Esquimalt-Royal Roads candidate Q & A

Western constituency features four candidates to choose from

  • May. 8, 2013 4:00 p.m.

MAURINE KARAGIANIS, B.C. NDP

What do you see as the most important issue for residents in your constituency, and why? — Affordability of housing, education and services, and cost pressures being faced by families. I strongly support a legislated poverty reduction strategy and the B.C. NDP’s Family Bonus program. Families will receive an additional $60 to $70 per child per month, for children under the age of 18, up to $829 per year.

What would be your top priority as MLA? — a forward-looking, sustainable, diversified economy that creates new opportunities and good jobs. I want to focus on the fundamentals like a skilled and trained workforce that promotes private sector growth, entrepreneurial innovation, and a thriving small business sector.

How would you work to improve the flow of transportation in your constituency and the region? — We need a regional transportation authority on the South Island for a more cohesive approach to planning and implementation of much-needed improvements. Adding HOV lanes to arterials like the Trans Canada Highway for buses, and using the E & N Rail Corridor for commuter rail, are two actions we could take right away.

How do you feel about some form of municipal amalgamation in the region? — I support the call for a referendum on the issue of amalgamation and believe citizens and communities need to be heard.

iPhone or Blackberry? –  Blackberry because that is what the Legislative Assembly provides MLAs, but I wish it were an iPhone!

SUSAN LOW, B.C. Green Party

What do you see as the most important issue for residents in your constituencyg, and why? — Right now the issue is sewage. It will be the largest infrastructure project ever in Greater Victoria, and we need to get it right. There has been such disregard for public consultation and community values. It’s not just about sewage anymore: it’s about due process and democracy now.

What would be your top priority as MLA? — Once I’ve seen the sewage project righted, my top priority will be to hold government accountable by examining every bill carefully and consulting with my constituents. I’d like to see our constituency be a leader in public engagement in democracy.

How would you work to improve the flow of transportation in your constituency and the region? — We’ve got to get bus/HOV lanes and a commuter ferry running in the short term. In the medium term I’d like to work towards a potential McKenzie Avenue interchange and E&N commuter rail. LRT is a long way off on the horizon.

How do you feel about some form of municipal amalgamation in the region? — It’s time citizens discussed it instead of casting fear and doom on the idea. Regionalized services are increasing. If we’re not careful we’ll end up with the CRD in charge of everything. Based on the sewage debacle, that would not be good.

iPhone or Blackberry? –  Android! (I also have an iPad which is awesome)

JOSH STEFFLER, Independent

What do you see as the most important issue for residents in your riding, and why? — In Esquimalt it is the sewage/ sludge plant, in the constituency as a whole I find it is over-taxation and the unsustain-able growth of government.

What would be your top priority as MLA? – To act as a non-partisan watchdog to bring an independent voice to the legislature. To fight for lower taxes, careful spending and keeping our debt under control.

How would you work to improve the flow of transportation in your constituency and the region? — I would foster an environment that is conductive to the private sector operating on the E&N railway. The private sector can create jobs and move much faster then the government. We need that railway running now, not years from now.

How do you feel about some form of municipal amalgamation in the region? — Forced amalgamation will create resentment and a host of problems and legal challenges. The municipal level is where people feel they have a strong voice and are heard by government. I oppose any actions taken by the province to force amalgamation.

iPhone or Blackberry? –  The phone I bought eight years ago still works fine and I see no reason to replace it.

CHRIS RICKETTS, B.C. Liberals

What do you see as the most important issue for residents in your constituency, and why? — Ensuring sustainable, well paying jobs throughout the constituency, because without a solid tax base we can’t afford the services we all want, such as health, education and social development.

What would be your top priority as MLA? — Having spent my entire life in Esquimalt and the West Shore, I have a history of getting involved and getting things done. I have a passion for the area and want to ensure residents’ concerns on issues such as sewage treatment, transportation and economic growth are not only heard, but respected by provincial decision-makers.

How would you work to improve the flow of transportation in your constituency and the region? — Work with Island Corridor Foundation to get the train running as a commuter service. Work for a proper interchange at McKenzie Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway.

How do you feel about some form of municipal amalgamation in the region? — I believe the provincial government has a role in helping municipalities determine if there are better, more cost effective ways to provide local services, such as the current arrangements we have for policing, water and recycling. Any decision on the amalgamation of municipalities should be left to the residents of the area through a referendum.

iPhone or Blackberry? – Android