Preet Rai, NDP
Chartered accountant, age 57
I have been on the Abbotsford school board since 2008.
I feel I have made a positive difference in my community. I am ready to take it to the next level and begin to make impacts at the provincial level. I am a chartered accountant from India.
I came to Canada from the U.K. in 1995, where I worked for the Scottish government. I have been working for the government of British Columbia since 1997.
I have been very involved in my community. I was part of the Canuck Place campaign executive committee for the fundraising of the new Canuck Place Hospice that was built in Abbotsford. I have been a director on the Reach board, Literacy Matters board, as well as other.
To help voters make their choices on election day, the Aldergrove Star is asking local candidates a series of questions on issues of importance, inviting 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 Star.
Candidates were also invited to expand on ANY OR ALL of the questions (to a maximum of 250 words each), with one of their choice to be included in our print edition on Oct. 22. Here’s all their replies.
1. Should the province provide B.C. residents with a universal basic income?
We must ensure that our economy is built in a way that works for all British Columbians. The BC Liberals allowed the wealthiest to take tax breaks and made everyone else pay for it by doubling MSP, adding bridge tolls, increasing ICBC payments by 36%. During the NDP time in government, we have eliminated MSP and bridge tolls. We will continue to work for all British Columbians, by freezing rent, introducing children benefits that will give up to $2600 every year for all families with two children.
2. Should the B.C. government allow more retail cannabis outlets?
The NDP government has a plan for retail cannabis outlets. However, the municipal government must give their input and be fully in support of it, before it can go ahead.
3. In the era of Black Lives Matter, should B.C. increase the penalties for hate speech?
Racism is deplorable. British Columbians must do all that they can to rid racism. The BC Liberals removed the Human Rights Commission, which the BC NDP has worked hard to bring back. We will continue to move forward to eradicate racism. We will fully review the BC Multiculturism Act, which is 25 years old.
4. Should the B.C. government speed up the widening of Highway One into the Eastern Fraser Valley?
We support the widening of Highway One which will be completed by 2026. It will allow British Columbians to get to work and recreation in a timely manner. The BC Liberals have refused to build infrastructure that is drastically needed in the Fraser Valley.
5. Should the planned SkyTrain extension through Langley be extended to Abbotsford in the near future?
We fully support bringing the SkyTrain to Langley and will continue to develop more options for transit into the Fraser Valley. The BC Liberals have not supported this initiative in the past, while the BC NDP have invested more in transit and has been able to increase busses throughout the province.
6. Should the provincial government put the fight against climate change above the economy?
The climate change is very important in today’s world. We have invested over $100 million to encourage industries to become more environmentally conscious, there by making more job opportunities for all British Columbians.
7. Is lowering taxes the best route to economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession?
People are the root of British Columbia’s economy. We need to help all British Columbians to succeed in order to successfully recover from COVID-19. We will continue to support people and small businesses, while the BC Liberals want to give a major tax break to the wealthiest of the people of BC. Thereby leaving the rest of British Columbians to pay for it. The BC NDP will provide families with $1000 and individuals with $500 to help with COVID-19 recovery.
8. Should the B.C. government restrict large, industrial cannabis greenhouses from operating in the ALR?
Communities can ban the growing cannabis, “unless it is grown in ways that preserve the productive capacity of agricultural land.” But cement-based, industrial style cannabis production bunkers can be blocked. This regulation was updated by the BC NDP. We must do all that we can to protect the ALR.
9. Should the province divert funding away from policing and towards social and mental health services?
One cannot happen without the other. Money laundering, which is fueling the opioid crisis, needs to be curved. Police has an important role of cracking down on serious crimes and enforcing safer neighborhoods. People need social and mental health services to be able to be productive British Columbians. This will be accomplished by the BC NDP focusing on training more front-line workers to help those in need.
10. Would you support more public schools moving to a year-round education model?
For our children to have the skills that they need, we must give them a strong foundation to grow to their full potential. The NDP are working on hiring 4,200 teachers throughout the province, $2 billion over three years to build new schools, allowing for expansions and desperately needed seismic upgrades.
The BC Liberals went to court to fight for larger classroom sizes. Also, they did not build new schools in communities with increasing population.