberals
What do you see as the most important issue for residents in your constituency, and why? -- Keeping our economy strong so there are jobs for Victorians is important to me. I believe we also need to keep government spending in check, freeze both income and carbon taxes and cut small business tax by 40 per cent.
What would be your top priority as MLA? -- I would push for housing affordability in the riding with a uniform building code, and work on extending the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters and the Rent Assistance Program to co-ops which are currently ineligible.
How would you work to improve the flow of transportation in your constituency and the region? -- Greater Victoria needs this government to continue to make investments in transportation. Since 2001, B.C. Liberals put $11 billion into highway improvements across the province. I believe that by controlling spending and creating an investment climate where the private sector can flourish, we will be able to continue to invest in much-needed upgrades around Greater Victoria.
How do you feel about some form of municipal amalgamation in the region? -- I think it should be explored but not imposed.
iPhone or Blackberry? – Blackberry for work and iPhone for home.
CAROLE JAMES, B.C. New Democrats
What do you see as the most important issue for residents in your constituency, and why? -- Inequality (housing, access to post-secondary education, supports for mental health, seniors).
What would be your top priority as MLA? – Increase opportunities for success for all British Columbians through support from early childhood to K to 12, post-secondary to trades and skills training.
How would you work to improve the flow of transportation in your constituency and the region? -- Transportation planning is hurt by the lack of effective co-ordination between local governments, B.C. Transit and the Ministry of Transportation. We would reform the existing system by creating a regional transportation authority. We also would redirect part of the carbon tax revenues to fund increased public transit services.
How do you feel about some form of municipal amalgamation in the region? -- I support a referendum in the next municipal election asking the question, ‘Do you support your municipality entering into discussion on amalgamation?’ Adrian Dix and the B.C. NDP believe that the public should have its voice heard in discussions on amalgamation.
iPhone or Blackberry? – Blackberry (and an iPad).
JOHN SHAW, Communist Party
What do you see as the most important issue for residents in your constituency, and why? -- The economy. Liberal economic policies of privatization, tax subsidies and giveaway of lands and resources to transnational corporations have depleted government revenues, caused environmental devastation and contributed to unemployment, poverty and hopelessness for most British Columbians. We need to reverse that by restoring tax rates on the wealthy and corporations to pre-2001 levels.
What would be your top priority as MLA? -- To build a coalition of government, citizens’ groups, labour groups and unions, community and neighbourhood associations, environmental organizations, aboriginal rights movements, human rights and faith groups to build an economy based on placing the needs of people and the environment above private profit.
How would you work to improve the flow of transportation in your constituency and the region? -- Victoria, especially the downtown, needs a comprehensive transportation policy that includes phasing out private vehicles and banning large transport trucks from congested, narrow streets. Cycling trails, both leisure and commuter-oriented, need to be expanded and maintained.
How do you feel about some form of municipal amalgamation in the region? -- Imposed amalgamation from higher levels of government without public consultation or approval is doomed to failure. If Victoria municipalities choose to amalgamate into a larger urban entity, the new civic structure of governance should entail implementation of a comprehensive ward system.
iPhone or Blackberry? – I own a Blackberry – not out of preference (it was a gift).