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Please Vote

Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov

BC has an election this Saturday. It is a snap provincial election, and many newcomers to Kamloops might not know how to vote as it will be their first elections. This post can help newcomers to exercise the highest privilege Canadian citizen has, the right to vote. First, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older when they register to vote, or 18 years or older on general voting day
  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Have been a resident of B. C. for at least six months before they register to vote
  • Have either lived or owned property in the jurisdiction in which they intend to vote for at least 30 days before they register to vote
  • Not be disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment, or by law from voting in a local election

Next, make sure on October 24th you will vote in one of the locations around you. Find the location here: https://wheretovote.elections.bc.ca/

To register on voting day, eligible resident electors are required to show two pieces of identification, the identification must prove who they are and where they live — including the person’s name and residential address. If neither piece of identification shows the elector’s residential address, they may make a solemn declaration as to their place of residence.

Kamloops has two electoral districts (North and South). I have contacted all candidates from two districts (8) and asked them the same three questions.

I started all my messages the same:

“Thank you for being part of the BC elections. My name is Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov, and I have recently moved to Kamloops and looking forward to my first voting experience in BC. I recently attended the social debate organized by TRU social work and human service students and was encouraged to contact you via social media. I hope to write a short article and to share with newcomers to Kamloops and my Facebook and wider social media community on Friday about Kamloops candidates and their responses to three questions”

Only one candidate responded to the Facebook message, and I have included Thomas’s answers at the bottom of this post. I want to say thank you to Thomas for taking the time and answering the questions as it helped me to make a personal connection with one of the candidates that I value a lot as I want all candidates to be responsive and represent all the constituents. I also translated Thomas’s answers into Ukrainian so Mama can also make an informed decision.

If you do not know yet whom you will vote for, take your time and research each candidate’s Facebook profile, read Thomas’s response to questions I asked all candidates and vote. Each vote counts!

Some Additional Helpful Links:

Social Issues Debate from Kamloops This Week.

CFJC’s Election 2020 Kamloops-North Thompson Candidates Debate (video link)

CFJC’s Election 2020 Kamloops-South Thompson Candidates Debate (video link)

Thomas’s responses to my questions:

What is your (your party) position on providing adequate supports to long-term care residents? What do you plan to implement during the next four years?  Will you support legislation changes to ensure that there will be a dedicated social worker position in every long term care in BC to advocate for every long-term care resident. More information on the critical role social workers play in long term care in Ontario can be found here: https://krasun.ca/2020/10/06/in-the-eye-of-the-storm-pandemic-social-work-during-covid-19-in-long-term-care-ontario/

The BC Green Party’s position is that seniors are not a commodity that should be earning some investor a profit—they are our parents, our grandparents. It’s time we shifted our tax dollars away from for-profit long-term care in BC, and instead build a high quality and accessible system of senior’s care in this province.

Over the next four years we want to:

·       Shift away from a for-profit model to a mix of public, non-profit, and community-based care

·       Ensure that caregivers are a recognised profession with the salary they deserve

·       Ensure that public funding is only being used to support direct care they deserve

I would support any legislation that supports health and care outcomes for seniors.

What is your (your party) position on creating adequate programming to integrate newcomers to Kamloops (any city in BC) and adapt successfully in their new communities? What steps do you plan to take to ensure newcomers’ needs are met? How will you share the critical information to newcomers about access to the services? In Kamloops, there is a guide to newcomers (https://krasun.ca/2020/07/04/welcome-to-kamloops-e-book/ ) that will be updated annually. How will you ensure that similar resources are available in other cities in BC?

I found moving to a new town within BC incredibly difficult – I can’t fathom how difficult it is to move to a new country.

One thing is found incredibly useful is living in a vibrant neighbourhood including walkable communities, adequate amenities including community centres and park, and flourishing small businesses. Of course, this is a long-term goal of the BC Greens that will take more than four years to achieve.

I believe the official forecast for Kamloops is another 30,000 residents by 2039 – so if we want our community to thrive we have to start seriously thinking about making these newcomers welcome in our town.

This could be viewed as a municipal responsibility and there is a long history in BC of the province downloading costs and responsibilities onto municipalities. I want to reverse that trend. Our platform calls for rethinking municipal finances, reforming property taxes, increasing funding for community health centres, increasing funding for basic municipal infrastructure, and increasing funding for walking and biking infrastructure. These sounds like boring administrative policies (they’re not boring to me!), but it would really help towns and cities to focus on becoming the place they want to be rather than struggling to pay for basic services.

One thing that was brought to my attention this campaign was a proposal championed by the North Shore Business Improvement Association. The content was strong, but what really struck me was a local group saw an issue in their community and developed a plan to address it. I think that’s where the role of local MLA’s come in; to be the champion of this local ideas and fight for their implementation at the provincial level.

Social workers are essential service providers to support the needs of vulnerable populations. How you (your party) plan to support the promotion of the social work profession in BC? Are you planning to support legislative changes to ensure that the professional social workers serve vulnerable groups in MCFD, and children and families receive adequate services from professionally educated social workers? More information about the necessary change in the legislation can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/bc-ministry-of-children-family-development-strengthen-professional-social-work-in-british-columbia

              Probably the best way to describe our support for social work as a profession is to describe our view of social services in BC. To quote directly from our platform:

              “We entrench people in poverty with programs we have right now, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The purpose of our social safety net should be to help people get out of poverty”

              For example, there was a question about the CAR 40 in the recent forum put on by TRU’s social work faculty. Yes, the CAR 40 program is good. Yes, expanding it would help. However, we need to go much, much further.

              I don’t think I have the time or the expertise to answer in detail all the changes that are required to our current system. I would encourage you to read our platform in full and especially the sections “Income Security”, “Public Education”, “Housing Affordability”, “Equity and Inclusion”, and “Indigenous Reconciliation”. 

Thomas Martin (he/him)
BC Greens’ Candidate for Kamloops-North Thompson
BC Greens. Sign up to learn more
Ph 250 319 5996

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

The main office of the BC Green Party is located on the territory of the Lekwungen-speaking people. I work on the territory of the Secwepemc

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