Black Press went to our readers to gather a list of questions they would like to ask the Kootenay West candidates in the upcoming provincial election.
The Kootenay West riding will have six names on the ballot: Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green) Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent) and Ed Varney (Independent).
We will posting one set of question and answers each day for the next week.
Q: Another concern is lack of childcare spaces, the affordability of childcare and the shortage of early childhood educators. How do you or your party plan to address these issues?
Glen Byle (Conservative) – Having three young kids age 4, 6, and 8, my wife and I are very aware of the challenges of childcare. This is another issue where the front line workers, the early childhood educators, have great ideas on how to improve child care in our region. I would love to take their ideas, compare them to what other child care systems around the world have done, and implement those ideas if the outcome looks positive.
Katrine Conroy (NDP) – We have invested $25 million into child care in the West Kootenays with $7 million going directly to parents. We expanded program spaces and bursary funding for those wanting to become an ECE which can be accessed here at Selkirk College. We’ve funded 20,000 new child-care spaces in two years. More than 32,000 families in B.C. are now receiving childcare for $10/day or less. One of these prototype sites is here at the Selkirk College child care facility.
Andrew Duncan (Green) – As a single father of three amazing children ages four through nine, I definitely understand the need for affordable childcare in British Columbia. The BC Green party is proposing free childcare for British Columbians! How would we pay for it? Easily, if we had a government that stopped the NDP’s gifting to the fossil fuel industry $6.5 billion dollars a year! This money could then be spent on putting British Columbian families first.
Fletcher Quince (Independent) – The impact of COVID on childcare has produced a return to the notion of a cohort, something that has given rise to questions of equality, and not just access, in early childhood education and care. Given current models have not proven effective in adequately meeting the challenges of necessary service provision, I would begin by addressing access for the most vulnerable populations, while working towards a better integration of these services into our communities.
Ed Varney (Independent) – We need child care because one paycheque no longer sustains a family. For 50 years, business and government have worked to destroy unions and their benefits to provide living wages. From media, 29 per cent of Canadians cannot pay their bills; another 50 per cent are within $200 of not paying their bills. Governments have made Canada not a country to live in, but one to wait to die in. Governments need to subsidize families so that only one parent needs to work so that parents can raise their own children.
Liberal candidate Corbin Kelley did not submit answers to our questions.