Election 2019, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge Q & A: Liberal candidate says youth at risk need help

National housing strategy funds non-profits for new homes

Dan Ruimy, Liberal Party of Canada

Birth place: Montreal, Que.

Occupation: Incumbent Member of Parliament, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge

Main reason for running? What do you want to accomplish?

I want to continue the work over the last four years. Issues that have been important to me are youth, including our youth at risk, trying to find opportunities to help them so that they can succeed and not become future homeless folks. How do we make those things happen? To me that’s all part of the bigger role which includes mental health. What are some of the things we can do to bring mental health to the fore front? The federal government, we committed $5 billion to mental health across the country. The other thing that’s important to me are seniors. We need more affordable senior housing. We have created a national dementia strategy, $55 million … that’s over the next five years … we’re all being touched by that …

Question: How would you or your party address the constantly increasing cost of living and housing?

Answer: We created the national housing strategy that over the next 10 years, folks can apply for funding and grants and low-interest loans, like non-profit organizations to help build affordable seniors housing, to help build affordable low-income housing.

We need to build more housing as part of that national housing strategy plan. Seniors, most of their money is going to rent. They have nothing left after that. We need to continue to … build up an inventory of affordable housing for everybody and we do that by working in partnerships with the cities … with the province. One of things we’re proposing, moving forward, is guaranteed income for mom in that first year of baby’s birth. That first year is critical. To me, this is a transformative program.

Question: Why would your party be most effective in addressing homelessness and mental illness in Maple Ridge?

Answer: The jurisdiction is predominantly provincial. Homelessness, the lack of supply of housing is part of the problem. The lack of mental health is another big part of the problem. If you want to stop homelessness … you have to start with our young kids. They need to know when there’s something not right, is it being caught? We’ve given money. I think there’s much more we need to be doing. When you take that leadership role, you’re bringing it out.

Question: What is the most pressing environmental issue and how would you address it?

Answer: Climate change is not one thing. Climate change is a series of things that has gotten us to where we are today. It’s going to take a series of initiatives. We’ve already put into play over 50 different initiatives.

In 2015, less than one per cent of our marine and coastal areas were protected. We’ve now protected 14 per cent of marine and coastal areas. Our future goal, coming back into office, by 2025, we want to protect 25 per cent of our lands, 25 per cent of our waters. It’s a huge initiative because you’re protecting these lands for future generations to use and enjoy.

When we start to put those types of progams in place, you start to cut away at the challenges we’re facing. We’ve restored protection for fish and fish habitat. It’s not one thing that’s going to solve the problem, it’s a series of things. That’s where our commitment has to be.

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