NDP leadership hopeful Mike Farnworth stopped by Abbotsford on Sunday morning to assure party supporters that change is on the horizon.
He pledged to build a pragmatic platform that meets the needs of communities around the province.
“We have lots of policy but the trick is to have the right priorities,” the Port Coquitlam MLA said to a crowd of about 15 people at Legal Grounds Coffeehouse. “The right priorities are the issues that the people are concerned about. Government needs to be working with communities and the regions in this province to solve the challenges that they face. We need to recognize that a one-size approach doesn’t fit all.”
Farnworth believes the province needs to be proactive in tackling a wide range of issues. He supports raising minimum wage, using the existing carbon tax to fund public transit and strengthening public services.
“Economic and social success are linked, they’re not separate,” he said. “They have to be built on a strong environmental foundation. That means recognizing issues around sustainability.”
Addressing education shortfalls like chronic underfunding, and class size and composition are also priorities. He said a comprehensive Royal Commission on education is needed in B.C., from kindergarten to university, including apprenticeships and training programs. Farnworth also wants to look at making interest rate changes to provincial student loans.
“One of the key parts of governing is you have to work with people and look for common ground,” he said. “There’s a real opportunity in this campaign to make a decision to be a party that wins the next election and governs for more than one term.”
Farnworth served three terms as a Port Coquitlam councillor before entering provincial politics. In 2005, he became the official opposition house leader and critic for public safety and solicitor general.
The B.C. NDP will vote for a new leader on April 17.