Tim Ibbotson, BC Green Party, Surrey South
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: This is a complex and serious issue. While normally it falls under municipal jurisdiction, a case could be made that the ball was dropped on both levels. There is definitely a loud voice within Surrey that is not okay with how this decision was made nor with the lack of transparency. As BC Greens, we believe collaboration and transparency are absolutely crucial in a democracy. I personally think we need to take a step back and think about what Surrey wants it to look like 10 or 20 years from now. As a leader and learner of living systems theory, both in business and in the non-profit world before, I have learned that in change management you cannot expect to simply switch out the parts and assume that change will happen. I would like to see something that we do not currently have a model for this this country. I would like to explore and unarmed municipal police force that works with the RCMP and specializes in working with those most vulnerable. Surrey has an opportunity, as one of the fastest growing and ethnically diverse communities in Canada, to change the culture around policing. There are a number of countries around the world that have unarmed police forces. I would like to open the conversation.
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: It certainly has, but it also worth noting that most of our health care workers have been nothing short of incredible during this pandemic. Workers in the care sector are underpaid and undervalued by the government. These workers often are women and minority groups. BC Greens will ensure that care workers are recognized as a healthcare profession and have wages and benefits in conjunction with HEABC. We will end waitlist for subsidized assisted-living and long-term care beds. We will also end subsidies to for-profit facilities. We will require annual inspections, financial statements and audited expense reports of all private facilities, so that there is confidence that public funding is being used to create better health-care outcomes for seniors, not creating more profit for shareholders.
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: As a small business owner myself, I was very fortunate that the construction industry was not shut down and remained fairly stable. I recognize that for many industries such as retail, restaurants and tourism this hasn’t been the case. Much work needs to be done to help those businesses recover. BC Greens have announced a number of actions we would take in the short term. BC Greens will allocate $300 million to create a 6 month rent subsidy program for small businesses, For qualifying businesses, we would cover 25% of the rental costs. For the tourism sector, which has been hit hard, we would retool the provincial grant program to focus on supporting small tourism operators, immediately work with industry to establish criteria that make sense, accelerate the timeline to ensure grant money can start to flow quicker and work with the not-for-profit tourism businesses, cultural facilities and attractions to develop a separate granting program that will ensure these signature businesses can survive COVID-19.
Ultimately we, as a community, need to go out of our way to support local businesses. Order out, support your local cafes, buy as much as you can locally rather than online. Reach out and retell stories of your local business with your communities and rally behind them. I know that my business has been called for many small renovations as families spend more time at home. They are supporting us in the most real and practical way possible, and we are grateful.
4) What would you like to see done to improve educational facilities, and to address ongoing school overcrowding, in the riding?
A: Surrey is the fastest growing, soon to be largest city in BC, yet we are years behind in building schools for even our current population. We need to be planning for long-term growth. It is time to increase the School Site Acquisition charge, which hasn’t been increased in over 10 years.
• ALSO RUNNING IN SURREY SOUTH:
5) What is/are the most pressing environmental concern(s) for residents in the riding and how would it/they be best addressed?
A: I believe that the largest issue for Surrey South and all of BC is the fact the both the NDP and Liberals are contributing to climate change by funding the oil and gas industries with subsidies. $1 billion dollars, $800 million of which is non-recovered tax payer money, was given in 2019 alone! It seems these parties believe that if they throw money at people at every election, in the form of PST elimination or other empty promises, the public will fail to notice that they continually fail to meet their Clean BC commitments. That we will forget about the planet for another 100 years and life will just go on. Well, I’m here to say, “Stop.” The BC Greens commit to holding the government accountable for climate action.
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: The BC Financial Services Authority is in the process of identifying the causes of sky-rocketing insurance premiums. BC Greens would convene a task force including insurance brokers, insurers and strata owners to develop solutions as soon as the BCFSA finishes their investigation.
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: It may not be the popular answer, but we must have courage to tackle regional planning in a holistic way, rather than simply picking projects according to their potential to win more votes. It means integrating our climate goals into every infrastructure decision we make, and ensuring any public money spent on transportation is expanding our transit and active transportation networks.
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: I believe there is genuine worry about the increase in COVID cases in our schools and a concern about them spreading to the community. We will keep a close eye on these concerns and continue to take the advice of the Provincial Health Office. This is an unprecedented time and communities need to rally around each other as we look to government for answers and solutions.