Mid Island-Pacific Rim NDP incumbant Scott Fraser is working hard for his re-election.
A former Tofino resident, Fraser is seeking his fourth term in a riding that has gone by a number of names. He has served as MLA for the region for the last 12 years, raising key issues around loss of forestry jobs and opportunities, fighting for seniors care, end of life care, watershed protection, healthcare and education.
Fraser gained attention recently when he organized a rally on top of the hump protesting the loss of public access to back country.
“I broke the story 10 years ago about all the land being removed from the tree farm license and given to Weyerhaeuser for free,” he said. “That’s been the start of a massive increase in raw logging export and a massive decrease in our forestry jobs. And the loss of our access. All of that has fallen out of those decisions.
“It’s become a battle for the whole island,” he went on. “The backcountry parks, our lakes and camping areas, hunting, fishing, mushroom picking, bird watching. The reason that we’re all living in this wonderful place is to have that. And that’s being denied us.”
As the MLA, Fraser also visited local schools to meet with kids and get them engaged with politics. Last year at Alberni District Secondary School, a group of students determined that there were insufficient mental health supports for youth and that the school system was not providing adequate sex education.
“They did brilliant polling work, they had statistics, and I got them to the legislature,” said Fraser. “They were blown away. They were so impressed with the kids here.”
Part of the NDP’s platform includes creating a ministry specifically to deal with mental health. “Part of the reason we have that in our platform is because I raised with my own caucus members what the kids taught me here,” Fraser admitted.
Along with mental health, the NDP also plans to address issues of healthcare, seniors care, education, creating good family supporting jobs and making life more affordable.
Fraser said that ending big money is a “plank” in their election platform.
“We’ve got to change the government,” he emphasized. “They are making decisions based on who pays them. The top two percent and corporate donations are the basis for their decision-making, at the expense of all the rest of us.”
Fraser said the NDP is planning to flip this around, with a one percent tax increase to large corporations and an elimination of MSP payments over the term.
“We’re going to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” he added. “We’re freezing ferry rates. Full audit of BC Ferries and BC Hydro, all the Crown corporations, to turn them around so they once again represent the interests of the people of British Columbia.”
The NDP’s slogan for this election is, “working for you,” he said.
“The wealthy and the well-connected Liberal donors have had their premier,” Fraser explained. “The top two percent have had their premier. It’s time that the rest of us get a premier that represents them. So that’s what it’s about.”
Over the next month, Fraser is planning to knock on “an awful lot of doors.”
“The riding has expanded immensely,” he pointed out. “All the candidates are going to be pulled all over the place over the next month. It’s pretty frantic.”
A few all-candidates meetings have been hosted already, and a few more have been scheduled. Fraser is looking forward to these.
“I love the events,” he said.
“They get a chance for people to see what you’re made of, what our platforms are, and it helps people make an informed decision.”
He joked, “It’s like the longest job interview that there is. And the only thing that’s sure about this job is that you’re guaranteed to be fired every four years. And then you have to fight like hell to get the job back again.”