I have lived in Penticton for over 10 years. I moved here when my children were small and I have loved living here. I own a small business, Big Bear Software, and a co-working space in Westbank, the Big Bear Innovation Centre. I have volunteered and helped build the community in many ways over the years with my involvement with JCI, the chamber of commerce, the Okanagan School of the Arts and leading the Smart Cities Challenge.
My battle with the school board to keep the Shatford Centre open was a prime example of where bureaucracy hurts our community. I previously have run for school trustee and most recently MLA. I am now the leader of the BC Libertarian Party and have a team of intelligent people behind me to help me understand municipal issues across the province to learn from other communities and bring ideas to Penticton. I believe in smaller government and personal responsibility. We have come to a point in our society where we feel like the government needs to take care of every aspect of our life and I’d like to help us become more self-reliant and keep our tax money in our own bank accounts to spend as we see fit.
Q: How would you address the housing crisis?
We currently can’t address the housing crisis because the province is bullying their way through our community and making decisions for us. We need to continue to fight back against the province overstepping and forcing decisions on us.
A: The latest news of them purchasing several motels without consulting the City is another example of government overreach. Combine that with the paramountcy used for the homeless shelter, taking away Pathways funding and forcing the hospital board to pay $1 million after the facility has already been opened, and it’s clear that municipalities need to fight back against the provincial government.
Q: How would you address rising crime rates and social issues impacting Penticton?
A: These are complex issues that can’t be fully described in a few sentences. The root issues of addiction, such as abuse, need to be addressed. Communities need to focus on truly helping those with addictions at the root level instead of just creating beds for them. Only then can crime be reduced. The government continues to solve problems that they are not equipped to solve. The RCMP is a bureaucratic organization that spends too much time on paperwork and avoiding doing their job than actually helping the community. We should abolish the RCMP and have our own police and security forces so that we can do what’s best for our community.
Q: Do you have a plan to support small business?
A: Yes. Cut down the size of the government and the reliance we have on the government and give the taxes back to the people.
Q: Do you support more low-barrier supportive housing for the homeless or what do you think can address the addictions and mental health issues facing the community?
We need to address the root causes. We need to take the money back from the province and put it in the hands of the municipalities and the citizens so that we can direct our funds to programs that actually work.
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