Mary Polak, Langley Liberal candidate. (Photography by John Lehmann/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Mary Polak, Langley Liberal candidate. (Photography by John Lehmann/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Candidate Q&A: Mary Polak

Mary Polak is the Liberal candidate in the Langley riding

Mary Polak, Liberal

Polak has been MLA for Langley riding for 15 years and is 52

BIO:

Mary was first elected as the MLA for Langley in 2005. She has held many Ministerial portfolios including Environment, Transportation and Health.

Locally, Mary has delivered significant Provincial investments to Langley such as the New LMH Emergency Department, New Langley Hospice Building, Langley Lodge expansion, Langley Youth Hub, Gateway of Hope & Rapid Bus at Carvolth.

In 2016, Mary organized a well attended Townhall resulting in the establishment of an Intensive Case Management Team to work with individuals struggling with homelessness, mental health and addiction.

Mary grew up in Cloverdale and attended Langley Community Music School. She lives with her daughter (and some felines) in Langley City and can regularly be found on outings around Langley with her 91-year-old father.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryforbc

Twitter: @MaryforBC

Website: www.bclib.ca/MaryPolak

Phone: 236-996-9040

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CANDIDATE Q&A:

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.

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1. Would you vote to fund additional supportive housing units in Langley to reduce homelessness?

Answer: YES. I am proud to have been a part of the development of the Gateway of Hope and Creek Stone from the beginning as well as bringing to Langley an Intensive Case Management Team that works with individuals at the street level. But these facilities need to be able to provide the necessary supports. Housing First should not mean Housing Only. The NDP have not provided the level of on-site support needed to ensure residents of surrounding neighbourhoods feel safe. We will ensure the wrap-around supports that provide a pathway to recovery – not just warehousing of those struggling with mental health and addiction.

2. Is lowering taxes the best route to economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession?

Anwser: YES. Tax reductions like the elimination of PST for one year and a reduction to 3% the following year will have a wide impact. Not only will households see an immediate reduction in their everyday cost of living, small businesses will see a reduction in many overhead costs. Of course, tax reductions must be part of a comprehensive economic recovery plan. Just as Dr. Henry laid out a specific plan to fight the Caronavirus, the BC Liberals will lay out a specific plan to get our economy back on track.

3. Should the province provide B.C. residents with a universal basic income?

Anwser: NO. Our social safety net works best when targeted to address specific needs. A great example of this is the Single Parent Employment Initiative. This program, created by the BC Liberals, provided tuition fees, childcare, transportation and other supports to help single parents on social assistance get back into the workforce. As a result, thousands of individuals along with their families are now on a path to independence.

4. Should the B.C. government restrict large, industrial cannabis greenhouses from operating in the ALR?

Anwser: YES. Issues such as light pollution and odour should be the subject of rigorous enforcement. The Province needs to forcefully urge the Federal Government to enforce their regulations.

5. Should the B.C. government speed up the widening of Highway One into the eastern Fraser Valley?

Anwser: YES. This project was a priority for the BC Liberals when we were in government and it needs to be made a priority once again. The NDP have a long history of promising things for the valley (e.g. Abbotsford Hospital) that never came to pass while they were in government.

6. Should cities and school districts be allowed to go into debt during the pandemic?

Anwser: NO. School Districts: The Province should cover any increase in costs as a result of COVID-19. Any Enrolment drop as a result of COVID-19 should not result in a loss of funding.

Cities/Municipalities: The Province & the Federal Governments should offset additional costs/revenue shortfalls

7. Should the province stop prosecuting drug possession to help fight the overdose epidemic?

Anwser: NO. Those struggling with addiction should be treated not prosecuted.

Large scale possession for the purpose of trafficking should be fully prosecuted.

Treat the root causes and reduce the harm.

8. Should the province divert funding away from policing and towards social and mental health services?

Anwser: NO. Instead, additional funding supports for social and mental health services should be provided and integrated into local policing. The BC Liberal party has committed to investing in integrated police & mental health teams. Existing Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Teams will also be expanded.

9. In the era of Black Lives Matter, should B.C. increase the penalties for hate speech?

Answer: YES. The disturbing rise in hateful, racist rhetoric and actions needs to be addressed by instituting more meaningful penalties.

10. Would you support more public schools moving to a year-round education model?

Anwser: YES. The BC Liberals have always supported choice within our public education system. Year-round schooling is an option that should be available based on the needs/wishes of the individual school district, school and community.

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OTHER LOCAL CANDIDATE Q&As:

Langley Riding:

Candidate Q&A: Andrew Mercier

Candidate Q&A: Bill Masse

Candidate Q&A: Shelly Jan

Langley East Riding:

Candidate Q&A: Megan Dykeman

Candidate Q&A: Alex Joehl

Candidate Q&A: Margaret Kunst, BC Liberals

Candidate Q&A: Tara Reeve

Candidate Q&A: Ryan Warawa

Candidate Q&A: Cheryl Wiens

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