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: How do you or your party propose to create economic opportunities in the West Kootenay?
Glen Byle, Conservative – BC Conservatives believe that private businesses are the engine of our economy. Reducing the tax load and regulatory burden on these companies, especially small businesses, to make it easier for them to be successful is key. We can encourage growth in new markets such as modern green technologies, like e-bikes, e-scooters, and other low power electric vehicles, by reducing the restrictions on these technologies and encouraging their use on B.C. roads.
Katrine Conroy, NDP – It’s going to be important to both expand on the industries we already have and encourage the growth of new sectors. For example, we will need to support new ways to utilize forest products like mass timber, continue to expand broadband, and support the growth of our tech sector and healthcare sector. We will continue to support small businesses and have given grants to support 15,000 hard hit small and medium businesses while protecting 200,000 jobs. BC NDP will also continue to expand post-secondary programs for these sectors, to provide the skilled local employees they need.
Andrew Duncan, Green – The Green Party has opted to end the pretense of the GDP (gross domestic product) as being the only indicator of economic growth. Massive forest fires and other environmental disasters destroy lives and communities favors the GDP growth, all be it in a “broken glass” economic fallacy. The BC Green party will contribute to the growth and development of the Kootenay West riding by improving healthcare, soil health, agriculture, forestry practices and community well-being.
Fletcher Quince, Independent – Revitalization of Rossland’s business core over the previous decade impressed upon me the importance of creative industries in community economic development. As such, I believe supporting a mosaic of small businesses is crucial to maintaining the community vibrance that enables larger regional employers to thrive. By acting to strengthen the link between education and employment, I would increase opportunities for youth to develop skills, and gain employment in their communities.
Ed Varney, Independent – One idea is to reopen our forests, reopen and maintain every road in B.C. so that wood fibre can be removed from usable sawlogs (one tree salvaged is one less tree that needs to be cut down) to deadwood for firewood to wood fibre for chips, pellets or to make wood alcohol. This in effect cleans up the forest removing fuel for forest fires.
Liberal candidate Corbin Kelley did not submit answers to our questions.