One more contender is joining the provincial race to represent the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding.
Michael Cambridge, a Squamish resident, is the BC Libertarian Party candidate. The Squamish Chief asked why he wants to run and about his party platform and areas of concern for the district.
The following is an edited version of that email correspondence.
Q: With little time left, we learned that you registered to run on April 18. What prompted your decision?
A: Clayton Welwood, leader of the BC Libertarians, reached out to ask if I would be interested. I had never really considered it, but the libertarian message was really exciting and eye-opening to me when I first learned about it, so any opportunity to get people asking questions or looking into the ideology is great.
Q: Can you explain what you – as a member of the BC Libertarian Party – stand for in regards to government?
A: Essentially, we believe that no individual or group has a right to initiate force on another individual, that we own the fruits of our labour and that we are personally responsible for our actions. All are pretty easy to agree with on the surface, but the implications can lead to some challenging conclusions, for sure. I believe we are the only party with strong, consistent foundational principles that we can really base any decision on.
Q: You are a Squamish resident so you are aware of the size of this riding and needs specific to the district. What issues do you think are most important to tackle in Squamish?
A: We (myself, my wife, two kids and Oliver our dog) have lived in Squamish for three years. It is an amazing community that is so beautiful and a great place to raise our family. I think the biggest issues in Squamish right now are housing affordability and a lack of local jobs.
Q: How would you deal with affordability in Squamish?
A: Removing artificial barriers, eliminate the obstacles to finding and/or renting a home and allow supply to meet demand. Government puts up artificial barriers in the name of sustainable growth and safety, but ultimately this leads to a lack of affordable homes for residents. Allowing development without the burden of achieving a certain population milestone would be a step in the right direction.
I don’t think Squamish will ever be a cheap place to live, to be honest. We have mountains, the ocean, we’re close to Whistler and Vancouver, with amazing recreation, and that does come at a cost. Unlike the BC Liberals, who want to spend billions on interest-free loans which place a burden on taxpayers while inflating home prices, our party would like to bring new housing stock to the market. Over 80 per cent of the land in Vancouver is zoned for single-family residential only. We would work with municipalities to reduce development costs, streamline building permit processes and simplify and accelerate rezoning.
Q: What is your position on education?
A: Parents have a right to choose where their kids go to school and how they are educated. I know that there isn’t one method of schooling that will work for every child. We have a platform that aims to empower parents to choose what they feel is right for their children. According to the BC Libertarian party platform, “the problem with the current system is that responsibility for how schools are run flows the wrong way – up to administrators, bureaucrats and union leaders instead of down to students and parents.”
Instead of funds going to each school district, every family with children would receive a voucher to spend at the public, independent or home-learning school of their choice.
We would maintain provincial standards for core subjects such as math and English, but provide greater autonomy and flexibility for schools to meet the diverse learning needs of children.
Q: Where do you stand on the LNG issue? How would you tackle environmental concerns?
A: I don’t think government should have a place in subsidizing and supporting business and industry, period. Especially if it is an industry that is not profitable. The idea that tax dollars should be taken from us and given to big business just doesn’t make sense.
Q: Now for transportation. Do you support regional transit? If so, how would that work for Squamish and where would the cost be?
A: I think we need to eliminate government monopoly on public transportation. Allowing individuals to use apps like Uber and Lyft would be a step in the right direction. We should make it easier for private companies and individuals to compete in this area. Our party believes competition leads to efficiency and lower prices for consumers.
I would allow private alternatives to ICBC, BC Hydro, TransLink, BC Ferries, WorkSafeBC, BCLC and BC Liquor and show no favouritism for these former government monopolies. I would trim regulations in transportation, accommodation and other sectors to allow for the sharing economy to flourish. I would allow our grocery stores to buy dairy and poultry products from any qualified producers and end the supply management that results in consumers being overcharged for these products.
The provincial election is set for May 9.