Samson Boyer is running for the BC Green Party in the provincial election.
Why are you, party aside, the best choice to be MLA in Revelstoke?
I have been an instructor, student, farmer, manager and director. But at the end of the day I am a resident of the Kootenays and I am terrified for my future. Terrified of the effects of climate change. While running this campaign I have been taking a full university course load and it’s freaking hard. Not because there is too much to do (there kind of is) but because I am overwhelmed with the feeling that I have to do more to fight climate change. As a young person my generation and my children’s generation will face the brunt of climate change. To be honest I’m tired, tired of watching politicians ignore the science, tired of the inaction, tired of the uphill battle. But I can’t give up and I won’t, I want a future for myself and my children.
I believe that we need to do politics differently, that’s why I’m running for the Green Party. We can work together to solve the problems we all face, a minority government is the closest thing to a representative system we ever had. If you choose to vote for me in this election we will have an MLA that not only wants to listen and engage with our communities, but will represent our views in Victoria, working with the other parties to get what we need. I promise honesty and openness, I want the bills that I vote on to be discussions we have as a community and I want my record known to the voters so that I can be held accountable. I am young, but I believe that we want to do better and I want to get us there.
What are you and your party’s views and plans for highway safety in the region?
As the government has gone ahead with a four lane expansion of the Trans-Canada highway we will see an influx in people driving through Radium and Golden. We can reduce the horrendous accident rate, frequent closures and increasing congestion.
For one we need to ensure that speed limits are enforced. As someone who has to drive from Fairmont to Spill for work I know that almost everyone speeds regardless of weather conditions. In part because we have very few enforcement officers, I have driven for weeks at a time without seeing one police officer. Speeding increases the chances of an accident and increase the risk of fatalities. The rates of frequent closures is only going to get worse as we begin to face the full brunt of climate change. Road flooding, mudslides and forest fires will take a huge toll on our infrastructure. The Green Party has a plan to fund an adaptation initiative which will go towards communities can protect them selves from forest fires and floods. I think having a more resilient adaptive system in place can make sure that can road closers due to environmental factors can be prevented or the wait time can be reduced the risk of accidents.
The Green Party believes in accessible and safe public transit. If we had alternatives to driving individual cars such as electric buses and train travel then we would not only lower our GHG emissions but we would also have safer alternatives to driving in slippery winter roads.
How do you plan on addressing or supporting a solution for the housing shortage in Revelstoke if you are elected?
Housing prices have been rising for decades with no sign of stopping. Half a million for a home just isn’t affordable for most people just entering or leaving the economy.
When you add together the cost of rent, childcare and stagnant wages, moving from renter to owner seems out of reach. That’s if you are able to find a long term rental in the first place. As a younger person and a renter myself I have experienced the housing shortage first hand and this issue is close to my heart.
When elected MLA I will work with the other parties to address this by establishing a capital fund for the purposes of housing acquisitions to create affordable rentals as well as creating a Renter’s Housing Grant that will help low- to moderate-income households pay rent when it’s more than 30 per cent of their income. On the community level we can work with developers to ensure that any new developments have some low income housing or rental units.
What are your ideas and priorities when it comes to environmental management for the region?
We need to find a balance between supporting our economy and protecting our wild space. There are no jobs on a dead planet. We need to protect the biodiversity in our region, B.C. has the highest number of at risk and endangered species in Canada, and we have seen a decline in fish and wildlife species especially, with many populations reaching record lows. Legal protection of endangered and at risk species and their habitat needs to be prioritized. We have been destroying the essential habitat of our wildlife, cutting down old growth forests for decades at an unsustainable rate of 500 soccer fields per day. The BC NDP are continuing the legacy of the BC Liberals by allowing this to happen. Just a week before the election was called, the BC NDP began the process of auctioning off another 300 hectares of old growth forest which biologists call “high-quality summer and early-winter habitat” for one of the few herds of southern mountain caribou left in the Kootenays.
So what can we do, first implement an Endangered Species Act to protect vital habitat and end unsustainable logging practices. To enforce current and new regulations I want to expand police duties to overlap with the work being done by our conservation officers who are overworked and have to cover huge areas.
Under the 16 years of the BC Liberals we lost 40,000 jobs in the forestry sector,
So by ending oil and gas subsidies we can take that money and reinvesting in our local manufacturing can bring good paying long term jobs to our region.
What are your plans and priorities for COVID recovery?
People are worried about the health of their parents and the amount of money they have, to get through the next couple of months. As MLA, listening to the health-care professionals and implementing their policies is key. Having at home testing kits and a comprehensive mental health support system in place is vital. We need to ensure our paramedics are paid a fair wage and our healthcare system has the capacity necessary for our population.
The most important role I can play as MLA is to bring resources to our region. Interior health needs to be a priority for B.C. and we need an MLA who will fight for us living in the Kootenays. Thinking about the economy, the Green Party’s Just Transition Program for workers to move to guaranteed well paying jobs in the clean economy. This would include a $1-billion strategic investment fund to support business innovation, especially initiatives that would help B.C. shift to a zero carbon economy. What I would like to see for the Kootenays is investment in tech and innovation across all sectors. Not-for-profit organizations like the Columbia Valley maker-space in Invermere or the MIDAS Fab Lab in Trail are great examples and should be supported. Looking at sustainable agriculture and local manufacturing is essential to reduce Green House Gas emissions and prepare our region for the collapse of global supply chains.
How will you and your party be addressing child care needs?
I believe that we as a society need to value early child development and so does the Green Party. In our policy platform having accessible childcare for working parents with children under three is vital so that families can go back to work. We need more professional child care workers and we can offer development opportunities to increase qualifications of existing child care workers, and the training of more early childhood educators in certified programs. The future is our children so ensuring that they have the proper care is only done if we support those teaching them that’s why the BC Greens have a plan to offer $300 million funding for preschool for three and four year olds that is included in the education budget and the planned establishment of professional wages for early childhood educators.
What are your plans and priorities for seniors care and how will that include rural communities?
COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the state of seniors care in our province. Earlier this year, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate released their report, which documented concerning differences within contracted care in B.C. Despite receiving on average the same level of public funding, for-profit care homes failed to deliver over 207,000 direct care hours, while reporting 12 times the profits, compared to non-profits. Our seniors are not commodities that should be earning some investor a profit. We need to have proper regulations and begin moving towards non-profit government run facilities. As for here in the Kootenays it’s important that we have the resources and people to support our seniors. Most seniors don’t want to move into a seniors home, rather they want to spend their golden years at home with friends and family. For this reason I support a community based approach to care. We can have nurses and trained healthcare providers checking in every week and assisting with medications, we can offer education and learning resources to family members who are caring for seniors.
It’s important to me that my grandparents have access to the care they need. I, like seniors, want to have hospitals here in our riding that can handle more serious injuries and diseases.