The Skeena riding and its candidates' platforms
The snap provincial election is just a few days away as voters decide which box to check for their candidate of choice if they haven't done so already. The Skeena riding has three candidates contesting the seat in Victoria.
Incumbent MLA & Liberal Ellis Ross, NDP Nicole Halbauer and Independent Martin Holzbauer. Ellis Ross says his party platform focuses on financial recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says the Liberal's plan to accomplish that goal is to remove the PST for the first year and then bring it down to 3 percent the following year.
Ross maintains the Liberal belief in cutting business tax to help struggling small businesses, especially tourism. When asked what issues need to be addressed immediately within the riding, Ross highlighted community safety.
"There has been a lot of talk about the safety of the streets in B.C., and we have been trying to advocate for the safety of our streets for the last three years, and the NDP just refused to listen. We didn't think it was just a housing issue. We thought it was a housing issue versus getting those suffering from substance abuse and getting them treatment. I think that is where B.C. is really struggling, and that's what the B.C. Liberals want to fix."
Ross also mentions advocating for resource development and encouraging investors to come to the area. Nicole Halbauer says she is running to represent those who don't feel heard.
She is passionate about dealing with homelessness, mental health, addictions, ten dollars a day child care, housing and health care, stating that these topics are the cornerstones of the community social safety net.
"Affordable housing across our region has become an issue for many years, and I think one of the key strategies is making sure we have affordable housing for everybody in our ridings so we can reduce homelessness and that people are attracted to our riding so that they can bring their skills here so we can build up our communities and making everything that much better."
Halbauer also mentions the replacement for Mills Memorial Hospital and how it will attract more health care professionals causing a domino effect that attracts other industries. She states it will build up our entire economy and create more long-term jobs than most industrial projects in the area.
Martin Holzbauer, a non-affiliated candidate, feels that an independent MLA could be beneficial in a minority government scenario. He believes that minority governments are more democratic, and he is a strong supporter of proportional representation. He feels increased spending on green energy projects is one way that the B.C. government could begin to recover the economy following COVID-19.
"More energy-efficient housing actually becomes more comfortable and has several different benefits, and to upgrade all of our housing would create local jobs actually not just across this region but across the province and across Canada. But from my point of view, it will benefit everybody."
Holzbauer also expressed his frustration that a snap election was called.