NAME: Stephen Fowler
PARTY: BC Green Party
ABOUT: Fowler enjoys most things; nature, soccer, and education are daily highlights. Living around the Fraser Valley established an appreciation for the environment and personal questions for how we live within it. The Green Party’s goal to seek a sustainable balance for society and the Earth answers those questions. He has been a teacher in the Abbotsford School District for almost 25 years. He lives in South Abbotsford near UFV.
1. What are the biggest issues currently facing the District of Mission?
Mission’s biggest issues are the new sewer line and climate change. The sewer line typifies how our three levels of government do not work well together. The cost has risen from 11 million dollars, in 2017, to 22 million today. The new sewer line is needed immediately to avoid an environmental catastrophe.
Mission cannot alter climate change alone, but living in a more sustainable way will be good for the city. Our children and grandchildren will live in a much different world unless all levels of government realize our house is on fire and act now. Business and society must give back to the environment to establish a sustainable balance that will allow all three participants to meet their potential.
2. Why does your party have the best solutions on these issues, and what are the biggest gaps in your opponents’ platforms?
The BC Greens are the only party with a climate plan with a detailed timeline to meet goals. The NDP have dates but no plan to meet them. We are the only party that does not support LNG. The Liberals and NDP have both subsidized the fossil fuel industry; if you are supporting fossil fuels, you are not fighting climate change.
Currently, when we build infrastructure, like the sewer pipeline, the process becomes a competition of who can hire the best grant writer. The Green Party believes in municipally administered infrastructure growth that is paid for by large block funding from the provincial and federal governments. The municipalities know what they need; give them the money.
3. What should the government do to help people recover from the economic effects of COVID-19?
Sonia Furstenau: “We must make investments that position us to build back a more sustainable economy.”
We cannot consider the province recovered from COVID-19 until housing and mental illness are dealt with. BC Greens will include mental illness into our regular MSP health coverage; 1 billion dollars over four years has been earmarked for this. Rental housing will become more affordable through subsidy grants made available to those who are cash poor due to rental rates. At the same time, the BC Greens will begin its clean-economic recovery plan. This comprehensive, timelined plan transitions to green power supplies, jobs, transportation, and all other sectors to meet our carbon neutral goal of 2045.
4. The provincial government provides vital services to thousands of vulnerable people. What personal experiences give you insight into how government services affect the lives of voters?
As a teacher, I have worked in a classroom with special needs students. In this position, I came to know and create relationships with the students’ parents. Life is very different for a parent of a special needs student; it is a life that requires many adaptations. I was always aware of the stresses and strains put on the parents. I found they have a very difficult time getting regular respite; having an opportunity to refresh parental batteries is crucial to their being the best they can be. There is also the question of funding. There is funding, but the process seemed cumbersome and inadequate. The parent of special needs citizen has to advocate for the child’s future and plan for that future even when they are gone The government must be an advocate, not just a manager, for equity.