EDITORIAL: Separating the candidates

Their stance on local issues will be what separates candidates during this month's provincial election.

Candidates in next week’s provincial election who are committed to connecting with voters this election campaign are knocking on doors. Lots of them.

And at the doorstep, it’s easy to sort out the candidates who are committed to their riding and those who are in the race just for a comfy chair in Victoria or helicopter rides to a cabinet table.

Simply put, good candidates know their riding.

Good candidates won’t speak in generalities, telling you about the need to replace aging school infrastructure or that health-care wait lists are unacceptable.

They won’t talk about the need for more rapid transit or debate the future of the carbon tax.

They also won’t speak of the need to boost our forestry and mining industries to ensure British Columbia continues to enjoy the confidence of investors.

All are important issues, sure. But let the leaders sort that out.

Voters who really care how many dollars will be invested in this program or that program are free to study platforms of the parties, most of which lay this out on websites and campaign literature.

Besides, party leaders are trumpeting these facts throughout the campaign, which is dutifully followed by hordes of news media.

Local candidates who deserve support are ones who talk about issues facing constituents in Surrey’s three south-end ridings – Surrey-White Rock, Surrey-Panorama and Surrey-Cloverdale.

When asked about education on the doorstep, good candidates will talk about how existing schools will be upgraded – and new ones built – to keep up with the need in fast-growing neighbourhoods like Clayton Heights in Cloverdale and Grandview in South Surrey. When asked about health care, they’ll talk about the need to continue improvements at Peace Arch Hospital and Peace Arch Hospice Society.

When asked about transit, they’ll talk about ways to best expand service in Surrey – be it by rail, SkyTrain or more buses.

Some candidates running for election May 14 know their stuff because they care about their community. Others aren’t near as familiar with their potential constituents and what they can do to help them.

Listen closely. Read campaign literature. And consider what kind of politician you’d like to represent your neighbourhood.