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Riding in focus: Maple Ridge-Mission

   - Elections BC
— image credit: Elections BC

B.C. Liberal Marc Dalton is vying for a second term in Victoria and facing a familiar foe.

In 2009, Dalton defeated New Democrat Mike Bocking by 68 votes. Before that, the riding was held by Liberal Randy Hawes, who went on to represent neighbouring Abbotsford-Mission.

Dalton and Bocking are facing off again this election, which is Tuesday.

A public school teacher, Dalton is Métis and previously ran as a federal Conservative candidate.

As MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, he was targeted for recall in 2011 as part of the anti-Harmonized Sales Tax campaign, but survived after organizers failed to collect enough signatures to trigger a by-election.

Dalton says there are numerous projects he is proud of, but he has also come to realize, many of them don’t happen over night. There are still many more improvements he would like to make for the riding and the province, and that’s why he wants another term in office.

A former Vancouver Sun reporter and current president of the Media Union of B.C., Local 2000, Bocking is a veteran campaigner. He ran federally against Conservative MP Randy Kamp in 2004, 2006 and 2008, losing each time.

Alex Pope, chair of the bicycle advisory committee in Maple Ridge, will run for the Greens. A computer programmer who’s worked for the federal Liberals, Pope tried for a seat on Maple Ridge council in the 2011 election.

Chad Thompson, an entrepreneur and small business owner with an automotive background, is running for the B.C. Conservatives. He has a show dog named Marshall.

Maple Ridge-Mission is an electoral district with a small percentage of visible minorities, who only comprise 12 per cent of the total population. Seniors account for 11 per cent of the population.

The riding also has more home owners than most other districts, with 82 per cent of residents owning their own houses, according to statistics from 2006.

The top three industries in Maple Ridge-Mission are retail trade, manufacturing and health care.

 

In the riding

• 2011 population: 56,045

• 2006 population: 49,510

• Median age: 39.6 years

• English mother tongue: 86%

• Average income:  $$72,351 (B.C. avg. $67,675)

– source: Statistics Canada

 

Riding history

• Mission-Kent: New Democrat Dennis Streifel won in 1991 and 1996; served as minister of forests, minister of social services, minister of human resources, minister of fisheries.

• Maple Ridge-Mission: In 2001, Liberal Randy Hawes defeated New Democrat Rose Bennett by 8,210 votes.

• In 2005, Hawes defeated New Democrat Jenny Stevens by 199 votes.

– source: CBC

Questions were sent to to all  candidates in the Maple Ridge-Mission riding. Deadline for responses was Monday, April 29 at 5 p.m. B.C. Conservative candidate Chad Thompson did not respond.

MARC DALTON, B.C. LIBERAL

1. Name, occupation, residence:

Marc Dalton; School District 42 teacher prior to being elected in 2009; Albion area of Maple Ridge.

2. Education:

Bachelor of Arts in History and French (SFU), Masters Degree in Educational Leadership (SFU).

3. What have you personally achieved, or what initiative have you personally led in recent years that qualifies you to be elected or re-elected as a MLA?

It’s been a privilege representing Maple Ridge and Mission as MLA. Some of the projects I’ve worked on:

• economic development, such as Maple Ridge downtown improvements, road work to the proposed Tim Horton Children’s Foundation camp and regional recreational area on the Maple Ridge-Mission border, a new educational observatory and the expansion of the Mission Memorial Hospital;

• advocated for numerous non-profits, resulting in positive outcomes including North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association, Community Living program at Ridge Meadows Recycling, the Caring Place and youth diversion;

• Parliamentary secretary for independent schools, member of the finance committee, having province-wide consultations in communities in order to make budget recommendations;

• helped implement Experience The Fraser, a significant trails, tourism and environmental project;

• tax credit for children’s sports and arts was implemented as a result of my proposal, my constituency office provided non-partisan support for hundreds of residents.

4. What are the most significant issues facing your riding and what would you do about them?

Economic development is of prime importance for Maple Ridge and Mission. It is essential for job opportunities, revenues and the environment by reducing commuting. I will continue to work collaboratively with both communities to assist.

There are many small businesses in the region. I support the B.C. Liberals plan to lower the small business tax rate. Over the next five years, we plan to maintain the current low personal income tax rate. Since we have been in government, income taxes have been reduced by one third for most people.

Transportation and highway improvements are also an important issue for me: on-going four-laning of Highway 7, improved West Coast Express service and transit between Maple Ridge and Mission.

It is my goal to see a new elementary school built that services the Albion area.

5. What are the most significant issues facing B.C. and how would you do address them?

I support a strong economy. It ensures that there are jobs and provides funding for programs and services that we value, such as health care, education and transportation.

Under the B.C. Liberals, British Columbia has maintained a strong economy despite a world-wide recession. This is evidenced by a low unemployment rate, a Triple-A credit rating and significant transportation and infrastructure improvements everywhere.

A B.C. Liberal government is committed to living within our means, paying down debt, and not increasing income taxes or the Carbon Tax for five years.  We support the sustainable development of our natural gas and mining sectors, as well as all sectors of our economy. These strategies will create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and provide more opportunities for everyone.

ONLINE: marcdalton.ca Twitter: @marcdalton Facebook: Marc Dalton For Maple Ridge Mission

MIKE BOCKING, B.C. NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY

1. Name, occupation, residence:

Mike Bocking; journalist; Silverdale, Mission.

2.  Education:

Studied political science and economics at the University of B.C. for several years, left when offered a job at Vancouver Sun.

3. What have you personally achieved, or what initiative have you personally led in recent years that qualifies you to be elected as a MLA?

I have been active in my community of Mission ever since we moved here in 1998. I have served on the board of directors of Mission Community Services Society, which oversees numerous non-profit, charitable initiatives in the Mission area. I have been a member of CAUSS, an environmental group that promotes environmental awareness and sustainability issues in Mission. Most recently, in 2009, I was part of a group that successfully opposed the closure of the emergency ward of Mission Memorial Hospital.

4&5. What are the most significant issues facing your riding and what would you do about them; What are the most significant issues facing B.C. and how would you do address them?

I’ve answered questions Nos.  4 and 5 together, as I believe the priorities for Maple Ridge and Mission are also the main priorities for the province.

• Education: The NDP would provide students with the classroom support they need, hiring new teachers, education assistants, librarians and counsellors. Recognizing that most of the jobs of the future will require more than a high school education, we will significantly increase spaces for trades’ training, technical school, colleges and universities, as well as establishing a $100 million needs-based non-repayable student grant program.

• Health: A top priority would be to expand home support and community care for seniors, people with disabilities and people with chronic conditions, as well as improving service levels in B.C.’s residential care facilities, which will free up acute care beds in hospitals and reduce waiting lists.

The NDP would strengthen primary and community health services to relieve pressure on acute care, by improving access to multi-disciplinary health clinics, including nurse practitioners and other health professionals.

The NDP would also increase access to mental health and addiction services.

• Public transit: Getting around the Lower Mainland has become more difficult and costly in the past 10 years with toll bridges and inadequate public transit. The NDP would use carbon tax revenue to expand public transit, including the West Coast Express.

We would also work for a bus route linking the Mission with Maple Ridge bus systems.

ONLINE: mikebocking.bcndp.ca Twitter:@MikeBockingNDP Facebook: Mike Bocking NDP for Maple Ridge-Mission MLA 2013

ALEX POPE, GREEN PARTY

1. Name, occupation, residence:

Alex Pope; computer programmer; Maple Ridge.

2.  Education:

Bachelor of computer science, UBC.

3. What have you personally achieved, or what initiative have you personally led in recent years that qualifies you to be elected as a MLA?

I have been locally active in promoting the improvement of conditions for safer cycling through the Bicycle Advisory Committee and HUB Cycling Committee.  I have also served on a variety of boards/committees over the past 15 years and learned how to work effectively in groups to solve problems and obtain consensus.

4. What are the most significant issues facing your riding and what would you do about them?

Both Maple Ridge and Mission, like many B.C. communities, are starting to make some small improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, despite very limited funding. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about transit. In the past few months, our citizens in Maple Ridge had to step up and speak out so that TransLink wouldn’t reduce what little bus service we have. We need to reallocate funding to prioritize sustainable transportation and provide convenient, accessible, and affordable alternatives to driving a single-occupant automobile.

In the Albion area, we are several years overdue in having a new school built. As more young families move to the area, the need for a solution is becoming more critical. Meanwhile, our school board is struggling to find ways to trim their budget yet again without significantly impacting the quality of our children’s education. The criteria we use for determining whether to build a new school needs to be changed to take into account situations where an increase in population density in one area of a school district creates a need for a new school and we need to provide adequate funding for our education system because our long-term economic health depends on having a well-educated population.

5. What are the most significant issues facing B.C. and how would you address them?

For our long-term economic health, we need to adapt to a changing world. By investing in new infrastructure, green technology, retrofits of houses and buildings, and advanced education designed to educate young people and retrain skilled workers for the new economy, we can transform the B.C. economy. A switch to clean industries and technologies; a re-investment in traditional industries like forestry, fisheries, and agriculture using sustainable practices; a return to local provision of social and health services; and support for arts and culture will create thousands of new jobs.

All of these jobs mean money flowing through the economy and retaining that money in the local region.

Greens plan to reduce taxes on businesses that are responsible and sustainable. We will work with business and industry to create lasting, skilled, and meaningful jobs. At the same time, we will reduce the emissions that are changing our climate.

ONLINEalexpope.org Twitter: @mapleridgealex Facebook: Maple Ridge Alex

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