Bob Simpson is the incumbent MLA in Cariboo North and is running as an independent candidate.
He submitted the following information to the Tribune as his running platform.
An Independent’s view of party platforms.
I get a chuckle out of the criticism that Independents don’t have platforms they can be held accountable to. And political parties do? What about the NDP’s balanced budget platform in the 1996 election that became the “fudge-it budget” debacle? Or, Gordon Campbell’s 2001 platform promise to not sell BC Rail, and his 2009 commitment to not introduce HST?
Political party candidates have no idea which promises in their platforms are real and which are simply vote-getting rhetoric. Nor do they know what their leader’s real agenda for B.C. is until they after the election. The reason for this is simple: party platforms are not based on a set of coherent principles or deep policy work; they’re merely a collection of promises designed to keep the party’s traditional voting base happy while not scaring away other potential voters.
As an Independent, I can commit to my constituents that I’ll never have to put a political leader or political party’s interest over theirs. Unlike party MLAs, all of my votes are free votes and all of my work as an MLA is based on my own assessment of a particular issue formed through research and conversations with my constituents.
With that freedom to represent my constituents’ needs, I will continue to work for fairer treatment for seniors. Our seniors should not be paying MSP premiums, and more seniors’-related health services and benefits should be fully covered by MSP. I will also continue to advocate for more home care and affordable housing for seniors, as well as an end to DriveABLE testing in favour of real driving tests.
I will continue to challenge the next government to address the systemic causes of poverty and make more affordable housing options available in all our communities. Any tax money invested in poverty reduction and affordable housing will benefit our local economies because that money will be spent in local businesses.
As an Independent MLA, I will be free to challenge the next government to undertake meaningful reform of our education and health care systems. These systems should not receive more tax money until they have been carefully and collaboratively reformed to make sure that direct patient care and student learning are their true focus.
I will also continue to promote more rational and sustainable development of B.C.’s abundant natural resources and seek a shift in focus back to B.C.’s renewable sectors: forests, farming, and fisheries. British Columbians deserve to get more direct benefits from our natural resources; not just jobs for British Columbians, but also more direct revenue to the provincial government in the form of royalties and resource rents.
Rural communities must also obtain more direct benefit from the natural resource extraction taking place in their region, and First Nations rights and title issues must be addressed.
I would also work with all MLAs in the Legislature to reform our democratic systems so every MLA will be able to actively and freely represent their constituents’ interests.