Jason Bax, BC Libertarian Party, Surrey-White Rock
1) The City of Surrey’s decision to transition to a municipal police force has raised concerns among constituents over costs and transparency. How would you address these? Is a public referendum the answer?
A: Surrey is a unique city in that it’s growing quickly and has urban and rural areas which, I’ve learned from speaking with my neighbours, members of the RCMP, city police and a friend who was RCMP before joining VPD, require different policing models. One size fits all does not work. Abbotsford transitioned from RCMP to city police. I’m sensitive to pension issues facing mounties and I understand all parties may have to come to an agreement. Abbotsford may provide a successful model to follow for the transition from RCMP to city. That being said, I’m aware that White Rock residents have different concerns than residents in rural communities. Therefore, I support a referendum before incurring significant costs and disrupting police service during this uncertain time.
2) COVID-19 has exposed some cracks in the system with regard to seniors’ health – particularly those in long-term care. What approach would you favour in dealing with this?
A: Quarantine the sick, not the healthy. The numbers are in and they don’t lie; we now know the mortality rate among those in B.C. diagnosed with COVID-19 is a low 0.02%, a 99%-plus survival rate and the at-risk groups are now clearly known.
Cautiously managing (not denying) access to seniors in long term care facilities is manageable. Much more so than policing the healthy. Many of the people I’ve spoken to are concerned about friends and families whose lives have been ruined by the government’s restriction, which are now causing more harm than the virus. For the sake of residents and families who are struggling, prudence dictates that we quarantine the sick, not healthy,and protect the most vulnerable.
3) What is the best path to take in helping B.C. and the Semiahmoo Peninsula in its economic recovery, and for supporting business during, and after, the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: The best path forward is to:
Quarantine the sick, not the healthy, and protect the vulnerable. End the state of emergency and Return to Normal.
Instead of government spending - which is prone to huge cost overruns and cronyism - I advocate an immediate and dramatic reduction in taxes (repeal liquor tax, carbon fuel tax, PST exempt categories) and end government monopolies such as ICBC which will immediately put money back into the pockets for residents who will spend it in local businesses, leading to job creation.
Protect and shield our seniors from exposure without socially isolating them from healthy family members which is essential for human well being, by adopting the protocols of the booming local film industry: employing a health officer who screens all staff and visitors with a health survey and by taking their temperature. It’s science based, manageable and working in BC’s film industry.
4) What would you like to see done to improve educational facilities, and to address ongoing school overcrowding, in the riding?
A: Online learning has been an established learning medium for quite some time. I’m frankly concerned and frustrated, as are many parents I’ve spoken with, about how far behind my childrens’ schools are but confident they’ll catch up quickly. I believe moving as much decision making as possible away from the Ministry of Education and back to the local school districts, where parents can have more input will ensure our schools meet our students’ needs where they are because one size does not fit all.
Not all children learn the same. Allowing parents and children to choose the learning channel and platform (online or offline) will not only better serve each different learning styles but children who choose to learn online will naturally alleviate school overcrowding.
• ALSO RUNNING IN SURREY-WHITE ROCK
5) What is/are the most pressing environmental concern(s) for residents in the riding and how would it/they be best addressed?
A: Unlike other candidates, I wouldn’t presume to accurately and precisely know the top environmental concerns of people in my community. But I’m very interested to discover what they are so I can better serve their needs when I’m elected and voice their specific concerns in Victoria. I propose to commission a survey (out of my own pocket if necessary) and collaborate with local media to ensure all members of our community have an opportunity to be heard and weigh in on the environmental issues that concern them most, so we can get to work together to become the responsible stewards of the environment that we all share.
6) Strata dwellers in B.C. saw a sharp rise in their insurance rates over a single year, with Metro Vancouver residents seeing an average increase of more than 50 per cent. Has the current government done enough to address this issue. If not, what other steps should be taken?
A: So far, the NDP response to higher fees has been regulatory. They’ve increased the notice time to give of premium increases. That’s not going to move the needle. There’s 9 or 10 participants in the market, but some have been noticeably pulling back. They’re all foreign-based. The question is why. It’s because the overall insurance market in BC is gutted by the auto monopoly. Auto is one of the most ubiquitous types of consumer insurance, and not having a competitive market there makes participating in the whole market unappealing, except for foreign behemoths that have entire niche divisions that service things like strata. Liberating auto insurance will not only improve auto, it will improve competitiveness in every other aspect of the insurance market, bringing jobs back to BC.
7) Transportation continues to be a concern for local commuters. What can and should be done at a provincial level to help relieve gridlock?
A: I believe private citizens and business owners need to take the lead on this issue. I have long advocated for business owners to move offices out of Vancouver and into smaller communities like White Rock- South Surrey; closer to where working families live, leading to less cars, shorter drives and less CO2 emissions.
If the government could have fixed this problem they would have. It’s time to put an end to government transportation price fixing and allow entrepreneurs to serve the unique rider customer demands in our community. For example, how many people would pay extra for a less crowded 15-person shuttle with cappuccino, wifi, muffins and chocolate scones? We’ll never know as long as the government keeps entrepreneurs from entering the market.
8) What is/are the most pressing health care concern(s) for residents in the riding and how would it/they be best addressed?
A: Access to quality healthcare in a reasonable time is the issue I hear most often from my neighbours in White Rock. Under our current healthcare monopoly my father waited over 6-months for an operation to repair a painful hernia. He (stubbornly) refused to pay out of pocket for something he paid into with his taxes for his entire career. And rightfully so.
Opening up healthcare to competition (that already exists in some Allowing patients to choose the providers to compete for patients will serve to alleviate strain, improve spiralling healthcare costs and increase service quality as providers compete for patients.