As the newly-elected MLA representing Surrey South, Elenore Sturko’s first priority is to ensure that promises made to B.C. residents are kept.
Sturko was elected with 5,568 votes – just under 52 per cent of the 10,742 cast – on Saturday (Sept. 10) to fill the seat left vacant by fellow-BC Liberal Stephanie Cadieux last April.
Sturko, who announced her candidacy in early May, remained the only person running for the seat until late July, when the BC NDP’s Pauline Greaves stepped into the race. A September election date was finally set by the provincial government on Aug. 13.
Greaves finished in second place with 30 per cent of the total votes (3,221).
Sturko will step away from her role as a sergeant with the Surrey RCMP to take her seat in Victoria.
“It’s hard to describe the tremendous sense of gratitude that I feel to know that people put their trust in me to be their representative in Victoria,” a thrilled Sturko told Peace Arch News.
Tackling the healthcare crisis in the province is her first priority once she assumes her role in Victoria.
While campaigning was underway for the election, the proposed hospital in Cloverdale was a hot topic of debate between Sturko and Greaves.
“As the MLA for Surrey South, I’m going to actually make sure that (the NDP government) follow through on their promise and start building the hospital that we need here… it’s too important for us to put it on the back burner,” Sturko said.
While she was campaigning door-to-door, many residents would share with Sturko how the hospital plan was conflicting for them.
“They were happy, on one hand, that a hospital was coming, but they’re really extremely worried knowing that we have such a significant shortage of doctors and nurses and paramedics in the province.
“How on Earth are we going to staff this?” she said, adding that a human resources sector of the hospital is vital in dealing with these issues.
Citing the ongoing toxic-drug crisis as one of her main reasons for running in the byelection, Sturko said she is passionate about seeing the number of people affected by drug addiction dwindle.
Earlier this year, the BC Coroners Service released data on the illicit toxic drug and overdose crisis with a list of key recommendations for government to enact to tackle the issue.
“Following through with what the experts are telling us,” is going to be Sturko’s approach.
Access to life-saving treatment for people experiencing addiction is crucial, Sturko said. It’s especially important, she added, that it’s available at the moment that the individual seeks help, rather than having to wait long periods of time.
“They’ve had enough, they want to get into treatment and often in the time it takes to actually get into a place of treatment, they’ve continued in their addiction and they no longer desire to get into treatment,” she said.
Her time as a police officer taught Sturko the urgency required to handle the overdose crisis, she said, adding that solutions are needed through taking action.
“I want people who didn’t vote for me… to know that I am 100 per cent committed to representing their voice as well, and my door will always be open and regardless of what they want to say or who they support politically, the job of MLA is to support all and it is non-partisan and I will always have my door open to everyone,” she said.
Three other candidates were in the running for the seat. They were Conservative Harman Bhangu, who placed third, with 1,364 votes (12.7%); BC Green candidate Simran Sarai, who came fourth, with 368 votes (3.43%) and Libertarian Jason Bax, who placed fifth, with 221 votes (2.06%)
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
All results were preliminary as of PAN’s press deadline. Confirmed results were to be released on Sept. 14.