Candidates gearing up for Osoyoos forum

By on March 14, 2017
Colleen Ross, (left), the provincial NDP candidate in Boundary-Simikameen, will be facing off with Linda Larson, the B.C. Liberal candidate and the incumbent MLA at a candidates' forum in Osoyoos March 23.

Colleen Ross, (left), the provincial NDP candidate in Boundary-Simikameen, will be facing off with Linda Larson, the B.C. Liberal candidate and the incumbent MLA at a candidates’ forum in Osoyoos March 23.

Osoyoos residents are encouraged to have their questions ready for next week’s all-candidates meeting.

The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event at the Sonora Community Centre on March 23 from 7-9 p.m. Other meetings are scheduled in Oliver on March 22 at Frank Venables Theatre and in Okanagan Falls on March 21 at the recreation centre.

Chamber Executive Director Denise Blashko confirmed two provincial election candidates so far – incumbent Liberal MLA Linda Larson and challenger Colleen Ross from the NDP.

No sign of a Green Party or Conservative candidate yet, Blashko said.

The meetings will follow the familiar format of candidates being introduced and given three minutes for their presentations. A public question period will follow, ending with the candidates giving a three-minute summary.

People are being asked to email their questions ahead of time to advocacy@sochamber.ca or they can drop them off at the chamber office at 6237 Main Street in Oliver. People sending their questions are asked to indicate what meeting location they will be attending.

Blashko said the public will be given an opportunity to verbally ask questions if time permits.

Larson said her primary focus will be the economy’s stability.

“I will touch on the different things that we (the Liberals) have done in each community because of the strong economy.”

Larson said her constituents have raised great concern about the province’s Medical Services Plan and how BC is the only province that charges premiums as a separate entity from taxes. She noted that other provinces bury the cost in general taxation.

“We don’t want to bury it (because people need to see what they are paying).”

However, Larson said the Liberals have introduced a plan to revamp the MSP by phasing it out (at least half of it by next year).

“That has taken a lot of pressure off people,” she pointed out.

The Boundary-Similkameen MLA said other issues such as the national park and funding for rural schools have already been dealt with and are “old news.” These were fixed a year ago, she noted.

Larson reiterated the message is building a strong economy and providing jobs for people. “That’s what is most important.”

Ross said it has been too long that residents in Boundary-Similkameen have gone without a representative who really listens to and has the courage to represent their interests in Victoria.

“This is what I’m hearing on the doorstep, again and again. People are feeling squeezed. Fees are going up everywhere: hydro rates, housing/rent costs and camping fees.”

Ross said the Liberals’ MSP overhaul is merely a conveniently timed election promise at this point. She stated that the NDP will phase out MSP premiums completely.

“The bottom line is that regular people are falling behind under this (Liberal) government,” she noted. “The interests of children, seniors, and working families are not being served by this government and people are, quite frankly, fed up and want change.”

Ross said more than 80 per cent of seniors care homes are not funded to the minimum standards, and wait times to see a doctor are causing suffering.

Ross also reminds people that the Liberals went to the Supreme Court to keep kids from getting the support they need in the classroom.

“An entire generation of our kids have missed out on getting the best education they should have received.”

LYONEL DOHERTY

Special to the Times

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2 Comments

  1. Bob Parker

    March 15, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Message to Linda Larson:

    The National Park is NOT old news.
    70% support.
    700 new jobs.
    It would be more realistic to state that Larson herself is OLD NEWS.

    Bob Parker
    Disillusioned member of the BC Liberal Party
    Oliver

  2. Doug Pederson

    March 25, 2017 at 8:58 am

    ?????20 questions from the Chamber of Commerce is way too many
    And the chickens have come home to roost.
    Only 2 candidates at the all candidates meeting is pathetic
    Making it almost impossible to acquire the signatures required
    To get on the ballot is too onerous. Thus few and pathetic
    Quality of candidates.

    At the previous green meeting. A citizen lamented about the
    Low voter turn out. If you want to keep the Youth vote away
    Start with 2 forums put on by retired teachers at a senior center
    Then follow it up with a Chamber of Commerce forum where
    The CofC asks 20 questions. (they shouldn’t ask any)
    Nothing of interest to the general public ever gets asked.

    Anyway they are uploaded right now…
    see youtube spectateswamp and Senora Center 23 Mar 2017

    Hopefully I’ll have enough names to get on the next forum. Just to relieve the boredom.
    Transparency through Video
    Doug Pederson Candidate.

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