Matt Trenholm, Green
Healthcare professional (imaging technologist and administrator), age38
I am proud to be a husband to an amazing wife and a father to two rambunctious boys.
Throughout my 15-year healthcare career, I have successfully fought for improved healthcare for patients and improved working conditions for staff.
I am open-minded and pride myself on having an ability to see issues from multiple perspectives.
I am non-partisan and will always be in favour of supporting initiatives that support my constituents and the people of this province.
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and playing with my children.
My family and I enjoy camping, hiking, and bike riding together. I am also a volunteer in the community, having coached youth baseball and soccer teams.
I enjoy working with kids and being a teacher and positive role model.
To help voters make their choices on election day, the Maple Ridge News is asking local candidates a series of questions on issues of importance, inviting each candidate to participate.
They were asked to a ‘yes’, a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y,N,D) response to EACH of the numbered questions for the grid published in the Oct. 15 edition of The News. Candidates were also invited to expand on ANY OR ALL of the questions (to a maximum of 250 words each), with one of their choice to be included in our print edition on Oct. 22. Here’s all their replies.
1. Has supportive housing made a difference in addressing homelessness in Maple Ridge?
Answer: No. If we look at the number of homeless people in the area before temporary supportive housing was made available and after, it appears to have not helped as the number of homeless remain about the same.
That highlights the need to tackle the issue of homelessness from more perspectives than by merely creating temporary supportive housing.
There are a multitude of factors that can result in a person becoming homeless: from untreated mental health issues, to addiction, to low incomes mixed with unaffordable housing among other issues.
If elected, I will work with community members who are affected on both sides of the issue.
There is no magic cure for homelessness.
It is a symptom of systemic failure on multiple levels and requires a comprehensive approach to solve including investments in mental health, affordable housing, and living wages.
We need to work together and focus on prevention.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure at home, while everyone has the right to a home.
We must do better.
We need to start at the beginning, by ensuring all children have access to high quality, free early childhood education.
Also, we must ensure that children who age out of foster care are not left out in the cold without supports, such as mental health services and income and rental assistance.
2. Are you in favour of government providing drug users with a safe supply to address the opioid overdose crisis?
Answer: Yes. However, a safe supply, on its own, is not enough to fully address the opioid crisis.
We also need to decriminalize illicit drug use.
We need more support for at-risk youths and children in foster care, especially as they transition out of foster care when they become adults and are cut off from support.
This is a serious issue that has not received the attention it needs from our government.
As your MLA, I will ensure this issue receives the attention it deserves.
Our at-risk children deserve better.
Foster children are among the most vulnerable of our population, yet they are ill-supported and, once they become adults, most of the support they did have vanishes, leading some to a life on the streets and illicit drug use.
In addition, we need better and more treatment programs, mental health support, and affordable housing.
A myriad of issues needs to be addressed in order to help suppress the opioid and overdose crisis.
We must get tainted drugs off the streets.
Perhaps the only way to do so is to provide drug users a safe supply, along with addictions counselling.
Perhaps the solution is a bold change in direction, a change with an evidence-based effective approach.
3. Can Pitt Meadows count on highway improvements actually being realized at the Harris Road/Lougheed Highway intersection in the next four years?
Answer: Yes. This intersection is not in my riding, but I do know that it is in need of improvements to help with safety, congestion and access to local businesses.
This particular intersection has been identified as a problem area and discussions are ongoing with government agencies, as well as public engagement, to create a concept for improvement.
4. With Golden Ears Provincial Park and others in the area at capacity during peak times, should camping and park expansion be a priority in the riding?
Answer: Yes. It is healthy to get outdoors and it should be encouraged.
The problem is that there aren’t always enough outdoor spaces for our local residents.
Camping and park expansion are certainly ideas that I support and, if elected, will work with the local authorities to create a plan for expansion.
5. Do you support the expansion of $10 per day daycare?
Answer: Yes. I support the expansion of an affordable daycare plan, but further to that, work must also focus to improve early childhood education and provide it, for free, to children.
As your MLA, I will work towards this goal.
As a father of elementary school-aged children, I have first-hand experience with the struggle to not only pay incredibly high daycare fees, but to find available daycare spots.
If elected, I will work to ensure daycare services are improved upon and expanded, and will ensure they are very affordable and that spots are available for all families.
6. During a second wave of COVID-19 would you support closing schools?
Answer: No. It has been proven safe to keep children in school, provided proper precautionary and preventative measures are in place and enforced.
I have first-hand experience working in the hospital through the pandemic.
I have experience working with our sickest of patients and am intimately familiar with what is needed to keep people safe and to greatly reduce the probability of the spread of COVID-19.
I have seen that, with proper precautions and protocols in place and followed, we can keep our population safe and we can keep our children and their families safe.
7. During a second wave of COVID-19 would you support closing businesses?
Answer: No. Many of our local businesses have struggled greatly as a result of COVID-19.
If businesses are forced to close – some of them for a second time – that could be catastrophic for our local economy and for many of our residents.
Instead of closing businesses, we need strong leadership and firm guidelines from our government to promote safe, evidence-based, effective protocols to ensure that businesses can remain open, and to ensure our business owners, employees, and the public remain safe and protected.
8. Is government spending the best way to stimulate the economy as it recovers from the global pandemic?
Answer: Yes, but it is far more complicated that a simple “yes.”
A stimulus package aimed at improving infrastructure may be the best way to lead economic recovery.
The thing is, often these projects manifest as physical infrastructure projects, which generally only benefit skilled trades workers which are, mostly, men.
That is great, but projects of such don’t always help a great deal of women, students or less-skilled workers.
We do need a stimulus package, but we are going to have to get creative and think outside the box with regards to its implementation.
As your MLA, I will work to ensure a stimulus package will benefit the widest range of society possible.
I am a forward-thinker and ardent challenger of the status quo and believe in engaging with field experts and using evidence-based, best practice approaches.
9. Should government divert funding away from policing, and toward social and mental health services?
Answer: No. Funding should not be diverted away from policing, however, funding should be increased toward social and mental health services.
Police provide a very important and essential service and are never in a situation of being over-funded.
We cannot reduce funding to police without expecting negative consequences.
We must keep a well-funded police service while increasing funding towards social and mental health services.
Doing so is both morally and economically the right thing to do.
People with mental health issues deserve our compassion and support.
And in funding improved services for mental health, it has been proven that, overall, money is saved in healthcare and the homeless population can be reduced.
And investment in mental health saves money in other areas, while it helps people in need.
It is a win/win.
10. Should the province provide B.C. residents with a universal basic income?
Answer: Yes. If elected, I will work to establish a guaranteed livable income to ensure each Canadian can live with dignity and independence.
The current poverty Band-Aid system encourages an underground economy, in cash-only transactions, to avoid the claw back of poverty payments.
We need to shut down the underground economy and ensure proper taxation.
It will cost far less than we pay now to maintain densely bureaucratic social systems and cover the many other costs poverty imposes on our society.
It is estimated that poverty costs B.C. healthcare more than $8 billion a year.
If we can lift our residents out of poverty, we will have a healthier population and will spend substantially less on healthcare.
This is the type of forward-thinking approach I will bring as your MLA.
OTHER LOCAL CANDIDATE Q&As:
Maple Ridge-Mission riding
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows riding
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