Getting prepared for the provincial election in Golden

Two candidates for the provincial election are starting to discuss the issues.

With a little over a six months before a provincial election will be held in British Columbia, residents in the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding already know two candidates whose names will be on the ballot.

Current MLA Norm Macdonald will be running again for the NDP and Doug Clovechok will be on the ballot for the BC Liberals.

Recently both candidates took time to share their opinions on a number of important topics heading into the election period.

“One of the most important issues for people in Golden and Field is the ability for communities to make decisions for themselves. I believe that the best decisions are made by those who are closest to them,” Macdonald said.  “People in this community are clear that they want to live in a place that properly looks after its seniors and its children, and it is the responsibility of government to make it happen.”

Clovechok shared his view on what people in Golden have been saying to him.

“The biggest concern centres around economic development. People are looking for government representation that will work with them to attract investors into the area and region. The Golden area and the rest of the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding has so much untapped potential that needs to be responsibly promoted and developed,” he said.

Both candidates spoke about the importance of improvements to the Trans Canada Highway and how this undertaking directly relates to Golden.

“Improvements to the Trans Canada Highway are also very important to Field and Golden. Few communities feel the impact of a substandard highway more than we do,” Macdonald said. “That is why I have fought, both as Mayor and as MLA, for a full funding commitment to complete the twinning of the TCH.”

Macdonald went on and said, “The truth is that the money to finish the Trans Canada Highway project is not in the provincial budget. And putting up more signs or making more announcements won’t make it happen.”

On this issue Clovechok said, “The Trans Canada Highway (TCH) project is a critical pillar to the current and future economic and social well being of Golden. Golden is the gateway into B.C. with the TCH being the lifeline. If the region is going to grow, in terms of economic development, we have to have a transportation system that is second to none in the country. The stretch of TCH that runs from Field to Revelstoke is perhaps the most treacherous in terms of winter driving anywhere in Canada, but it is also some of the most scenic in the world and whether you are talking tourism or the transportation of goods, the TCH has to be one of the top priorities of both the federal and provincial governments.” He also added he has had discussions with Premier Christy Clark about this issue.

Both candidates also answered a question about the effects of downloading from higher levels of government and what it is doing to municipalities.

“Government is also responsible for ensuring that its decisions do not place an unreasonable burden on citizens. Many people in this community have struggled with added costs due to things like the HST, increases to MSP and BC Hydro rates. During tough economic times, these added costs can be very difficult to bear,” Macdonald said.

“There is a very real and on-going reality in regards to issues being ‘downloaded’ onto municipal governments from either federal or provincial counterparts. Although many of these issues such as the delivery of social services, the location and maintenance of heli-pads or most recent the Interior Health 4321 water system compliance and regulations need to be at the local government level; but along with these responsibilities, both federal and provincial governments must clearly understand that any reallocation of responsibility must come with complimentary funding; local government cannot be expected to shoulder all of the burden,” Clovechok said. “The May 14, 2013 election is one of the most important elections we will have had in B.C. for quite some time.  As we move towards that date I would ask the people of Golden, Field, and the rest of the riding for that matter, to consider this question: ‘do you want an MLA who is a ‘political ideologue,’ someone who likes to talk about the principles of democracy, or do you want an MLA who has calluses on his hands and is not afraid of work, someone who is not concerned about the politics but about the accomplishments?  If you lean towards the values associated with a working MLA then I would ask people to support me in the next election.”