By Pioneer staff

The Pioneer asked three questions to our candidates Samson Boyer (Green Party), Nicole Cherlet (NDP) and Doug Clovechok (Liberal) from our district Columbia River – Revelstoke. Mark your calendar if it’s not done yet, Election day is on Oct. 24.

What will you do as MLA to address the impact of the ongoing COVID pandemic on Columbia-River Revelstoke?

Boyer – Green: The impact of the ongoing COVID pandemic has affected us all, whether you are a small business owner who worries about making it through the month or a parent who’s concerned for their children going back to school. It has been a stressful summer for many of us. If elected, I would support the Green Party’s just transition program for workers to move to guaranteed well-paying jobs in the clean economy. This would include a $1billion strategic investment fund to support business innovation, especially initiatives that would help B.C. shift to a zero-carbon economy. What I would like to see for the Kootenays is an investment in tech and innovation across all sectors. Non-for-profit organizations like the Columbia Valley maker-space in Invermere or the MIDAS Fab Lab in Trail are great leaders. We also need to encourage sustainable local agriculture and manufacturing, which is essential to reducing our GHG emissions and building a resilient local economy.

Cherlet – NDP: People are worried about their loved ones and a future that looks different than we had ever imagined. I put my name forward this election because I believe the B.C. NDP are the right people to ensure we build a recovery from the COVID pandemic that includes everyone – not just those at the very top. We need to keep B.C. moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made so far by following the expert advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry. John Horgan’s plan includes a record $1.6 billion investment in healthcare to fight COVID: Hiring 7,000 front-line health care workers in long-term care and assisted living; Boosting testing capacity to 20,000 per day; Hiring 600 more contact tracers to stop outbreaks. Once a vaccine is available, we will provide it free of charge to everyone in B.C.

Clovechok – Liberal: I will continue to work with local organizations and constituents as I have been doing over the past seven months to help them navigate successfully through the programs being offered by government. I will continue to work hard to make sure that the unique needs in Columbia River Revelstoke are heard as I did with the Tourism sector over the past three and a half years and especially over the last seven months. Economically we have not been in such a situation since the end of the WWII and that is why I support the proposed stimulus spending to keep our local businesses open, keep people working, and put more money back into the pockets of families. Cutting the PST for one year and then holding it to 3% will mean more people will spend money locally, instead of buying across our borders. Eliminating the small business tax will help keep people working.

Aside from the COVID pandemic, what — in your opinion — is the biggest issue facing Columbia-River Revelstoke, and what will you do to address it as MLA?

Boyer – Green: Talking to the people of this riding, I believe that affordability is one of the biggest issues facing our communities. Housing prices have been rising for decades with no sign of stopping. Half a billion for a home just isn’t affordable for most people just entering or leaving the economy. When you add together the cost of rent, childcare and stagnant wages, moving from renter to owner seems out of reach. That’s if you are able to find a long term rental in the first place. When elected MLA, I will work with the other parties to address this by establishing a capital fund for the purposes of housing acquisitions to create affordable rentals as well as creating a Renter’s Housing Grant that will help low- to moderate-income households pay rent when it’s more than 30% of their income. Until $10 a day daycare is implemented province wide, the B.C. Greens will support parents with $500 a month.

Cherlet – NDP: For too many years under the B.C. Liberals, people in rural communities like ours, were largely ignored when it came to investments in essential services. We can’t go back to how it was before and throw away the progress we’ve made on issues like childcare and the environment. Instead of tax cuts that benefit the wealthy, like Andrew Wilkinson is proposing, we need to keep investing in people – better healthcare for seniors, skills training for workers, and affordable housing for families. The climate crisis is the global challenge of our time. We’re already seeing the impacts in Columbia River-Revelstoke and owe it to future generations to do our part. The B.C. NDP worked closely with Dr. Andrew Weaver to develop CleanBC – the most ambitious climate plan in North America. We now have an economic opportunity to ‘build back better’ and tackle climate change, while making life better for people.

Clovechok – Liberal: Apart from COVID-19 the biggest issues I have heard from people are transportation, childcare, wildlife management and access to healthcare. I have successfully worked to improve access to the Health Connection bus, I have relentlessly brought up our transborder health issues with the BC & AB Health Ministers, and worked with MOTI to ensure the Kicking Horse Canyon project team addresses the safety concerns residents have with the future hwy closures. I will continue to make sure that affordable childcare is available to those who need it and that we train more early childhood educators. The ungulate populations have never been lower and we need science driven wildlife management decisions and actions to ensure wildlife populations are sustainable. I will work hard to ensure that hunting and other wildlife fees are used to fund enhancement of wild space and wild populations.

Describe how your background makes you uniquely suited to be MLA of Columbia-River Revelstoke.

Boyer – Green: I have been an instructor, student, farmer, manager, director. But at the end of the day I am a resident of the Kootenays and I am terrified for my future. Terrified of the effects of climate change. While running this campaign, I have been taking a full university course load and it’s freaking hard. Not because there is too much to do (there kind of is) but because I am overwhelmed with the feeling that I have to do more to fight climate change. As a young person, my generation and my children’s generation will face the brunt of climate change. To be honest, I’m tired, tired of watching politicians ignore the science, tired of the inaction, tired of the uphill battle. But I can’t give up and I won’t, I want a future for myself and my children.

Cherlet – NDP: Our province is a stunning place with a rich culture, beautiful environment, and amazing communities. I felt welcomed when I moved here in 2006, fell in love with my husband in Invermere in 2007, and found home when I moved to Revelstoke in 2008. I’ve always felt strongly about community service and feel that is how we contribute to the next generation. If I want to see positive change, I know I have a responsibility to help make it happen. As a city councillor, I have seen the difference that having a diversity of perspectives makes at the decision-making table. With my experience as a small business owner and past president of my local chamber of commerce, I know I can be a strong voice to represent our riding – and rural communities – in a B.C. NDP government led by John Horgan. It’s time that Columbia River-Revelstoke had a seat at the table in Victoria.

Clovechok – Liberal: My job as the MLA is to listen to and work hard for the people of this riding. I ran for MLA in 2017, so I could put my lifetime experience in public education, tourism, and small business to work for the people of Columbia River-Revelstoke. Regardless of political affiliations, I worked with residents from across CRR to solve problems and improve their lives. Together we have accomplished a lot, improving our highways, wildlife management, protecting our natural resources, and helping families and employers navigate government red tape so they can thrive. Over the last three and a half years as your MLA, I have proven that I can bring people together and get Victoria to work for us. I would be honoured to continue fighting for our riding’s unique needs and working to find solutions – my team and I are ready to get back to work the day after the election.