With BC Premier John Horgan announcing a snap provincial election Monday morning, the seat for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows will once again be up for grabs.
Incumbent Lisa Beare of the NDP Party won the seat over Liberal Doug Bing by more than 1,600 votes in the 2017, with Green Party candidate Alex Pope coming a distant third in the race.
As a first time MLA, Beare was given the honour of being named Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture for the province.
Her opponent for this election will be Liberal candidate Cheryl Ashlie, who said the decision to call the election was not surprising.
“[Horgan] knows his own government can’t stand on its own performance, so it is really clinging to the performance of Dr [Bonnie] Henry,” she said.
“If he calls the election now, he can really ride her coat tails, where if he waits until spring, or the proper election date of October, then his own merits and his government’s performance will be judged.”
Ashlie said she thinks it is irresponsible of the premier to call an election during a pandemic.
“You should not be putting your political gain ahead of the public’s safety,” she said. “It’s reckless government.”
Ashlie currently works as a project manager with the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice, which represents family physicians in-and-around the riding.
“I’m on the front line right now as doctors are trying to figure out how they’re going to handle the flu season and the next wave.
“We’re actively working on those response plans, and doctors have no time for aiding in a game plan for election preparation on top of that,” she said.
In the riding of Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows, Ashlie said she will be focused on issues such as homelessness, infrastructure, seniors services, advocating for better environmental standards, and addressing doctor shortage.
“I would really like to give the area the strong voice that I really feel has been lacking from Beare these last three years.”
Beare said her government has been able to do great work in Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows, and all across the province.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to do, and now it’s time to check back in and get a mandate from the general public on what they want to see moving forward.”
She pointed to transportation infrastructure upgrades, as well as investments in child care and youth supportive housing as examples of successes the NDP government has had in the riding.
“These are things that the community told us they wanted and we delivered,” she said,
“So now we’re going to go out again, listen to the community, and continue to deliver.”
In response to claims the timing of the election endangers the public, Beare said provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry has been working with Elections B.C. to make sure all the tools are in place so that an election can proceed safely.
Election day will be Saturday, October 24, 2020.