A platform focused on sustainability, recovery, and improved health care is on offer from the BC Green Party for the 2020 provincial election.
Candidates Kerri Wall in Kootenay East and Samson Boyer in Columbia River-Revelstoke are running for the position of MLA in their respective riding under the Green Party.
Wall said the forest industry is an important sector in the local economy, but it also needs some changes.
“The BC Green’s platform starts with shifting our perspective away from looking at forests simply as a source of revenue for large corporations. Instead, we should value them for everything they contribute to our wellbeing,” said Wall. “Instead of just focusing on timber supply, we’d look holistically at things like protecting jobs, preserving watersheds, managing flooding and forest fires, protecting wildlife.”
Boyer echoed a similar viewpoint on the B.C.’s forests.
“We need to change how we see our forests, they need to be beneficial to everyone. The amount of economic growth we could see if we were manufacturing and adding value to the good that we sell, I think is essential moving forward in a green economy,” said Boyer.
Another important industry in both ridings is tourism, which has suffered dramatically under the impacts of COVID-19.
Boyer said the Green Party will work to ensure tourism grants and loans are easily accessible to help businesses get through the pandemic. Boyer is also advocating for a higher minimum wage to help workers out as well.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned during COVID, it’s that our minimum wage workers are essential workers, and we need to support them. Increasing the minimum wage to a livable wage will help young people and people raising new families to make sure they can live in what’s becoming an unaffordable area,” said Boyer.
Wall advocated for a sizeable investment into helping out the province’s businesses cover 25% of their rent costs.
“The BC Greens would like to allocate, if we were in power, $300-million, for a six-month rental subsidy program for small businesses and small tourism operators,” explained Wall. “We really need the provincial grant program to focus on tourism operators because they’re being the hardest hit.”
Both local Green party candidates spoke of the need for more doctors in rural British Columbia.
“We want to make it easier for both out-of-country and out-of-province primary care providers to practice here. We’re an appealing area, partly because we are rural, we’ve had an easier time with the pandemic, we’re more spread out and frankly, we’re an attractive location for primary care practitioners,” said Wall.
Boyer said an effort to make education more accessible and living in the area more affordable will be an important step to attracting more health care workers. He also noted that doctors in Alberta may be looking to B.C. as a viable home.
“People want to live here, doctors and physicians and nurses want to live in the Kootenays because it’s gorgeous and there’s so much to do out here, but it needs to be affordable,” explained Boyer. “The Jason Kenny government has essentially declared war on doctors and nurses. It’s time for the B.C. government to look to Alberta’s doctors and physicians and say ‘hey, come over here.’ Let’s offer them something better.”
Voter head to the polls on general election day on Saturday, October 24th.
More: BC NDP commits to address healthcare, tourism and wildfire safety (Oct. 19th, 2020)
More: BC Liberals tout “bold” platform for 2020 Provincial Election (Oct 20, 2020)