Q & A with NDP candidate Craig Speirs

Craig Speirs

Craig Speirs

Q1.  What have you done in the past three years to make you a good Member of Parliament?

A: “In the past three years, I’ve been involved in all three levels of government” – the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Union of B.C. Municipalities and Metro Vancouver. “At UBCM, I put forward a resolution (on limiting the use of plastic bags in stores) that got … voted as an accepted resolution to limit the use of plastic bags in grocery stores.” That was sent on to the provincial government. “It was dismissed outright by the provincial government.” Speirs has also been involved with water issues and organized the “Get Out the Migration Walk,” on the Alouette River last year to raise awareness about protecting Pacific salmon from fish farms.

Q2. What is the most pressing issue this election and how would you address it?

A: Water. “I just don’t think we’ve done enough. I think that the pressures on our salmon stocks, open net pens for salmon farming, are just wrong. We got to go to a closed net system … where we can filter the water. It’s just too critical. “In the riparian areas, we need to ensure our activities … farming, industry and residential … have to have a lighter touch. It comes directly from your driveways and how you wash your car. Low-level pollution has to be addressed.” He wants the federal government to insist that the provincial government improve stormwater management and farm impacts on streams. “Every point of pollution is really important to address.”

Q3. Who are your top three inspirational heroes or leaders?

A: Gandhi is one of my most inspiring figures in all of history. And he says, be the change you want to be in the world. To me, that says it all. “Definitely Tommy Douglas [former Saskatchewan premier, known as father of medicare]. He showed that there’s much strength in an idea. “He said you can lock up a mouse or a man, but you can never lock up an idea. “Never be afraid of being in the minority. If you have a good idea, it will gain traction. Like health care.” His third hero is his son Zachary, who died of a heart ailment when he was eight months old. That taught him to try to pay back B.C. Children’s Hospital for the care they gave to his son and to help heal the earth. “He taught me never to be afraid, No. 1, of my emotions, and No. 2, of putting myself out there to create that change.”

Q4: How will you improve transportation in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows?

A: “We’re down to very few road improvements that are needed. Maybe four-laning from Maple Ridge to Mission would be the last portion, that really needs to get done.” He also wants to get bus service from Mission to Maple Ridge. “And, of course, to improve the West Coast Express.” There’s a role to be played with the federal government because that’s CP Rail, he added. He said there’s a common direction for Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Mission and that all three have to act as a region. “The day of the car is fading.” Q5: Education, the economy or social welfare – what takes priority for you and how would you deal with it? A: “I think the one leads to the other. I think they’re all related. He said the federal government’s Economic Action Plan focused on construction projects rather than education. “I think education is the key. That will help drive the economy and take people off social welfare. Why didn’t we invest in our human infrastructure? “I think the more we can do to help people to get an education, the better the effect will be on the economy and the less pressure on the social welfare system.”

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