Bill Masse, Green Party
Bill Masse is a retiree and volunteer in Langley
I am retired after a 30 year career as an economist at Department of Fisheries and Oceans. My wife Kathy and I have lived in Langley for 22 years. I was BC Green Policy Chair from 2014 to 2017. I stepped down from that role to organize a strong Green team on the ground in Langley. In retirement, I’ve been active in the community. I’m a past member and Vice-President of the Langley Community Chorus, I’m currently vice-President of the Langley Performing Arts Society, a director of the Triple A Senior Housing Society and I’m involved with the Langley Field Naturalists and the Climate Crisis Langley Action Partners. Kathy and I have 10 grandchildren, the joy of our lives.
To help voters make their choices on election day, the Langley Advance Times is asking local candidates a series of questions on issues of importance, asking each candidate to participate.
They were asked to a ‘yes’, a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y,N,D) response to EACH of the numbered questions for the grid published in the Oct. 15 edition of The News. Candidates were also invited to expand on ANY OR ALL of the questions (to a maximum of 200 words each), with one of their choice to be included in our print edition on Oct. 22. Here’s all their replies.
1. Would you vote to fund additional supportive housing units in Langley to reduce homelessness?
2. Is lowering taxes the best route to economic recovery from the Covid – 19 recession?
Answer: No – We have to spend what we need to get through the pandemic. We cannot afford to reduce revenues because we will need to balance the books again when we are through this. Many of the supports we have found necessary during the pandemic likely have to continue into the future – extra funding to long term care - for instance. The Liberal proposal to eliminate the PST is definitely the wrong way to go. This broad based cut will benefit many people and businesses that don’t need it. And the people that need it would not get enough. We need focused support to the people and business sectors that are hurting the most from Covid-19.
3. Should the Province provide B.C. residents with a universal basic income?
Answer: Yes – When Covid-19 struck, government at both the provincial and federal levels scrambled to support people who were impacted. They rolled out program after program and somebody would say “but what about this groups or that group.” Then more programs would roll out. So policy makers started giving serious thought to having one universal program that protects people any time they run into misfortune. This could be seen as a human rights issue. Most nations recognized early on, that everybody should have equal opportunity so public education became accepted as a given. Then we in Canada and most other countries recognized that everybody is entitled to basic health care. Maybe it’s time to think that everybody is entitled to basic needs like food on the table and a roof overhead. The only qualification I would have is that the question above refers to the province. But I think this would have to be a national program with provincial buy-in.
4. Should the B.C. Government restrict large, industrial cannabis greenhouses from operating in the ALR?
5. Should the B.C. Government speed up the widening of Highway One into the eastern Fraser valley?
Answer: Yes – But I’m very conflicted about this question. I know we cannot solve our problems by simply adding more lanes to the freeway. This approach has failed all over North America. We need alternatives. But the current plan is to add an HOV lane which will facilitate the bus service between Carvolth, Abbotsford and Chilliwack. This is a very popular service and probably moves more people than a lane on the freeway. Longer term, there is a task force that has been formed to study transportation options for the valley.
6. Should cities and School Districts be allowed to go into debt during the pandemic?
Answer: No – The Federal and Provincial governments should be supporting cities and school districts through this crisis. Cities and school boards have no ability to pay down debt without cutting services once things get back to normal.
7. Should the Province stop enforcing drug possession to help fight the overdose epidemic?
8. Should the Province divert funding away from policing and towards social and mental health services?
Answer: No – Communities need to decide the levels of funding required for people to feel secure. The Province is responsible for providing adequate mental health and addictions treatment. The province is also responsible for bringing people out of poverty and for combatting racism and other factors that marginalize people. If the province does its job, communities would be able to cut back on policing and divert funds to other community goals.
9. In the era of Black Lives Matter, should B.C. increase penalties for hate speech?
Answer: Yes - Penalties for hate speech should be increased but the province has no power to do this. Criminal law is a federal matter.
10. Would you support more schools moving to a year round education model?
Answer: Don’t know
OTHER LOCAL CANDIDATE Q&As:
Langley East Riding: