James Buckley, Libertarian Party

BC VOTES 2020: Q&A with five Cariboo-Chilcotin candidates

We asked each candidate to answer five questions

We asked the five provincial election candidates from the Cariboo-Chilcotin five questions. Here are their answers placed in alphabetical order of their last names.

Scott Andrews, BC NDP

Who are you and why do you want to represent the Cariboo-Chilcotin?

I am a young professional with long-standing ties to this region – my grandfather first bought property in this region decades ago. I want to represent the Cariboo-Chilcotin because this beautiful area and the kind, welcoming people who live here deserve representation in a John Horgan government committed to moving B.C. forward. For too long, and especially under the BC Liberals, rural B.C. hasn’t benefited from the economic growth experienced by the Lower Mainland. The BC NDP plan doesn’t leave anyone behind, and having the Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA in a BC NDP government caucus would mean that this region would get the kinds of investments and services it truly deserves.

What do you feel are the top issues in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and how would you address them?

The Cariboo-Chilcotin deserves an economy that works for everyone. We deserve good jobs, whether that’s in traditional sectors like forestry or agriculture, or in the growing and important tourism industry, or in sectors that haven’t yet come to the fore. A BC NDP government would make sure public resources, like Crown lands, benefit everyone, not just a few at the top. But we also need strong services like health care and education that we all rely on. People in Williams Lake, 100 Mile and everywhere in this region should be able to access the kind of services that those in larger centres take for granted. Our government has been delivering on those services – building schools and hospitals and setting up Urgent Primary Care Centres – and our plan will only expand on that good work.

READ MORE: Elections BC says it has received an unprecedented number of vote-by-mail package requests this election

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo Chilcotin and how would you address them?

Making sure that seniors have the appropriate long term care and primary health care are vital issues. Under the BC Liberals, nine out of every 10 care homes were not adequately staffed. John Horgan and the BC NDP will fix the understaffing problem left by the previous government. We’ll hire 7,000 new workers in long-term and assisted living facilities, we’ll build new public homes and eliminate multi-bed rooms in existing homes so seniors can live in dignity. And our Silver Alert system will help find seniors in crisis, particularly those with dementia.

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

We’ve seen instances in which politicians have been found to have said racist or sexist or homophobic things when they thought it was a private discussion. I think public officials need to hold themselves to a higher standard and not make those kinds of comments, even in private. It’s fair for voters to make decisions based on what they see politicians post on social media.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title?

The BC NDP government made history by bringing in the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and I’m very proud of my government for that. Rights and title are not a question: the Supreme Court has ended that discussion and it’s incumbent on British Columbia and Canada to engage, on a government-to-government basis, with Indigenous nations.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

Of course, the inability to do direct door-knocking has made it more of a challenge to engage with voters, but my team has been phoning and leaving leaflets to make sure that voters in Cariboo-Chilcotin are fully up to speed with how John Horgan and the BC NDP government are going to keep British Columbia moving forward. The pandemic has been challenging on all fronts, but we’re working hard to build an economy that works for everyone – not just those at the top.

James Buckley, Libertarian

Who are you and why do you want to represent the Cariboo-Chilcotin?

I’m James Buckley, I’m 43 years old. I would like to represent the Cariboo-Chilcotin because after living in 100 Mile house for 23 years I feel that I have a fairly good understanding of the issues that are happening not only in 100 Mile House but also the vast surrounding area. I think with my drive and dedication, we can see the Cariboo Chilcotin flourish once again.

What do you feel are the top issues in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and how would you address them?

I feel the two biggest issues right now would be mental health and the opioid crisis which go hand in hand. To help address those issues, getting funding for treatment centres and hiring more mental health workers to take on the backlog of patients. The second pressing issue is our natural resource sector, getting the mills up and running again and mill workers back to work would be huge, and not just for them but many other industries that rely on the lumber industry. To accomplish that, lowering stumpage rates would be a good start.

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and how would you address them?

I think housing and affordable living. To address these issues we need more long-term care homes along with assisted living homes. Then to make things more affordable, remove the carbon tax, also allowing for competition in hydro and gas which should lower prices.

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

Yes, because politicians are supposed to be acting on their constituents behalf, therefore they should be professional on all platforms while in office.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title.

Land claims need to be settled as quickly as possible so that we can work together to reach some common goals. I also feel that moving towards a self governing body would allow them to look after their cultural, social and economic needs without the outside interferences that are being faced now.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

I have been using my social media a little bit, the media, a few interviews, but mostly my campaigning has been word of mouth.

Lorne Doerkson, BC Liberals

Who are you and why do you want to represent the Cariboo-Chilcotin?

I am thrilled for the opportunity to represent our region as MLA. My family and I have lived here in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House for almost 20 years and have raised our two daughters here. I have been involved in several small businesses and have always believed in community service and volunteer work in the region. I have a very good understanding of the region and its needs. I believe the region needs a strong voice to carry the concerns of our residents to Victoria. I believe in transparency in government and community consultation and participation.

What do you feel are the top issues in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and how would you address them?

There are opportunities for economic growth on our land. We are rich in diverse ecosystems, providing opportunities for new ventures. Working together creating land-use plans with open transparent consultation.

In order to retain qualified daycare workers, a provincial wage must be established. Our newly announced $7,000 seniors tax credit will assist in getting care at home right now while working towards a more affordable seniors’ housing and long-term care. Economic recovery through the elimination of the PST for one year and three percent for the second year, allows investment into the economy, creating jobs and strength for our small business sector.

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo Chilcotin and how would you address them?

Lack of affordable space and long-term care for seniors is an issue in our region but particularly in 100 Mile House -where there is no availability. There are units available in Williams Lake but…. no staff to open them. We can build all the infrastructure we want but if we have no staff to run it – the infrastructure will be of little use. I believe that we need to commit to building the infrastructure and focus on training professionals to staff those new facilities. In the meantime, we have promised a $7,000 tax credit for all seniors to help them stay in their current homes, to help with the cost of things like yard care, snow removal and cleaning. It is a short-term solution, a bridge, to the real solution of building and staffing long term care solutions for or residents.

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

Politicians are public figures. I believe the office comes with a set of standards that always needs to be upheld. As uncomfortable as that may be and as constricting as that is – I believe that many people look to politicians for their thoughts and opinions and I think it is imperative for a person in this position to be consistent in their posts. Especially in the very public venue of social media. However, I would add that we all make mistakes and I would be the first to admit when I have.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title?

I believe that the biggest problem with the land rights debate – is the secrecy around it. This process must absolutely be public and it must include community consultation. I think that the secrecy around this process is causing many issues that are not even factual. This is being caused by our government’s lack of transparency. We need this process to be genuine, respectful and sincere for all parties as it is the only way to reach true reconciliation. I also believe that people caught in this situation by no fault of their own will have to be compensated fairly.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

Our campaign has been extremely different compared to past campaigns. We have been very respectful when door knocking, wearing masks and keeping a large distance between ourselves and folks in their home. We have also had several “tailgate” meetings in many of our communities, which allows us to be outside and distanced.

In our offices we are observing all Worksafe BC rules, people are greeted with an opportunity to mask, sanitize and sign a sign-in sheet for the purposes of contact tracing. Of course, we have also had a very active social media campaign as well and our team has been making very many phone calls throughout the region also.

David Laing, BC Greens

Who are you and why do you want to represent the Cariboo-Chilcotin?

My name is David Laing. I am an organic gardener and an environmentalist with a passion for social justice. I want to represent the Cariboo-Chilcotin because I have taken up residence here and want to help make a positive change locally.

What do you feel are the top issues in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and how would you address them?

I think one of the most important topics locally is forest management and climate change. We need to ensure that we are protecting our communities from forest fires, and removing our dead standing pine that is leftover from the northern pine beetle damage. Another top issue for me is seniors care: we have a serious need for an increase in services for our aging population in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region.

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo Chilcotin and how would you address them?

This province has a lot of work to do to ensure there is a dramatic increase to the quality of care in long-term care facilities. We need to put an end to for-profit long term care facilities and replace them with a not-for-profit or coop run model. We need an increase in funding and staffing for long term care facilities and the facilities should be regularly inspected by an independent agency to ensure that quality of care standards are being met.

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

Yes, accountability is very important and what politicians are putting out on social media is reflective of their views, and their views affect public policy. It is the duty of the public to hold elected officials accountable.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title?

We should follow the recommendations highlighted in the truth and reconciliation commission. We must consult first with indigenous peoples with any activities on their traditional territories that may impact their lives and the lives of future generations and attain their free, prior, and informed consent. I am committed to ensuring that this happens and would like to add that I have indigenous roots myself. My grandmother, Glenna Sault was an Ojibwe woman from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and I have many relatives who live there today.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

Mostly online through social media. I am not wanting to host a large public fundraiser and am looking for donations online to help with my campaign. Facebook is the best place to reach me.

Katya Potekhina, Independent

Who are you and why do you want to represent the Cariboo-Chilcotin?

My family moved to Canada in 2006. I am a proud and fortunate Canadian, Cariboo-Chilcotin resident of six years with a blend of Russian and Ukrainian ancestry. I value both the opportunity to live in this great country, province and what is more important – our community. My values are: Responsibility, honesty, integrity, love and compassion, respect and kindness, and an open mind.

I am running as an Independent candidate because it is time to give back to the community and to be a voice for the community. I choose to be our community watchdog over a warm seat and career in any political party. It is unfortunate that small communities get lost in the political turmoil of larger political parties’ games.

I will listen to your issues and not tell you what they are. I will work hard to address the things that matter to you, to the people of this riding. It’s time for me to give back to our community on a bigger scale after serving our community for many years.

What do you feel are the top issues in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and how would you address them?

Coming from the country, where autocratic government took away my rights and freedoms as a citizen, I deem our freedom issue is our number one priority. The current pandemic revealed how it is easy to lose these under the wrong government.

Without the ability to exercise our rights and freedoms and freedom of speech, we will not be able to resolve other issues for one simple reason. Our voice will simply not be heard by autocratic government. Rather than listening to our concerns, the government will tell us what our concerns are, which is already happening.

Here are some issues (but not limited to these): Securing natural resources, agriculture, forestry, mining for the future while balancing the rights of the land title holders and the environment, working with all parties to find balance and to ensure all parties come to the table and work to solve issues.

What do you think are the most pressing needs for seniors in the Cariboo Chilcotin and how would you address them?

The most traumatic, recent and pressing issue for seniors has been the lock down and isolation they have had imposed upon them. This is true for seniors in our riding as well as all over the province. Lockdown has been hard on seniors and their families, piled on the top of already accumulated problems. Seniors are the very people who gave their lives to our generation. This is heavy and unfair to them. I state: seniors and children are our most vulnerable populations and need to be approached as gently as possible.

One of the most humane approaches our government should have taken in announcing the pandemic would have been to provide family and close friends visitor privilege in senior care facilities – with full protection suits or arranging safe place for meetings. I am amazed, not in a good sense, that government chose to “imprison” seniors rather than lift them and us up, while bringing leadership and positivity. It is a documented fact 2010 AARP research survey that loneliness and isolation is a considerable contributor to poor health.

As a practicing counsellor, holding a bachelor degree in psychology, with the experience of longitudinal studies on children for my thesis, I can assure you, that lock-down measures, and fear tactics, spread on us, via media plus extra restrictions/rules, kill our immune system. Fear tactics, which advises us to hide and take flu shots, rather than strongly suggesting British Columbians have healthy lifestyles, eat healthy and work out, makes me wonder what is the rationale our government is pursuing overall. It is a well-known fact, that when in fear and isolation people have reduced immune systems and tend to slide into depression. This is the root cause of suicide and drug misuse spikes during these days and explosion in mental health issues at much higher rate than it used to be!

Do you believe politicians should be accountable professionally for what they promote privately on their social media channels?

That would depend on what officials are promoting privately.

However, I believe all politicians should be fully accountable for their actions in the exercise of their duties to the public.

I also believe and advocate for consequences for any politician who is guilty of betraying the public trust which she/he is paid to uphold. It is a fundamental duty of all democratic governments, to provide transparency, accountability, and lawful consequence of politicians for the public they serve.

How do you feel the provincial and federal governments should move forward on First Nations land claims/rights and title?

It is time when we, as a community, have to come to the table and communicate to the government about how we want our needs to be addressed. Cariboo-Chilcotin First Nations needs and visions around land claims/rights might be different from other communities First Nations. Government had proven that applying a cut and paste cookie method does not resolve issues, and neither does ignoring the issue.

At the end of the day a cookie-cut approach sparks racism. It is time for the community to step up and tell government what it needs to do and through an Independent MLA, who will not restrict developed action plan to a certain political party agenda.

How are you campaigning during this COVID-19 restricted election?

I use common sense and respect for each individual’s feeling about C-19 situation. I will meet with people and utilize the suggested protocols if that is what makes them feel safe. I use social media and other means to connect with people.


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Katya Potekhina, Independent

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