FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A well known teacher from Fort St. John has announced that he will represent the NDP in the Peace River North riding for the upcoming provincial election.
Rob Dempsey teaches Social Studies and Law at North Peace Secondary School and naturally one of the areas he plans to focus on is education.
But of course, there are other areas that Dempsey wants to focus on and he wants people to be aware that they do have choice in the upcoming election. Dempsey says he decided to run after discussing it with colleagues.
“I talked it over with some of my colleagues who are active in the party (NDP) and they suggested, they asked me if I was interested and I hummed and hawed about it and I said ‘you know, I think I am’. I feel the at the very core of my reason for running is that I feel like the people in this riding really need some choice. I felt like people need to have an alternative. I’m not terribly impressed with the way the Clark government has conducted its affairs.”
Dempsey feels that he can offer more compared to the other candidates currently running. He is up against Liberal candidate Dan Davies, Independent Bob Fedderly, Independent Rob Fraser (Mayor of Taylor) and Independent Jeff Richert.
“I think people are pretty savvy here and I think they are also very practical. I think they are going to vote for who they feel is going to give them the best representation.”
He also says that he believes that if they can get more voters out, that would also be very successful.
“We can probably stand to get more voters out. I think that certainly would be something, I would personally consider that to be a victory if we could just get more people to turn out for the vote.”
Dempsey has many issues on his radar that he would address if elected to represent the Peace River North riding, starting with education.
“The amount of funding we have for students in this province could definitely use some improvement. I think we could also do more to alleviate the the burden of tuition and student loans for our young people that are off in post-secondary education.”
Healthcare is another area that Dempsey would like to see improvement in.
“For instance, we don’t have enough beds for our parents when they need a care bed. Things that really concern me are doctors are overworked because there aren’t enough of them.”
The unemployment rate and current job conditions are another concern the NDP candidate. He says that things like the high unemployment rate are not beneficial.
“We have too many families, they are living on a couple of part-time minimum wage jobs so they can make the rent and put food on the table. Our unemployment rate is too high and I think those are all very concerning.”
Of course, a hot topic of conversation for the NDP in the election has been: what would they do with the Site C dam project? Dempsey says that they would certainly address the project if elected.
“Really concerned about the fact that we have this infrastructure project that has spiral high costs and I’m not really convinced it is what we need. The billions of dollars that are being put into that could probably have been better spent on other things candidates have identified as important.
I’m not going to pretend I’m some kind of expert on hydro electric dams but I am concerned when I’m hearing that they are running into problems installing (the project) which is starting to sound like more delays and more money. I think there needs to be a real hard look at it, that is for sure.”
He also touched on the topic of campaign donations. Christy Clark and the Liberal Party announced legislation to help provide more transparency but Dempsey says that the issue is still there.
“I don’t want us to have a system where wealthy, powerful groups get to pressure the government on their public policy. I know there aren’t any millionaires backing my campaign. I haven’t got any union backing, I haven’t gotten any corporate donors.”
While other Independent candidates have stated that party politics are something that should be eliminated, Dempsey doesn’t think party politics necessarily have to be a bad thing or viewed in a negative light.
“If elected, My first responsibility is to meet the needs of the people who elected me but with that being said, I think party politics doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Groups working collectively together to achieve common good through positive public policy is a very powerful tool. You see political systems all around the world where they are extremely chaotic and they constantly don’t get anything meaningful done because there is not enough focus on what needs to be accomplished.”
The election is scheduled for May 9.