Final thoughts before Election Day 

BC voters head to the polls on Tuesday, May 9

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With Election Day just around the corner — Tues., May 9 — Pique is wrapping up its campaign coverage with some final thoughts from the candidates.

We posed the same three questions to each candidate, giving them the chance to respond in their own words.

Here's what they had to say.

Jordan Sturdy, BC Liberals

PIQUE: If elected, what would be your first priority?

JORDAN STURDY: My top priority would be the implementation of a Sea to Sky Regional Transit system connecting Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish, and Metro Vancouver. I have already done a lot of the groundwork to get this started, and had the province commit to its share of the funding. Transit from Pemberton to Metro Vancouver will help maintain existing capacity on Highway 99, give commuters options, reduce GHGs, and it can boost tourism opportunities throughout the corridor as it allows people to ski or hike throughout the region without bringing a car. Long term, we will have a fresh look at rail connections.

PIQUE: What do you see as the single biggest issue facing the riding, and how will you address it?

JS: Affordable housing is the most pressing issue. Families and businesses alike suffer when there aren't adequate housing options. Partnerships with all levels of government are essential to success. With BC Housing, I have made good progress in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton on employee, seniors and vulnerable population-oriented housing projects. The BC Liberals have made the largest investment in affordable housing anywhere in Canada. Rental supplements, mortgage buy downs, down-payment programs and encouraging density and transit-oriented communities along with foreign buyer restrictions are all ways that we try and support housing affordability. More needs to be done.

PIQUE: There is a lot of cynicism around politics these days — how will you restore the public's trust in politics?

JS: We absolutely need reform in the way political organizations are funded. I support the party plan to remove politicians from the decision-making process through an independent expert panel, informed by average citizens. The federal government has set contribution limits and banned corporate and union donations and actions like these need to be implemented for citizens to have confidence that decisions are made in the best interest of all British Columbians. As mayor of Pemberton, I scheduled regular "Coffee with The Mayor" events and I commit to ongoing "Beverage with the MLA" events to make me more accessible to you.

Dana Taylor, Green Party

PIQUE: If elected, what would be your first priority?

DANA TAYLOR: Apart from a promised return visit to the Squamish Nation elders, I want next to drill down deeper to assess more precisely the affordable housing needs throughout the corridor. To me this would involve meeting with all communities to inventory their plans and identify priorities. Clearly the problems are significant when a Squamish mother tells me her 20-something son is paying $900 per month for a single room, or a hotel clerk in Whistler tells me she questions every guest passing through if they know of any apartments in the area, and even West Vancouver is left scrambling to create a land trust.

PIQUE: What do you see as the single biggest issue facing the riding, and how will you address it?

DT: Woodfibre LNG is by far the biggest issue, opposed overwhelmingly by a majority of vocal constituents throughout the riding. It should be no surprise, given public concerns and objections to the proposal about which numerous environmental, safety, regulatory, and financial risks and problems have been identified. Based on my election success being a referendum on its acceptance, I would first respectfully request the proponents to withdraw their application.

PIQUE: There is a lot of cynicism around politics these days — how will you restore the public's trust in politics?

DT: It is also pretty clear that Woodfibre LNG is at the very heart of the corrupting influence of corporate and union donations in B.C. First, banning such donations, as our party did last year, would be a start. Politicians are supposed to be public servants, not gatekeepers. Demonstrate integrity by providing equal access, conduct thorough investigations, add transparency and clear accountability to the processes, and pass legislation according to merit and service to all British Columbians, not just the favoured few.

Michelle Livaja, NDP

PIQUE: If elected, what would be your first priority?

MICHELLE LIVAJA: To listen and learn. I've met many people on the doorsteps and at all-candidates meetings. Now it's time to meet with the local governments, First Nations and community groups to make sure I deeply understand what constituents are most concerned about at the community level and what solutions they are looking for from their elected MLA.

PIQUE: What do you see as the single biggest issue facing the riding, and how will you address it?

ML: How to maintain our Sea-to-Sky lifestyle in the midst of population growth. I'm hearing a great deal of concern about lack of affordable housing and rental options. Transit and transportation are an issue. More people puts more strain on our spectacular environment as well as services and amenities. The NDP is committing to investing in affordable housing, transit and community health centres. But it's up to us to determine what that will look like — what's right for Squamish isn't necessarily what's right for Whistler or for Pemberton.

PIQUE: There is a lot of cynicism around politics these days — how will you restore the public's trust in politics?

ML: By earning it! Through representing the people's wishes to the government rather than selling the government's agenda to the people, which is what I believe has been happening. We know our communities best, and our community wishes aren't always being listened to. Also, by getting big money out of politics. No more donations from corporations, unions or out-of-province donors, and putting caps on individual donations. Governments should represent the people they serve, not organizations, and in our current pay-to-play environment, decisions are being made that aren't necessarily in the best interest of the people of B.C.

Tristan Galbraith, Independent

PIQUE: If elected, what would be your first priority?

TRISTRAN GALBRAITH: First priority would be some temporary housing in Whistler, notably trailers in the industrial and trailer park and Mons, south of Function Junction at Callaghan crossing and the dump area. We also need to ban all plastic bottles, bring back log-cabin building, get more doctors and health care providers, encourage greater recycling, cycling and volunteering. We also need private marijuana testing facilities. When medicinal marijuana gets legal there will be mass consumption and our riding cannot afford shortages.

PIQUE: What do you see as the single biggest issue facing the riding, and how will you address it?

TG: Our big issue is labour and costs to build. The corridor is also experiencing a transit struggle. West Vancouver house prices have skyrocketed, we need more talented builders and leaders. There has been a mass destruction of young persons hierarchy of needs in our community. My campaign is focused on logic and common sense. We need more talented, focused, young representation.

PIQUE: There is a lot of cynicism around politics these days — how will you restore the public's trust in politics?

TG: Cynicism has been a part of politics since we started negotiating goods and services with others nearly seven million years ago, and as discovered in ancient Mesopotamia. Everyone has something the other person needs (at one point). I was lucky and chose a great business here. I have experienced a tremendous amount of discomfort. I have also had run-ins with police, fire and municipal forces. When the hobbit house in Alpine caught fire, my grandma died and my knee blew up and I knew I couldn't ski race. As well, I have experienced North Vancouver courts, corruption and our government ripping apart people.

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