D’Eith acclaimed as NDP candidate

Race is set for Maple Ridge-Mission riding.

Bob D'Eith.

Bob D'Eith.

The Dec. 30 deadline came and went without any further nominations, allowing the acclamation of Bob D’Eith as NDP candidate in Maple Ridge-Mission for May’s provincial election.

“I think people are ready for a change. I do believe that,” D’Eith said Monday.

He’ll be running against Liberal MLA Marc Dalton, who will seek a third term.

D’Eith was the NDP candidate in the 2015 federal election and also sought the NDP federal nomination in 2012, but lost to Mike Bocking.

The provincial campaign will take a lot of work, he said, adding he sees the major issues as homelessness, transportation, education and health care.

D’Eith said Liberal MLAs Dalton and Doug Bing “have done nothing for three years” regarding homelessness.

The MLAs have taken over the public consultation process for a proposed $15-million supportive housing and homeless shelter for Maple Ridge, following their rejection of two earlier locations.

A public meeting on the topic is set for late this month.

But D’Eith said, with the delays, a new supportive housing complex won’t get underway until after the May B.C. election.

“No actual decisions have been made,” he said.

“They’re thinking of re-election right now rather than what’s best for the community,” D’Eith added.

“We need some kind of shelter that deals with the situation.”

He said the B.C. Liberal government, as part of its overall spending cuts, has reduced funding for mental health and addiction services.

The homelessness situation now “is the inevitable result of 14 years of neglect.”

D’Eith also said the government made a “big splash” announcing a third ambulance for Maple Ridge.

“What do we find out? It’s not even our ambulance.”

In late December, Bronwyn Barter, president of the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C., said that the new ambulance, announced in September for Maple Ridge, is not permanently based here and is often diverted to the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.

“I like to think that people will see through the obvious uses of taxpayer dollars to buy their votes,” D’Eith said.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing said D’Eith’s statements on homelessness show a “lack of understanding” of the issue.

“We’re not trying to postpone it at all.”

Bing added that Maple Ridge council’s decision to pass on the consultation process for the supportive housing project, proposed for 21375 Lougheed Hwy., to the MLAs was a “bad decision.”

He added that the city hadn’t asked at that point if the MLAs would support or oppose that location.

Following public opposition, the MLAs eventually did reject the location.

BC Housing, in December, announced it wasn’t proceeding with that location.

Bing said he’s confident about the coming election, which he said will be about jobs and the economy.

The NDP opposes the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project, building the George Massey bridge, BC Hydro’s Site C dam and liquid natural gas projects, Bing said.

He added that the homelessness is a province-wide problem.

“It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take time.”

The province is also dealing with the opioid and fentanyl crisis.

Mission teacher Scott Susin had also sought the NDP nomination, but he said on Facebook last fall that his candidacy was denied by the party.

“This came as a shock to me as you can understand, however I do respect the party’s decision. Rest assured, that I will be back even more prepared to bring much needed change and improvements to Maple Ridge – Mission,” Susin said on Facebook.

Craig Keating, president of the B.C. NDP said later that Susin had withdrawn his application.

“The application process was not concluded,” Keating said.