The second of two local riding profiles leading up to the May 9 provincial election.
About the riding:
The electoral district of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows has been a political battleground for more than two decades.
It was won by just over 600 votes in the 2013 election. Liberal Doug Bing took 10,824 votes to beat Elizabeth Rosenau of the NDP with 10,204. The Green Party’s Michael Patterson garnered 2,178 votes last election, while Independent Manuel “Mike” Pratas had 589.
Of the prior five elections, the NDP won four and the Liberals, one. New Democrat Michael Sather beat Liberal Ken Stewart in close races in 2005 and 2009. In both elections, the two candidates were separated by less than 1,000 votes.
Stewart won the riding in 2001, when he took it from the NDP’s Bill Hartley, who had won the riding in 1991, in the election that saw his party leader Mike Harcourt defeat Social Credit Premier Bill Vander Zalm.
Hartley held it again the 1996 vote.
Prior to Hartley’s election, the riding had been a Social Credit stronghold dating back to the 1975 election.
The boundaries were redrawn for the 2009 election, when it took in a portion of Maple Ridge-Mission.
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows is bordered by the Pitt River in the west and follows 224th Street and the Alouette River in the east.
The the area of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows is 1,980 km2.
Candidates for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows were asked to outline three issues they feel are most important in the riding this election.
• Lisa Beare (NDP):
Life is getting harder and more expensive under Christy Clark. The B.C. NDP and I will work hard to make your life more affordable, improve the services you count on, and create a sustainable economy.
We will eliminate bridge tolls and MSP premiums, create $10 a day childcare, and freeze Hydro and ICBC rates, giving families a break from rising costs.
We will address the homeless crisis by implementing poverty reduction and affordable housing plans, providing the necessary mental health and addictions treatments, and reopening facilities at Riverview to provide residential care.
We will invest in public transit to create 4,300 jobs and add $4.5 billion dollars to our economy. This will help people get home faster so they can spend more time with their families and less time stuck in traffic.
It is time for a government that works for the people of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
• Doug Bing (Liberals):
Jobs and the economy: All of us know that a job enables us to provide for our families. This is why our government created the B.C. Jobs Plan in 2011, which has been instrumental in making us the top performing province in Canada.
B.C. has the lowest personal income tax for those making under $125,000, and is moving to eliminate MSP premiums, starting with a premium cut of 50 per cent on Jan. 1, which will save families up to $900 a year.
In addition, we are capping bridge tolls, adding a new Active Seniors Tax Credit, new Respite Tax Credit, and increasing the Renovation Tax Credit.
Mental health and substance abuse are challenging issues that require all levels of government, families and communities to work together to provide support for vulnerable people. Our fifth consecutive balanced budget enables us to increase funding for these issues.
• Alex Pope (Green):
With three kids in the public school system, making investments in our education system, and remodeling our education system for the emerging economy, is a priority for me.
I’m excited by the potential in the B.C. Green Party strategy for lifelong learning:
• invest in early childhood education;
• invest in education for the emerging economy;
• provide a healthy start for school children;
• invest in professional development for teachers;
• ensure equitable access to public education;
• alleviate the burden of student debt;
• assist youth in finding employment;
• invest in worker skills, upgrading and retraining.
Making sure our youth are well-educated now will result in a stronger workforce and a more resilient economy in the future. Education is the best investment society can make.
• Steve Ranta (independent):
B.C. is facing a severe housing affordability crisis, with disastrous effects on our quality of life. We need an end to all foreign money laundering and speculation in property, and a phaseout of foreign ownership, so real estate prices can readjust to what British Columbians can afford.
Motorists in B.C. pay the highest gas prices in North America, and it’s not because of taxes. American refineries are charging us the highest refining costs in the world. The only remaining large refinery in B.C., which supplies 35 per cent of gas sold in B.C., is for sale. The government should buy it, giving us the ability to reduce prices.
B.C.’s governing party is selling out our province’s resources, land and environment to wealthy individuals and corporations, both domestic and foreign. No party informs us about the restrictions imposed on B.C. by foreign investment protection agreements, which give foreign corporations the power to block initiatives such as improving health care or new environmental legislation.
• Gary John O’Driscoll (Conservatives): O’Driscoll did not offer a submission.