A retired high school band, social studies and English teacher is the fifth candidate to seek election in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge riding.
Steve Ranta will run as an independent candidate and said many Canadians share his concerns about the direction the country is moving.
“We’re being made to fear we’re under some dire threat of attack,” by terrorists, he said Wednesday.
But apart from such attacks, the only terror threats are a result of police during investigations, leading on suspects towards terrorist action.
“I think it’s really wrong for Canadians to give up their right to publicly protest and their rights to privacy, when there is no real threat.”
He said government is eroding rights beyond what was included in Bill C-51, passed by the Conservatives this May.
He points out that the NDP wants to increase police strength in Surrey, while the Green party wants to give more power to the RCMP, CBSA and security agencies.
All parties are going along with the idea that we’re under such threat, Ranta added.
Ranta said many issues that he’s concerned about now were middle of the road issues 20 years ago, but the political spectrum has shifted to the right, making such concerns seem radical.
He realizes he’s an underdog in the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge riding, but said factors such as the economy could destabilize the three major parties.
“So I think change is in the air. Whether there’s enough time to win the election, is unknown.”
He added that trade agreements are stopping governments from dealing with the environment or finances, while “large corporations and super-rich individuals” are hoarding their money while depriving society investment, jobs and goods and services.
“The politics of secrecy and fear, and the militarization of society are discouraging the involvement of an informed citizenry in the decisions which affect them, and ruining Canada’s hard-won reputation as a peacekeeper and honest broker.”
Ranta has grown up in the area and lives in Maple Ridge and taught in schools here for seven years.
“The opportunities I enjoyed were benefits of living in an open, prosperous, and caring society. Canadian citizens deserve to continue living in such a society.”
Peter Tam (Greens), Mike Murray (Conservative), Dan Ruimy (Liberal), and Bob D’Eith (NDP) and are also running locally.
Parties take voters for granted, Ranta said.
He thinks it’s important for the public to show parties that they won’t get votes unless they address the fundamental issues.
“I think sometimes they take their core support for granted.”