MacLeod to represent NDP in West Vancouver-Garibaldi 

Lions Bay psychologist wins party nomination

The 2010 Olympic bid, the environment and education are tipped to be key issues in the upcoming provincial government election by the NDP candidate in West Vancouver-Garibaldi, Barrie MacLeod.

MacLeod, who works with special needs students in the Howe Sound School District as a school psychologist, was nominated at a meeting in Lions Bay last Sunday. He will run for the seat against Liberal candidate and current MLA, Ted Nebbeling. The Green Party is expected to announce its candidate on April 4.

MacLeod says preserving the quality of life within the Howe Sound corridor will be a key issue in the campaign.

"With the rapid pace of development, especially in view of the 2010 Olympic bid, we must be sure that all residents participate in planning the future." He says the NDP supports the Olympic bid, but will be pushing to ensure certain demographic groups are not sidelined or the environment sacrificed in the process.

"If the bid succeeds we will be looking at all kinds of issues from widening Highway 99 to expanding sea and rail facilities," he says. "Housing conditions for workers are chronic in the corridor, especially in Whistler, so lower to middle income families and First Nations must be included in the decision making so homes don’t become prohibitively expensive."

MacLeod also runs a private practice as an educational consultant and works with children in schools in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. He currently resides in Lions Bay and previously lived in West Vancouver for five years. Education is one of his key platforms.

"I believe in life-long learning and actually completed my second masters degree in 1995," he says. "The NDP has invested strongly in education during its time in office, with 150 new schools and a six year freeze on post secondary tuition fees."

MacLeod says he advocates more opportunities for adult students in the corridor and improved communication between education authorities and other ministries.

"We can deliver a better service to children if schools, for example, are notified of students’ special needs from the start, because the early years are the most crucial in a child’s development."

MacLeod says environment issues such as the future of the Elaho and logging are important in the corridor and he will be brushing up on these topics.

"I will be consulting with many people, including specialist committees in the riding that will be developing over the next week or so," he explains. "The NDP has an excellent environmental record and has set aside large protected areas of land in B.C. and made significant gains in preserving fish habitat, but there are still many problems such as the Britannia mine cleanup and other issues."

This election will not be MacLeod’s first foray into the political arena. He ran twice previously as an NDP candidate in Ontario during the 1980s.

"Things have certainly changed since 1981 when there was no e-mail or faxes," he says. "The information flow is a lot heavier and it’s a challenge keeping up with it all."

As for this campaign, MacLeod hopes it will be fought on issues, rather than personalities.

"It’s going to be a very interesting campaign and a challenge to help traditional Liberal voters in this constituency get beyond the rhetoric and think about who best represents their values."

He says his background reinforces his belief that everyone should be able to participate fully in the economy and society.

"I grew up in family that experienced hard times," he explains. "We benefited from quality education, health care and social supports… we must protect the gains we have made."

MacLeod’s other interests include singing in local choirs and productions, and church work. His memberships include the Canadian Association of School Psychologists, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, the Council of Canadians and Amnesty International. He is on the executive of both the West Vancouver-Garibaldi NDP and the federal West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast NDP.

By law, the next provincial election must be called by June 28, 2001.

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