Doug Clovechok is running for the BC Liberal party in the provincial election. He is the incumbent for the region.
Why are you, party aside, the best choice to be MLA in Revelstoke?
The job of an MLA is to listen to the people they are accountable to, and to work hard for them. I ran for MLA in 2017 so I could put my lifetime experience in public education, tourism, and small business to work for Columbia River-Revelstoke in Victoria. No matter your political affiliations over the past three years we have come together to solve problems to make our communities better. I have done my best to listen to you and help you and your families. Together we have accomplished a lot, improving our highways and wildlife management processes, working on better access to our healthcare services, or helping our businesses and families navigate government red tape so they can find success. I like working for you and I consider it an honor. As we work to overcome the impacts of Covid-19 my experience bringing people together and getting Victoria to work for us will be easily continued. I would be honored to continue fighting for our riding’s unique needs and working to find solutions.
What are you and your party’s views and plans for highway safety in the region?
Apart from COVID-19 the biggest issues I have heard from people are with transportation, childcare, and access to healthcare. I had the privilege to work with Shannon Smith and many other citizens to convince the provincial government to make much needed safety improvements to Three Valley Gap. Before I was the MLA, I helped secure the provincial government approval for the four-laning of the Kicking Horse Canyon. In anticipation of the rerouting impact that the Kicking Horse Canyon project will have on communities between Radium Hots Springs and Golden I made sure that the RCMP East Kootenay Traffic Service maintained their full complement of officers despite cuts being made in other regions of the province. I am dismayed that under John Horgan leadership project costs have skyrocketed and I am hearing from many concerned citizens that the project delays are really impacting them. The BC Liberals will get this project back on track and make more improvements to our highways by investing $8 billion in infrastructure improvements over three years, an increase of 35 per cent in infrastructure investments, to create jobs, stimulate our economy and meet the needs of our growing population.
How do you plan on addressing or supporting a solution for the housing shortage in Revelstoke if you are elected?
Affordable housing is an issue throughout the riding and so many people and families are struggling. If you look at Revelstoke on its own, its dire. Although there is a 174-unit complex proposed for affordable housing rentals, but it does not address the root causes of the shortage. The BC Liberals have a plan, and it is multi-faceted as there is not only one solution. People deserve a safe place to live.
Our $1.75 billion housing plan will dramatically increase supply, remove barriers to new housing developments and make renting and homeownership more affordable for British Columbians. Our housing platform is backed up with serious money – $1.75 billion over three years in capital funding and $146 million in new operating funding.
The BC Liberals plan to eliminate PST for one year will also help affordability, and not just by putting more money into people’s pockets. Just by eliminating the PST on a wood home is a savings of $9/sq.ft. For a 1,200 sq.ft. home, that would reduce the cost by $10,800, that is huge money that could be put towards a down payment.
I would like to remind voters when they are choosing who to vote for, in 2017 John Horgan promised 114,000 affordable homes and to date has opened less than 3,000. Under his leadership housing prices, rents and property taxes have escalated, and his $400 renters rebate he promised in 2017 never happened.
The BC Liberal plan will restore confidence in the housing market and rebuild B.C. so that everyone can have an affordable place to call home.
What are your ideas and priorities when it comes to environmental management for the region?
It has been a privilege to work with many concerned citizens in Revelstoke who care deeply about the future of Mt. Begbie and making sure we strike the right balance between environmental conservation and economic development. If you trust me again with your vote, I will make sure we take the responsible course of action for Mt. Begbie by placing a moratorium on all commercial recreation development and have the provincial government develop a Backcountry Recreation Access Plan. As concerned citizens, we cannot give up on this critically important issue. John Horgan and NDP said “No” to the City of Revelstoke’s request for a protection plan and ignored the 1,300 people who signed our petition this summer. Now the NDP say “maybe” they will get around to it next year – if they can find the time and money. It’s clear we simply can’t trust John Horgan and the NDP to do what’s needed for Revelstoke, just like how we couldn’t trust them to do the right thing with caribou management, to four-lane the Kicking Horse Canyon on time or on budget, or to follow through on their promise to bring $10 a daycare for everyone who needs it. When the caribou consultation process had completely ignored the citizens of Revelstoke and surrounding areas I presented a petition from residents to government demanding that their voices be heard in the caribou consultation process. Further I was able to get government officials to hold a community forum in Revelstoke to discuss the caribou issues which was attended by over 800 people. I was also able to arrange a meeting with then Premier John Horgan in Vancouver and the mayors from Revelstoke and Sicamous to discuss the caribou issue. The protection of this iconic species is critical, but it must be done with science and transparent consultation with area residents as well as First Nations peoples.
What are your plans and priorities for COVID recovery?
I have heard from many constituents and employers from across the riding since COVID-19 hit in March; people are worried about the future. We have been in a provincial state of emergency for the last seven months; economically we have not been in such a situation since the end of the WW II. We must act decisively as the livelihood of our families, friends, and neighbors is threatened. That is why the BC Liberals are proposing stimulus spending to keep our local businesses open, keep people working and put more money back into the pockets of families without cutting government services. Cutting the PST for one year and then holding it to three per cent will mean more people will spend money locally, instead of buying across our borders. Eliminating the small business tax will help our local businesses keep people working, particularly in the tourism industry that is vital to so many communities across our region. Ending the ICBC monopoly will provide B.C. drivers with choice and savings in their auto insurance. We will also provide real $10/$20/$30-a-day childcare; something B.C. parents have been anxiously waiting for, for 3.5 years from the BC NDP government.
How will you and your party be addressing childcare needs?
Our plan to provide an immediate expansion of affordable childcare is a real lifeline for all parents across Columbia River Revelstoke who have struggled for years to find daycare for their kids. Covid-19 has increased the pressure on families, which is why bold action is needed to help parents continue to work and look after their families. The BC Liberals will implement a $1 billion plan to bring $10-a-day childcare to low-income families and affordable childcare for families who need it most. Immediately expanding affordable childcare, on top of eliminating the PST for one year, means more money for parents at a time when they need it the most.
Under the BC Liberal plan, families with annual household incomes of up to $65,000 will have access to $10-a-day childcare and there will be stepped rates for families with incomes up to $125,000. $20-a-day for families with annual household incomes up to $90,000 and $30-a-day for families with annual household incomes up to $125,000. We are also committing to expand training and support for more qualified early childcare workers. This is critical as you can have as many spaces as you want but without teachers, they stand empty. Unlike the fake promise of $10-a-day childcare by John Horgan and the NDP three years ago, the BC Liberals are presenting a real plan that B.C. parents can count on. Only two per cent of childcare spaces in B.C. are currently offered at the $10-a-day rate after John Horgan himself admitted it was simply “a slogan” after the 2017 election campaign.
What are your plans and priorities for senior’s care and how will that include rural communities like Revelstoke?
Over my three and a half years as the MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke, I have had the honor of working with seniors on their health care issues, from changes the days of the week of BC Transit’s Health Connections Bus to getting better care in residential care facilities. Seeing the challenges that our seniors face with the current system firsthand showed me why the BC Liberals’ plan announced this past weekend is a real game changer. The BC Liberals plan to implement a new Seniors’ Home Care Tax Credit in addition to a five-year $1-billion plan that will help seniors stay in their homes longer and live their best possible lives in long-term care facilities. Our plan helps seniors right away by supporting them to stay in their homes longer with a tax credit of up to $7,000 for home care services. We will also invest $1 billion over the next five years to improve long-term care homes and get any senior who wants one, their own room. That is half the time of the NDP’s 10-year plan. We need to make sure that the tragic impacts COVID-19 had on our long-term care and assisted living residence are not repeated. That’s why making it easier for seniors to stay at home longer is so important, and why when our loved ones do need long-term care.