B.C. VOTES 2020: Cariboo-Chilcotin candidates Q&A, part two

Videos featuring B.C. Election candidates in the Cariboo-Chilcotin riding are available on the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce Youtube channel. (File image)
Scott Andrews, BC NDP (Photo submitted)
James Buckley, Libertarian Party (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
David Laing, BC Green Party candidate. (File photo)
Katya Potekhina, Independent  (Photo submitted)
Lorne Doerkson is the BC Liberals candidate in the Cariboo Chilcotin riding.

We asked the Cariboo Chilcotin candidates for the B.C. Election four questions. Here are the answers in alphabetical order.

Scott Andrews, BC NDP

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo Chilcotin and how would you address them?

Making sure that seniors have the appropriate long-term care and primary health care are vital issues. Under the BC Liberals, nine out of every 10 care homes were not adequately staffed. John Horgan and the BC NDP, will fix the understaffing problem left by the previous government. We’ll hire 7,000 new workers in long-term and assisted living facilities, we’ll build new public homes and eliminate multi-bed rooms in existing homes so seniors can live in dignity. And our Silver Alert system will help find seniors in crisis, particularly those with dementia.

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

We’ve seen instances in which politicians have been found to have said racist or sexist or homophobic things when they thought it was a private discussion. I think public officials need to hold themselves to a higher standard and not make those kinds of comments, even in private. It’s fair for voters to make decisions based on what they see politicians post on social media.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title?

The BC NDP government made history by bringing in the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and I’m very proud of my government for that. Rights and title are not a question: the Supreme Court has ended that discussion and it’s incumbent on British Columbia and Canada to engage, on a government-to-government basis, with Indigenous nations.

READ MORE: Q&A with five Cariboo-Chilcotin candidates

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

Of course, the inability to do direct door-knocking has made it more of a challenge to engage with voters, but my team has been phoning and leaving leaflets to make sure that voters in the Cariboo-Chilcotin are fully up to speed with how John Horgan and the BC NDP government are going to keep British Columbia moving forward. The pandemic has been challenging on all fronts, but we’re working hard to build an economy that works for everyone – not just those at the top.

James Buckley, Libertarian

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and how would you address them?

I think housing and affordable living. To address these issues we need more long-term care homes along with assisted living homes. Then to make things more affordable, remove the carbon tax, also allowing for competition in hydro and gas which should lower prices.

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

Yes, because politicians are supposed to be acting on their constituents behalf, therefore they should be professional on all platforms while in office.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title.

I think the land claims need to be settled as quickly as possible so that we can then work together to reach some common goals. I also feel that moving towards a self governing body would allow for them to look after their cultural, social and economic needs without the outside interferences that are being faced now.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

I have been using my social media a little bit, the media, a few interviews but mostly my campaigning has been word of mouth.

Lorne Doerkson, BC Liberals

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo Chilcotin and how would you address them?

Lack of affordable space and long-term care for seniors is an issue in our region but particularly in 100 Mile House — where there is no availability. There are units available in Williams Lake but … no staff to open them. We can build all the infrastructure we want but if we have no staff to run it – the infrastructure will be of little use. I believe that we need to commit to building the infrastructure and focus on training professionals to staff those new facilities. In the meantime, we have promised a $7,000 tax credit for all seniors to help them stay in their current homes, to help with the cost of things like yard care, snow removal and cleaning. It is a short-term solution, a bridge, to the real solution of building and staffing long term care solutions for or residents.

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

Politicians are public figures. I believe the office comes with a set of standards that always needs to be upheld. As uncomfortable as that may be and as constricting as that is – I believe that many people look to politicians for their thoughts and opinions and I think it is imperative for a person in this position to be consistent in their posts. Especially in the very public venue of social media. However, I would add that we all make mistakes and I would be the first to admit when I have.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title?

I believe that the biggest problem with the land rights debate – is the secrecy around it. This process must absolutely be public and it must include community consultation. I think the secrecy around this process is causing many issues that are not even factual. This is being caused by our government’s lack of transparency. We need this process to be genuine, respectful and sincere for all parties it is the only way to reach true reconciliation. I also believe that people caught in this situation by no fault of their own will have to be compensated fairly.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

Our campaign has been extremely different compared to past campaigns. We have been very respectful when door knocking, wearing masks and keeping a large distance between ourselves and folks in their home. We have also had several “tailgate” meetings in many of our communities which allows us to be outside and distanced. In our offices we are observing all Worksafe BC rules, people are greeted with an opportunity to mask, sanitize and sign a sign-in sheet for the purposes of contact tracing. Of course, we have also had a very active social media campaign as well and our team has been making very many phone calls through out the region also.

David Laing, BC Greens

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo Chilcotin and how would you address them?

This province has a lot of work to do to ensure that there is a dramatic increase to the quality of care in long-term care facilities. We need to put an end to for-profit long-term care facilities and replace them with a not for profit or co-op run model. We need an increase in funding and staffing for long-term care facilities and the facilities should be regularly inspected by an independent agency to ensure that quality of care standards are being met.

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

Yes, accountability is very important and what politicians are putting out on social media is reflective of their views, and their views affect public policy. It is the duty of the public to hold elected officials accountable.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title?

We should follow the recommendations highlighted in the truth and reconciliation commission. We must consult first with Indigenous peoples with any activities on their traditional territories that may impact their lives and the lives of future generations and attain their free prior and informed consent. I am committed to ensuring that this happens and would like to add that I have Indigenous roots myself. My grandmother, Glenna Sault was an Ojibwe woman from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and I have many relatives who live there today.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

Mostly online through social media. I am not wanting to host a large public fundraiser and am looking for donations online to help with my campaign. Facebook is the best place to reach me.

Katya Potekhina, Independent

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo Chilcotin and how would you address them?

The most traumatic, recent and pressing issue for seniors has been the lock down and isolation they have had imposed upon them. This is true for seniors in our riding as well as all over the province. Lockdown has been hard on seniors and their families, piled on the top of already accumulated problems. Seniors are the very people, who gave their lives to our generation. This is heavy and unfair to them. I state — seniors and children are the most vulnerable population categories which need to be approached as gently as possible.

One of the most humane approaches our government should have taken in case of announced pandemic, would be to provide family and close friends, visitor privilege in senior care facilities with full protection suits or arranging safe place for meetings. I am amazed, not in a good sense, that government chose to “imprison” seniors rather than lift them and us up, while bringing leadership and positivity. It is a documented fact 2010 AARP research survey that loneliness and isolation is a considerable contributor to poor health.

As a practicing counsellor, holding a bachelors in psychology, with the experience of longitudinal studies on children for my thesis, I can assure you, that lock-down measures, and fear tactics, spread on us via media plus extra restrictions/rules, kill our immune system. Fear tactic, which advises us to hide and take flu shots, rather than strongly suggesting British Columbians to have healthy lifestyles, eat healthy, workout, makes me wonder what is the rationale our government is pursuing overall. It is well-known fact, that when in fear and isolation, people have reduced immune systems and tend to slide into depression. This is the root cause of suicide and drug misuse spikes during these days and explosion in mental health issues at much higher rate than it used to be!

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

That would depend on what officials are promoting privately.

However, I believe all politicians should be fully accountable for their actions in the exercise of their duties to the public. I also believe and advocate for consequences for any politician who is guilty of betraying the public trust which she/he is paid to uphold. It is a fundamental duty of all democratic governments, to provide transparency, accountability, and lawful consequence of politicians for the public they serve.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title?

It is the time, when we, as community have to come to a table and communicate to the government how we want our needs to be addressed. Cariboo-Chilcotin First Nations’ needs and visions around land claims/rights might be different from other communities First Nations. Government has proven that applying cut and paste cookie method does not resolve issues, and neither does ignoring the issue. At the end of the day cookie cut approach sparks racism. It is time, when community has to step up and tell what government needs to do and through Independent MLA, who will not restrict developed action plan to a certain political party agenda.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

I use common sense and respect for each individual’s feeling about COVID-19 situation. I will meet with people and utilize the suggested protocols if that is what makes them feel safe. I use social media and other means to connect with people.


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