BC Election 2020. BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC NDP leader John Horgan, and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)

BC Election 2020. BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC NDP leader John Horgan, and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Five in the running for Surrey -White Rock riding

Five candidates vying for seat vacated by Liberal Tracy Redies

  • Oct. 24, 2020 12:00 a.m.

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Jason Bax

Libertarian Party, Surrey-White Rock

Jason Bax is the BC Libertarian Party candidate for the Surrey-White Rock riding.

A Vancouver-born and raised family man– he and his wife have two daughters, aged 14 and 11 – he has deep roots in White Rock (moving here some eight years ago, they now live in a log home near Marine Drive that his grandparents built more than 40 years ago).

Listed on the ballot under his legal name of Baxevanidis, he’s running under the abbreviated professional name of Bax that has served him through several careers.

These have included building (and subsequently selling) a profitable internet technology company, followed by a stint as an investment banker specializing in mergers and acquisitions for other early-stage technology companies.

Latterly he has been involved in the B.C. film industry, with credits, both as an actor and on the production side, for close to 100 film and television projects.

Bax said he has been motivated to represent the residents of Surrey-White Rock due to what he feels are serious missteps in the BC NDP’s response to the COVID-19 virus that have had the effect of stifling the economy.

“The current state of affairs is that we are taxed to death – the government has killed the economy the way they’ve handled it. The treatment has caused more danger than the virus itself.”

Bax says that while the “sick should be quarantined and the vulnerable protected,” he believes the numbers of those infected and dead in B.C. do not justify the ongoing declaration of successive states of emergency for the province.

“The numbers are not lining up that this is an actual emergency,” he said. “We should be returning to a state of normal, not working with a ‘new normal.’

“The greater percentage of our population is suffering physically, emotionally and financially,” he added, citing rising suicide and overdose rates and companies shuttered “that will never open again.”

Like other Libertarian candidates he believes in ending the “ICBC monopoly,” cutting fuel and carbon taxes and repealing liquor taxes.

“We need to cut taxes to put money back in the pocket of working British Columbians,” he said.

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Trevor Halford

BC Liberal Party, Surrey-White Rock

Former senior political advisor for the BC Liberals Trevor Halford will represent that party as a candidate for the Surrey-White Rock riding.

Born and raised near Ocean Park, Halford worked his first election in 1997 and “I haven’t missed an election since.”

After obtaining a degree in political science, Halford got a job in the legislature and worked his way up to chief of staff for two different ministers. He worked on Kevin Falcon’s 2011 BC Liberal leadership campaign and for former premier Christy Clark’s office on communications and issue management.

Following his time in government, Halford took a job as director of government affairs for TransCanada Pipelines.

Halford made an unsuccessful bid for Surrey city council in the 2018 election under the Surrey First banner.

A parent of young children, Halford cited education as one of the key issues he will focus on.

“It’s a real struggle for parents and it’s a struggle for teachers, too. But it’s one where I think there’s a lot of uneasiness that we’re all trying to work through and it can be quite a scary time,” he said.

When asked why he decided to run for the Surrey-White Rock seat, Halford shared a personal story involving former White Rock mayor and former MLA Gordie Hogg.

Halford said he was going through a “hard time” in Grade 12 and his parents arranged a meeting between him and Hogg. He said Hogg went to bat for him, challenged him, and followed up once a week.

“That was something I saw as leadership. It was leadership in the community, but was also about fighting for people that may just need a little bit of extra help. That has always stuck with me and that’s absolutely one of the reasons why I’m ready to go in this election.”

Asked why residents should vote for him, Halford promised to always be accessible and “fight for what’s right.”

“It may not always be the most popular thing, but you’ve got to be able to listen to your constituents and then make decisions and stand by them.”

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Beverly (Pixie) Hobby

BC Green Party, Surrey-White Rock

Environmental lawyer Beverly (Pixie) Hobby, a longtime Crescent Beach resident, has entered the election race for Surrey-White Rock representing the BC Green Party.

Hobby started working as a lawyer for the Federal Department of Justice in 1981 and transitioned to an environmental lawyer for Environment Canada in 1988.

While with the federal government, she worked on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and climate change file.

She was also the lead lawyer during the drafting of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and then worked for the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

“I was on the negotiating team for the First Nation Land Management Agreement, it started with only 14 First Nations, but grew. That agreement was the foundation of what’s now called the First Nation Land Management Act, which gives First Nations complete jurisdiction to run, whether it’s land management, forestry, oil, gas, or whatever, on their own lands,” Hobby said.

Hobby is a familiar face in the local political scene, including an unsuccessful bid for the federal NDP party in the South Surrey-White Rock riding in 2015 and again for the same riding, under the federal Green Party banner, in 2019.

Historically, the provincial Surrey-White Rock riding has been a stronghold for the BC Liberal Party. When asked why residents should change their vote to the Green Party, Hobby said because “it puts people ahead of profits.”

“We are focused on creating a healthier form of government where there’s respect.

“The Green Party is focused on ideas and solutions and we don’t care whether it’s the Conservatives, the Liberals, or the NDP that come up with an idea,” Hobby said.

“If the idea is a good idea, we acknowledge it and we go for it.”

Hobby said her party’s goal is to build a strong and resilient economy that respects the environment and respects Indigenous people.

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Megan Knight

Independent, Surrey-White Rock

Former White Rock councillor Megan Knight is running as an independent candidate in the Surrey-White Rock riding.

And she said she sees that independence as a plus rather than a minus in a legislature where power may be fairly evenly split between parties, making unaligned, non-partisan votes all the more important.

“In the last legislature we saw that an independent could have a lot of power,” she said. “If I’m elected, I will do what I think is best for the community. I don’t have to toe the line for anybody.”

Knight, who made an unsuccessful bid to run as a BC Liberal candidate, also said she believes that an independent voice would be best equipped to communicate the wishes of the community in Victoria, and that support she has already received from community leaders indicates that many feel the same way.

“I feel our area hasn’t had a voice for a long time. We’ve had representatives who’ve lived outside the community. I’ve been here since 1979 – I think I have a good take on what’s going on in the community.”

In addition to serving on White Rock council from 2014 to 2018, Knight – a commissioned B.C. Notary Public practising in the area since 1998 – is a member of the Sources Foundation board, and has also served on the Fraser Valley Regional Library Board and the Tour de White Rock board.

As part of her council duties, she was chair of the finance and audit committee, and also the environmental advisory, governance and legislation, land use and planning committees, and served as council alternate for the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation. She has been involved in the organization of many key community and sports events.

Knight grew up in Cloverdale and is a graduate of Semiahmoo Secondary. She and her husband have a blended family of five children and four grandchildren.

In campaign materials, she identifies three of the biggest issues currently as facing the challenges of COVID-19; addressing the provincial deficit of $13 billion; and providing fiscal responsibility in Victoria.

“With my long record of public service and small business ownership, I have the experience to tackle these issues,” she said.

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Bryn Smith

BC NDP, Surrey-White Rock

At 25 years old, BC NDP’s Bryn Smith is the youngest candidate to put his name forward in the Surrey-White Rock riding ahead of the Oct. 24 provincial election.

The Crescent Beach resident has a master’s in political science and worked for the Surrey School District as a safe school liaison for the past two years.

Noting that the BC Liberals have controlled the riding for the past three decades, Smith said it’s time for a change.

“They haven’t done anything to make life better for us. Earl Marriott and Semiahmoo (Secondary) populations have exploded, nine out of 10 senior care homes were understaffed by the time BC Liberals left office and our health care was cut significantly,” Smith said.

Smith vows to fight for increased funding for healthcare, education and seniors care.

Asked why he decided to run, Smith said he was thinking about issues that impacted South Surrey and White Rock while he was obtaining his master’s degree.

“I came back to this riding after I finished my schooling and I saw the impacts that these cuts had on our schools. It was really heartbreaking. Earl Marriott only has four or five counsellors and they have a school filled with 2,200 students.”

While some of the other candidates are more experienced in both the political and professional arenas, Smith said that’s not necessarily an advantage.

“So even though we’ve had experienced people in charge, the question for me is what are you going to do with that experience?” he said.

“If your experience is, say, oil lobbying or that sort of thing – and you get (to be) in charge – well what kind of decisions are you going to make? You have a lot of experience, but is that necessarily positive experience?”

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