Top row, left to right: Tom Shypitka, BC Liberals; Wayne Stetski, BC NDP; Kerri Wall; BC Green Part

Kootenay East candidates messages

We offered each candidate in Kootenay East space to hold forth on issues important to them and to voters.

Tom Shypitka – BC Liberals, Kootenay East

I have been absolutely honoured to have represented you for the past 3 1/2 years. My staff and I worked very hard to keep our office non-partisan and welcoming to all, and our record on helping those that come through our door has been very well documented. We have numerous success stories.

I want to cut to the chase and explain why we are having this election right now and tell you why I believe I am your best choice.

This unnecessary election by the NDP has exploited the good work and good will that you the general public and the many businesses across the province have given. It also has betrayed the partnership that all 3 parties agreed to in the Legislature in order to do what was best for British Columbians during a pandemic and provincial health emergency. The work of Dr. Bonnie Henry who is an independent government employee hired by the BC Liberals in 2015, would have been identical no matter what party was in government. The NDP should not get away with hiding behind the great work of Dr. Bonnie!

What also was underhanded was the betrayal of the Greens by the NDP; this went against a signed agreement not to hold an election until October 16th 2021.

Plain and simple – there is no good reason why this election should be happening right now when the NDP knew the second wave of the pandemic would be hitting us now, and businesses and employees need government the most. John Horgan has proven he simply cannot be trusted.

Here is the reality for those of us who have chosen to live in rural BC. The NDP’s stronghold is the Lower Mainland and that is who they cater to. Our unique issues such as wildlife, land access, mining industry, access to healthcare and many others will not be addressed by this government the way they need to be. The NDP took away rural funding and used it in the Urban areas. In short the NDP do not care about rural BC.

But enough negativity, there is hope.

The BC Liberal plan is the largest roll out in BC history with 30.9 Billion in 3 years going to infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, transportation, in addition to 1 Billion to improve seniors care, elimination of the PST for 1 year, and greater choice on auto insurance!

I believe I have worked as hard as anyone can. I love the people in this riding no matter what their political stripe. I have represented us all through good dialogue and pure passion for this awesome place we call home. I believe I have earned your trust.My team and I have done many good things, but we have much more to do and I am committed to do this for all of us. Give me your support and I will continue to work hard for you.

We can do good work together and I need your vote to do it.

Wayne Stetski – BC NDP, Kootenay East

I’m Wayne Stetski, and I want to work with you, and for you, as your MLA for Kootenay East.

I’m running because I have a passion for helping people and a strong desire to make a better BC.

We know in Kootenay East how important it is to have your MLA working for you inside government. John Horgan will be re-elected as Premier, and I want to be your strong voice on John’s team.

Listening to you is my priority, and as your MLA you can count on me to meet with you in your community to hear your concerns personally.

My wife Audrey and I have lived here for 30 years – we are so fortunate to have raised our family in Kootenay East!

During those three decades I have served you as your:

Member of Parliament – providing excellent non-partisan public service resolving issues you were having with government, and always putting Principles ahead of Politics in Parliament.

Mayor of Cranbrook – focussing on a welcoming and caring city hall and personally attending your events because I like people and care about what you are passionate about.

Manager of the East Kootenay Conservation Program developing partnerships for conservation on private land.

Regional Manager for the Ministry of Environment responsible for Fish, Wildlife, Ecosystems and Parks – Caring about the environment is a big part of who we are here in Kootenay East and has been a focus for my entire life. I will always be there for our hunters and fishers!

I believe in giving back to my community, and have volunteered locally on 11 different non-profit Boards and Committees:

The United Way; the College of the Rockies; the Key City Theatre; the Cranbrook Multicultural Society; the Cranbrook History Centre; Symphony of the Kootenays; Rocky Mountain Naturalists; Citizens Climate Lobby; Scouts Canada; Cranbrook Foodbank; Cranbrook Community Forest Society and have served as Manager/Coach for Minor Hockey and Ball helping your children stay healthy while learning the importance of teamwork.

We are facing a number of challenges that we must continue to work on together: Keeping you safe, secure and healthy during the pandemic; a shortage of family Doctors; ensuring a healthy economy – sustainable mining, forestry, tourism, agriculture and small businesses; supporting our seniors; building up wildlife populations; ensuring stable funding for education; renovating or replacing Mt Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook; implementing the United Nations Declaration On The Rights of Indigenous People here in the unceded territory of the Ktunaxa people; supporting our municipal governments; reducing poverty and homelessness; a new Columbia River Treaty; Climate change.

You need an MLA that you know will work with you, and for you, in meeting these challenges.

Let’s not forget what past BC Liberal governments were like, cutting local health care and senior’s care and attacking teachers and our kid’s education in court.

As for the Green party, their leader Andrew Weaver left the party this fall saying he supports John Horgan for Premier. Enough said…!

John Horgan has worked hard to earn your respect over the last three years – he is one of the most highly rated premiers in Canada!

I am looking forward to working with John Horgan, and with you, as your MLA for Kootenay East. Thank you for your support and your vote in this very important election!

Kerri Wall – BC Green Party, Kootenay East

It’s hard to love a snap election. This political move – which favours those already in power and folks able to mobilize instantly – is being openly criticized. Yet one thing is sure: John Horgan would not have broken his agreement with the BC Greens if he didn’t feel supremely confident that his party would come out on top. This means that you can vote for your values.

The cooperative response in the legislature to the coronavirus pandemic, along with the competence of Dr. Bonnie Henry and her team, had many of us feeling good about our provincial government. However, that brief spell was broken four weeks ago and we are again in the tug of war that is British Columbia politics.

May I remind you about the stable and scandal-free government that we have enjoyed since 2017? B.C. residents caught a glimpse of what can happen when we aren’t in an entrenched two-party system. With 3 BC Green MLAs, we experienced unprecedented levels of collaboration and holding government accountable – and we all benefited because of it. Competition and domination may make headlines, but quite honestly, regular people are sick of old-fashioned power grabs and lies.

My decision to run as an MLA candidate with the BC Green Party came out of two fundamental desires: 1) to offer residents of Kootenay East a more democratic and thoughtful election process than simply the battling polarities of the usual suspects, and 2) to give voters the opportunity to choose genuine climate action on their ballot. We know neither the BC NDP nor the BC Liberals truly understand the urgency citizens feel about this crucial issue, so if you are concerned about the climate emergency voting Green is your only option. My third reason was deep frustration.

I have been employed by Interior Health for ten years. In my role, I support municipalities and regional districts to develop healthy public policy and plans. My work with local government staff and elected officials around the Kootenays has focused on housing, childcare, affordability, food security, and climate change. Unfortunately, our hands are often tied because of barriers that exist at higher levels of government.

The frustration I feel is due to watching multiple overlapping crises get worse despite my years of effort. The pandemic – a massive crisis – has highlighted how desperate the other emergencies really are. We now have an economic & employment crisis to add to the overdose emergency. Plus we have our climate emergency and a housing crisis. And thanks largely to technology and social media, more and more people realize we have been in the middle of a racism and genocide crisis for a very long time.

In a healthier democracy no one party has all the power. In a healthier democracy, scientific evidence guides the creation of legislation. In a healthier democracy, we have elected representatives with diverse perspectives, puting ideas on the table, and collaborating to find solutions quickly. This is the promise of Sonia Furstenau and the BC Greens.

British Columbians can play a big role in shaping this province by electing more BC Greens to keep government accountable. Green Party MLAs put people before politics and focus on evidence-based decision-making. Nobody needs to vote strategically in this election. Instead, cast a vote for collaboration, imagination, and reconciliation.