Doug Maxwell wants to see change come to B.C. politics. Big change. And he is putting himself forward as the person to bring that change.
Maxwell, a retired Penticton mechanic, is the latest person to come forward as a candidate in the 2013 provincial election. Maxwell will be putting himself up against NDP candidate Dick Cannings and Liberal candidate Dan Ashton in a bid to win the Penticton riding for the B.C. First party.
“I haven’t got a lot of political experience. Maybe that is a positive instead of a negative,” said Maxwell, who owned a garage on Westminster Avenue for more than two decades. “For years, I have had a real problem with what I see happening and wasting our money. So I decided somebody had to step up and start talking about those kind of things, and I am going to do that.”
Maxwell, now 63, retired four years ago and jokes that he had another important project to complete before he could get involved in politics.
“I had to do my wife’s kitchen first,” he said, adding that he needed a little time to himself first. “After 30 years of doing my own business, I needed some relaxation time”
But he continued, the more he read in the papers about how the government is spending tax money, the angrier he got.
“Somebody has to step forward and start changing things. I am outraged, daily, to see how our government spends money just to get re-elected, not for the good of the people,” he said, noting self-congratulatory government advertising campaigns. “They don’t really care about finances, they care about getting re-elected. That has to stop. We have a $50 billion debt.”
And it’s not a particular party or ideology that is at fault, Maxwell continued. No B.C. party since the invention of party politics, he said, has left government with a lower debt than they came in.
“The legacy of the NDP is $17 billion added to our debt when they were in power. The Liberals have done the same thing, $17 billion added to our debt since they were in power,” said Maxwell.
B.C. First, which bills itself as a coalition of independents, plans to break that trend by bringing some major changes, from electing the premier at large, all MLAs as independents in a 60-seat House, and a referendum system for allowing a public veto on legislation.
“We need to turn it around so people are at the top again, instead of the executive branch of government. That is basically what a dictatorship is and that is the way it seems to be going right now,” said Maxwell.
He said independent MLAs wouldn’t be bound to the party line and could vote in the interests of their constituents.
“I can speak out, I don’t have to toe the line for anybody,” he said.
Getting elected in Penticton might be difficult, but Maxwell said the riding isn’t a lock for the provincial Liberals.
“If I get my message out, then people will start listening and say, Doug’s right, we have to start changing, we just can’t go on like this,” said Maxwell. “We (B.C. First) don’t think we are going to get elected first term out. We don’t think we are going to form the next government, but we have to start somewhere, saying that things have to change.”