Riding in Focus: Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows

The News poses a few questions to candidates running in Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows, only two responded by our deadline.

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows riding has sent a New Democratic to Victoria in four of the past five provincial elections.

Michael Sather has represented it since 2005, defeating B.C. Liberal candidate Ken Stewart twice in a row.

In 2009, Sather won by 274 votes. In 2005, he won by 925.

A passionate environmentalist, Sather is known in provincial politics for standing by his beliefs, even getting expelled from the party caucus in 2007 for voting against the Tsawwassen First Nation treaty because it removed protection for more than 200 hectares of farmland.

Sather was also among a group of dissidents who opposed Carole James’ leadership of the B.C. NDP last fall.

He announced his retirement from politics last year.

Pharmacist Elizabeth Rosenau hopes to replace Sather in the legislature and keep the riding New Democrat.

Three-term Pitt Meadows city councillor and dentist Doug Bing is running for the B.C. Liberals.

The B.C. Green candidate is Michael Patterson, an electrical engineer who cycles to his job in Langley.

Manuel ‘Mike’ Pratas, a Maple Ridge resident who’s worked in construction management for 35 years, will be running for the Conservatives.

Visible minorities only account for 12 per cent of the population in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, with roughly 30 per cent being South Asia and around 25 percent being Chinese.

A large percentage of the riding’s population – 74 per cent – was born in B.C., while immigrants account for 18 per cent of the total population.

Immigrants from the U.K. make up the largest demographic with 25 per cent listing the British Isles as their birthplace. Immigrants from Europe are the second largest group, followed by India.

English is the dominant language in the riding, with 45,890 listing it as their mother tongue.

In the riding

• 2011 population: 55,325.

• 2006 population: 50,095.

• Median age: 40.3 years.

• English mother tongue: 84 per cent.

• Average income:  $71,605 (B.C. avg. $67,675).

source: Statistics Canada.

Riding history

• In 1991, New Democrat Bill Hartley defeated Liberal Steve Gilmore by

2,805 votes.

• In 1996, Hartley defeated Liberal Ken Stewart by 1,986 votes.

• In 2001, Stewart defeated Hartley by 6,471 votes.

• In 2005, New Democrat Michael Sather defeated Stewart by 925 votes.

Questions were sent to all  candidates in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows riding. Deadline for responses was Monday at 5 p.m. B.C. Liberal Dr. Doug Bing and B.C. New Democrat Elizabeth Rosenau responded.

DOUG BING, B.C. LIBERALS

1. Name, occupation, residence:

Dr. Doug Bing, dentist and city councillor, Pitt Meadows

2.  Education:

Bachelor of science and Doctor of dental medicine, University of British Columbia.

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?

I am passionate about this community and have devoted countless hours to improving its quality of life through my three terms on city council, plus my service on numerous local and regional boards.

In particular, I have consistently fought hard for local issues that affect the community, such as improvements to transportation, public safety, job creation and a healthy environment.

My most recent duties include the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services Commission, the Fraser Valley Regional Library Board, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Youth Service Society, and the City of Pitt Meadows Green Leadership Team.

People should elect me as MLA because I will bring integrity, experience, leadership, communication skills and solid decision-making ability to the job.

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

In my opinion, the most significant issues facing my riding are traffic congestion, concerns about the economy, and a shortage of local jobs.

All of these problems are multi-jurisdictional and need the cooperation of the municipal, provincial and federal governments working together in order to solve problems.

I am a big believer in building good personal relationships with others so that we can work in partnership on issues for the betterment of the community. I would like to meet every few months with the mayors, councils, school trustees, regional district reps and our member of parliament, so that we can jointly find solutions to these and other significant issues in our communities.

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

In my opinion, the most significant issues facing B.C. are all related to keeping our economy strong so that we avoid unbalanced budgets, deficits, higher taxes, and more debt.

We live in a world with a fragile global economy, and need to show fiscal prudence in order to keep spending from getting out of control. The B.C. Liberal party wants to grow the economy and not the size of government.

I feel we have a moral obligation to our children to leave our province in better shape than we found it, environmentally, socially and fiscally. I believe in balanced budgets and keeping spending under control.

I would like to help build a strong economy for that is the only way we can create jobs and be assured of a secure tomorrow.

ONLINE: www.dougbing.ca Twitter: @douglasbing Facebook: www.facebook.com/dougbingelectionpage

ELIZABETH ROSENAU, B.C. NDP

1. Name, occupation, residence:

Elizabeth Rosenau, pharmacist, Maple Ridge.

I have lived in Maple Ridge for 25 years. I have raised three children in this wonderful community.

2. Education:

Bachelor of science in pharmacy, University of Toronto; anthropology, SFU; various courses on teaching special education through the local school district.

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?

As a Special Olympics B.C. coach, I have worked to ensure that our team fully embodies the spirit of Special Olympics: changing attitudes, empowering athletes, and fostering community. After I took over, we tripled the size of the team and volunteers, we opened up the team to individuals of all abilities, and we engaged the people of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows so that we are now a key part of the community. I also instigated a review of the Special Olympics structure that resulted in a more welcoming and positive organization.

Finally, as part of my community activism, I fought to keep the recycling centre in the community, as well as opposed the development of a gravel pit in the riding.

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

Everywhere I go, people tell me they are worried about the economy, about struggling to afford their mortgages or rent, and that they are having to make tough decisions about their finances. Prescription drug costs are increasing, child care is expensive and people can’t get the education and training they need for the jobs they want.

The B.C. NDP will target investments in care for seniors, which will reduce the strain on our hospitals, as well as provide a more appropriate level of home care for people. We will target investments in child care so families can afford to get the care their children deserve. And we will target investments in education and skills-training, so people can get back to work and support their families.

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

The issues that B.C. faces are the same that Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows face: affordability and the economy.

In addition to the solutions outlined above, we have a great platform that outlines a spectrum of plans to reduce the cost of living for British Columbians and get people back to work.

A student grant program will lower the cost of education. Reduced fees for child care will save families an average of $2,000 per year. Buy B.C. will help farmers grow and market their produce. And re-investing in our forestry sector will keep jobs and money in the province.

These are great examples of practical steps that we will implement to make life more affordable for British Columbians. These plans are fully costed, and targeted investments will both save us money and benefit our economy.

ONLINE:elizabethrosenau.bcndp.ca Twitter:@ejrosenau Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Rosenau/147075162113278

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