RUNNING AS INDEPENDENT FOR MAPLE RIDGE TRUSTEE
Constituency assistant, legislative assembly of B.C., age 21
Resident of Maple Ridge for 21 years
Maple Ridge needs strong advocates who will represent the community adequately to ensure our growing community is properly funded and serviced.
Having strong youth voices at the table is important in guaranteeing effective district decision making.
As a former SFU student union president, I have experience heading an organization with a budget of $12M, a staff of 50+ employees, and a governing body of 60+ people.
I understand what it takes to practise good governance, manage large organizations, work within budget constraints, and engage in effective government lobbying.
Fighting for inclusive education is imperative to having a strong and inclusive public school system. I want to draw attention to the differing experiences that youth face in schools, whether because of race, sexuality, disability, and much more.
Have you held office in past? If so, please specify:
Vice-President University Relations, SFU Student Union, May 2020 – April2021
President, SFU Student Union, May 2021 – January 2022
(These answers are presented as the candidates submitted them)
1. Do you agree with how SOGI material and other sex education is currently taught in the classroom, including LGBTQ2S content and sexual consent?
Yes, I agree that we need to do everything possible to foster inclusive education in our community. Growing up in the public school system, I was openly gay. Being one of the only openly gay youth in the school was challenging. However, I was always comforted by the fact that I had welcoming teachers I could confide in, a community that espoused equality and camaraderie, and a support system of caring friends and family. I know that my experience is dramatically different from what other youth the exact same age as me experience, which is often negative and traumatizing. I wholeheartedly support SOGI education, and if elected, I hope to work with the community and district staff to make LGBTQ youth feel welcome in all SD42 schools.
2. Are class sizes too big?
3. Should students with diverse abilities or special needs be taught in regular classrooms?
4. Is the provincial government providing enough funding for public schools?
No. The government is not providing the funding that this growing school district deserves.
Firstly, the district’s strategic facilities plan shows a demonstrable need for capital projects such as seismic improvements to schools, maintenance issues that need remedying, and in some cases, entirely new schools that must be built.
For example, community members in this district have been advocating passionately for a new Pitt Meadows Secondary to replace the aged-out building, as well as a new school in the growing Silver Valley. Yet, these calls to action have not been answered by the provincial government.
Secondly, SD42’s enhancing student learning report is raising alarm bells about children’s mental health. After two years of COVID-19 restrictions – causing social isolation, burnout, and missed milestones – students are stretched thin. What’s worse, is that not enough is being done by the province to remedy the situation. We need funding to integrate mental health supports into schools and make them accessible to youth who need them.
SD42 constantly reports to the ministry of education how much money it needs to uplift this district, yet we only get a fraction of the funds we need.
We need strong advocates at the table, with experience working with government, to make the desires of our community heard.
5. Should students be taught how to administer Naloxone in school?
Yes. I believe older students, who are in Grade 11 or 12, should be taught how to administer Naloxone. Substance use is a real issue in the community; this doesn’t exclude youth. Proactive measures should be taken to ensure that youth are kept safe in all situations.
6. Should there be more emphasis on STEM courses in schools?
7. Do we need a post-secondary institution/campus in Pitt Meadows or Maple Ridge?
It is inaccessible for youth graduating from high school in Maple Ridge to access existing post-secondary campuses that are 1, 2, even 3 hours away. It isn’t feasible to drive to a campus that is 40+ kilometers away with the current price of gas. Our community is currently served poorly by TransLink, with riders forced to embark on multiple hour journeys, both ways, from the nearest post-secondary campuses. Further, the price of rent is restricting youths’ ability to move out for school.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Advanced Education announced it would explore the possibility of post-secondary in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, via a feasibility study. I applaud this decision, and I am confident that the results of that study will end in a demonstrable need for post-secondary in Maple Ridge.
8. Is bullying a problem in local schools?
9. Should there be more emphasis on Indigenous-based history and culture courses?
10. Should the district have a strategy to reduce the use of portables?
Yes. The use of portables is not a decision that’s within the jurisdiction of the school board. The Ministry of Education controls the funds needed for districts to acquire land for new schools and to expand existing schools.
How the questions were presented to each candidate
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows news readers have told us how much they value this important, straight-forward reference guide that helps orient them with the range of choices on the ballots – both at the council and school board levels.
Towards that end, we have attempted to make this package available (along with the following instructions) to each of the candidates in a timely fashion ahead of the Oct. 15 election.
Please read carefully before you start to fill this out.
To help voters in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows make their choices on election day, The News is asking local candidates 10 issue-based questions.
You must provide a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y, N, D) response to EACH of these questions.
Each question MUST be answered with yes (Y), no (N), or Don’t Know (D). This will be published in a grid in the Oct. 6 edition. Any questions not answered will be LEFT BLANK.
Candidates may also expand on ANY OR ALL of these questions (to a maximum of 200 words each). Please note any responses longer than that will be cut off at the 201-word mark.
Due to space limitations, we can only guarantee to run one of these answers in The News print edition ahead of the election. You must CLEARLY indicate which expanded answer you want to see published in print. If you do not specify, we will choose. Any and all expanded answers provided will be published online at www.mapleridgenews.com.
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