The three candidates running to represent Stikine made their cases last Wednesday in Smithers for why they should be elected MLA.
NDP incumbent Doug Donaldson, Liberal Wanda Good and Christian Heritage Party leader Rod Taylor answered questions in a packed Della Herman Theatre on a wide variety of topics from the audience, business panel and local media.
Top of mind was the recent announcement from the United States that duties were being placed retroactively on lumber exporters. The question of why David Emerson was not appointed to the softwood lumber file sooner was soon posed to Good by business panel member Christine Ogryzlo.
“I have lots of faith in the team that we have now. We know that we must protect B.C. forest workers, their families, forestry-dependent communities like those in Smithers. Premier Christy Clark is fighting back for us. She’s called for a federal ban on the thermal coal exports through B.C. to Asia …
“This is to send a message to Trump that we will fight for forestry jobs,” replied Good.
“We recognize there are 60,000 jobs at risk right now, and we intend to win this fight.”
Donaldson used one of his rebuttal cards — candidates had the option to rebut any questions to one of the other candidates — on the lumber appointment question.
“We’ve known this deadline on softwood lumber has been coming up for two years. Christy Clark and the BC Liberals remained silent. They did no work,” said Donaldson.
“And we know that forestry is integral to the economy and jobs, and the fabric of our communities. You know, it’s been ignored with the focus BC Liberals have on LNG, but it’s still the most important industry we have in the Bulkley Valley and elsewhere.
“Yes it’s true, the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan both went to Washington to fight for their residents’ interests around softwood lumber. The Premier never went. If elected as government, John Horgan, the leader of the BC NDP has committed that he will go to Washington within 30 days to fight for our forest industry that’s so important in the Bulkley Valley and elsewhere.”
“Speaking of John Horgan and the BC NDP, he has been quoted as saying ‘good luck with that’ when talking about the B.C. forestry softwood deal,” she said.
Another issue that has come up during the election campaign is the need to either replace mammography equipment or change services to a twice-per-year mobile service with full services concentrated in Terrace.
Good was directly asked if she thought a new digital scanner should be bought for the Bulkley Valley District Hospital in Smithers.
“I have a number of family members who have been touched by the breast cancer issue. My cousin’s daughter has just been diagnosed, and due to the early detection of mammography and the treatment that she received, she’s now considering herself a survivor at only 32 years old,” started Good.
“So I know the importance of mammography and I’m aware of the mobile mammography that brings the service to Smithers. I’m willing to work with the Northern Health Authority and the community to come up with solutions for this issue.”
Both Donaldson and Taylor said they would push for funding of a new machine based in Smithers.
Voters can choose their MLA in advance voting May 3-6 at the Smithers Curling Club and in the New Hazelton council chambers.
General voting day is May 9.
Business and media questions
Affoardable housing 0:45
Northwest Benefits Alliance 5:45
Forestry tariffs 10:30
Mental health 15:20
Program funding eg ICBC 19:00
Keeping retired people home 20:30
Highway 16 affordable travel 22:25
Natural resource extraction approval 24:00
Representing all with Christian platform 25:55
Social service funding 27:40
Value added resources 30:00
Highway 37 electrification 31:00
First Nations consultation 34:25
UN free prior informed consent 36:00
Opioid crisis 37:35
Child social services 39:10
Marijuana legalization 41:30
LNG opposition 42:20
Softwood lumber 43:35
First Nation veto on resources 45:00
Renewable energy 47:10
Social service funding 50:55
Savings in government 53:20
Biggest accomplishment as MLA 55:38
North representation 57:00
Limits on land use for business 58:20
Funding First Nations children 1:00:20
Rod Taylor closing remarks
Wanda Good closing remarks
Doug Donaldson closing remarks