FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With the election just around one week away, Energeticcity.ca will be profiling each candidate during the week of May 1. Each candidate has been asked 10 questions that are related to the North Peace.
BC NDP candidate Rob Dempsey gave the following responses to the questions presented to him.
Should the Site C project be sent to the BC Utilities Commission for review?
Answer: The Site C Project deeply concerns me. It is clear that a large part of community does not want this project, it is wrecking the environment, it is needlessly displacing land owners and families and it is ridiculously expensive. I believe that it should be halted and sent for review by the BC Utilities Commission.
How do you envision strengthening the relationship with First Nations?
Answer: I think it is important to understand that our relationships with our First Nations neighbours and communities need to be respectful and productive. This means that our government must work diligently to that end.
Is the ‘Fair Share’ agreement the best deal?
Answer: I think the fair share program is a good idea. It serves to support our ever present infrastructure and helps improve our northern communities. I think that we do need to consider whether this program could go further.
How do you think the Province should go about in getting the best deal when it comes to the Softwood Lumber dispute?
Answer: I think the best way to get a better deal with regard to the softwood lumber dispute is to start with engaging in productive discussions and negotiations. It is important to remind our American neighbours that their relationship with Canada can be mutually beneficial. A good softwood lumber agreement serves the best interests of both nations it is important for our provincial government to work on that premise.
The Clark government said that LNG would be up and running by now and since it hasn’t, do you see LNG starting up in the next four years?
Answer: I’m not sure whether I’m ready to predict when the LNG will begin. It is clear that the viability of this important project is driven by market price and demand. I am certain that eventually this project will get underway. It is however important that when this project begins that it serve the interests of our northern communities and not just wealthy stakeholders. The resources of the north belong to the people of British Columbia first.
The Taylor Bridge is a key part of infrastructure that residents are calling on to be replaced. What are your plans for the bridge?
Answer: The TaylorBridge is long overdue for replacement. The government needs to make this project a real priority. Currently the bridge in place is completely unsuitable for the demands placed on and it is also a safety hazard. I will do my utmost to ensure that we get a new bridge. We need a new bridge immediately!
Communities are facing shortages in the Peace when it comes to doctors. What would your plan be to get recruitment up and get more doctors here?
Answer: This is an incredibly complex problem and it is extremely important that our government dedicate itself to solving it. We need real solutions now. Communities are facing serious doctor shortages and the doctors that we do have are very overworked. We need to do more to encourage doctors to work and stay in our northern communities and ensure that their workload is within reason. We can start by encouraging or supporting our medical schools here in British Columbia to create more places for new students in their respective programs. We need to give more incentives to graduates from those programs to work and stay here in our northern communities.
What is your long-term plan for the regional economy?
Answer: We need to invest in human capital that means we need to do more to help our young people get the training they need to meet the demands of modern and future work forces. We also need to do more to support small businesses in our northern communities to help ensure their success because they are an important part of our economy and represent a source good jobs for us.
With the announcement that the Federal Government is aiming to have marijuana legalized by July 1, 2018, what would you like to see the Province of B.C. do in terms of Provincial guidelines/regulation?
Answer: I would like to see marijuana regulated much in the same fashion that we do with alcohol and tobacco. I think that this product represents a lot of potential in terms of revenue for the government. The government needs regulate it in a manner that is consistent with the health and the welfare of the people. It is important to ensure that marijuana use is regulated and that it remain inaccessible for minors.
What are your thoughts on the environmental impacts of fracking?
Answer: Fracking is a controversial practice. I will not present myself as an expert who understands it very well. I do believe, however, that it needs to be studied more and that a determination needs to be made as to whether it serves as a best practice for the resource industry here in northern British Columbia.