The B.C. election is warming up after two campaigns got into gear on the weekend, working towards the May 9 vote.
Maple Ridge NDP candidates Lisa Beare and Bob D’Eith opened a shared office on Sunday, in the former Curves fitness location on Lougheed Highway and 223rd Street, while Liberal MLA Marc Dalton (Maple Ridge-Mission) kicked off his campaign on Saturday, opening his headquarters on Dewdney Trunk Road and 225th Street.
“We’re ready to go. It was a full house. It’s kind of fun sharing offices,” said D’Eith, who’s running in Maple Ridge-Mission.
“It certainly adds a whole layer of excitement.”
D’Eith said that he won’t start campaigning full-time until the election writ is issued April 11, formally declaring the start of the campaign.
“All we can do is work hard. We’ve got a huge amount of work to do in both ridings. But I do think they’re both winnable.”
He said both Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge-Mission are battleground ridings that the NDP needs to win in order to form government. The ridings are divided roughly along 224th Street.
Dalton has been campaigning for months.
“I think the sense I get out there is fairly positive about where B.C. is at with the economy,” he said.
Dalton is seeking a third term, while D’Eith is trying for a provincial seat after losing to the Liberals during the federal election in 2015.
Dalton said voters shouldn’t take for granted B.C.’s prosperous economy.
Liberal MLA Doug Bing (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) opened his campaign office the week prior in the old Pantry restaurant on Lougheed Highway.
Lisa Beare is the NDP candidate trying to defeat Bing.
“People are ready for a better B.C. They’re definitely ready for a change,” Beare said.
Voters want MLAs who will work for them, she added.
“We’ve been hearing a lot about life is getting harder and more expensive … under the B.C. Liberals.”
People feel no matter how hard they work, she added, they can’t move ahead.
The NDP would spend more on health care, child care and social services, said Beare, and that the party’s platform will be released in a few weeks.
D’Eith criticized the Liberal MLAs’ citizen’s advisory committee, announced last week, that will determine the location of new $15-million homeless shelter and supportive housing facility in Maple Ridge. He said the province’s neglect of social services is one of the reasons he’s running.
“I don’t know why Marc Dalton and Doug Bing made those decisions. I think they’re just trying to push this past the election, really,” he added.
There’s no housing or poverty reduction plan, or treatment for mental health and addictions, D’Eith said.
“All those areas have been neglected for 16 years and that’s why we are where we are.”
Dalton said there’s been good rapport between the committee and the community in discussing the shelter.
Green party candidate Peter Tam was first to open his campaign office,, on Lougheed Highway at 228th Street. After holding a public skate two weeks ago, he’s now hosting a green technology job fair at Maple Ridge public library on Thursday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Alex Pope is running for the Green party in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, while Bryton Cherrier is running in the same riding for the B.C. Libertarian Party.