BC ELECTION 2017: Dr. Peter Entwistle (Independent)

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
May 1st, 2017

Election Day (May 9th) is quickly approaching and many voters are still wondering how to cast their ballots. The Boundary Sentinel asked each candidate in the Boundary-Similkameen riding the same five questions. Check here for the answers from Independent candidate Dr. Peter Entwistle.

1. How well do you think the provincial government has served the people of the Boundary-Similkameen?

The governing Liberals haven’t served any riding in the province well — especially the Boundary-Similkameen and other ridings outside of the Lower Mainland and Victoria. 

But that’s understandable. Party politics just don’t work.

On almost every vote in the Legislature, MLA Linda Larson is corralled by Party authoritarians to vote the Party line and with the government — even when her vote will go against the best interests of the people in this riding.

Our MLA is also stuck when it comes to helping residents in the riding. If what people are asking goes against the government’s position, she has little authority and power to help them. All she can say is this is how it is.

What is most frustrating is what’s best for the Liberal Party is what’s best for its financial backers — big corporations that have put millions into the Liberal Party’s coffers.

As an Independent candidate, I’m not tied to Lower Mainland politics.  As each issue arises, I will consult and listen to my constituents and then vote the riding’s conscience — what’s best for the people of our riding.

None of my opponents can say that. They can talk and posture all they want about being advocates, activists and even mavericks, but at the end of the day they are bound by party discipline and unless freed to do so by a Party Whip, MUST vote with the party on issues — even when their vote may not be in the best interest of the riding.

How well has the provincial government served the riding? The easiest way for voters to answer that question is to answer this one: Are you personally better off today — financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually or otherwise — than you were four years ago?

2. What is the biggest issue facing the Boundary-Similkameen riding? How would your party address this issue?

Health Care is the biggest issue not only in the riding, but also the entire province. 

We have just three hospitals in the riding and each of them struggles with funding issues, overworked and overwhelmed staff, and decaying infrastructure.

Residents routinely face extended wait times for patient care, be it for surgery, therapy and some times just to see a doctor about a simple ailment.

All of this is occurring despite Liberal claims there are now more doctors than ever before serving BC.

Health care costs are escalating at alarming and unsustainable rates. 

With the Liberal’s most recent budget, health care spending will reach almost $20 billion by 2019 — almost three times what the governments spends on education, the second biggest ministry, and what is spends on all other ministries combined.

For every $1 spent on provincial programming, more than 50 cents will go to health care. With numbers like that, how can health care not be the most important issue? 

When you factor in our aging society and a correlating increase in health care demand and access, health care becomes an even more important issue.

Neither the Liberals nor the NDP have explained how they will pay for increasing health care costs as they promise — promise — to eliminate MSP premiums — which provide upwards of $2 billion in revenues.

Health Care delivery in British Columbia requires a new conversation. We need a health-care revolution, not health-care evolution.

Government needs a dedicated, experienced, independent health care professional to push this conversation and that’s what I plan to do if elected. I don’t have the answers, but I do have the will, the authority and the experience to push the conversation.

3. What specific party policies do you have in place to address the issue of employment in the region?

Party policies are focused on the Lower Mainland. The Liberals like to say they’ve set up a ministry and other programming to help rural British Columbia, but at the end of the day, local residents need to ask themselves one simple question: Is my job and its related benefits better than it was four years ago?

As an Independent, I will be free to push for practices, opportunities and commitments that benefit Boundary-Similkameen residents, businesses and communities. 

I will work with local government, chambers of commerce and other organizations to bring potential employers to the riding.

4. What has been the biggest accomplishment/failing of the current provincial government when it comes to the Boundary-Similkameen.

The biggest failing of the governing Liberals has been its inability to unplug what I call the “Vic Van Dyke” — that political dam that keeps party awareness of provincial issues bottled up in Victoria, Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

(I’ll leave the song and dance number to the other candidates).

A good example: two-tier energy billing. Not an issue to voters, MLAs and party leaders behind the Vic Van Dyke but huge for residents in rural British Columbia who do not have access to natural gas. 

Consequently, despite four years of constant local pressure, frustration and pleading — and what little the riding’s MLA can do and has done — Boundary-Similkameen residents are still having to choose between paying their electric bills and putting food on their tables.

Boundary-Similkameen voters might also ask themselves how the Vic Van Dyke has affected housing in the region, forestry, the environment and even the delivery of a National Park. The Liberals, NDP and even the Green Party all have solutions that benefit the bulk of voters behind the Vic Van Dyke. Other BC residents are left high and dry.

5. On the provincial level, what do you think is the biggest issue the parties need to address, and how would you accomplish it?

Voters need to do away with the party structure and get back to a political system where individuals represent individual ridings.

Consider this: according to an Imagine-X review of MLA voting records between 2013 and 2016 —

  • Almost all MLA votes are “whipped” to party lines. MLAs are not representing their ridings;
  • Less than two percent of votes cast by BC MLAs in the Legislature from 2013-16 were outside of party lines. That’s just two votes.
  • BC legislature votes initiated by Liberals always passed.
  • Votes in the BC legislature only passed when supported by the BC Liberals.

It sounds like a pipe dream, but a free-and-effective legislature could get a jumpstart May 9 with the election of an Independent candidate in the Boundary-Similkameen riding.

This is the biggest issue parties need to address; unfortunately, that’s never going to happen unless voters make it happen. I’m asking for Boundary-Similkameen voters to have the courage and be the change.


Categories: GeneralPolitics

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