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Green Party Candidate: Rick McGowan
by Rick

On May 14th there is a provincial election. I am a candidate for a political party in Burnaby. Every day I get emails asking about my position on various issues. Although it takes a lot of time, it is kind of fun to answer these questions that are posed by many different groups. Below are my responses to some questions asked by the Burnaby NewsLeader newspaper. It tells you a little about myself and what my party stands for.

Bio: Briefly, 75 words or less, tell us a little about you.

I spent the first 18 years of my life in the Okanagan. My brothers and I helped my parents run a small business. The outdoors was a big part of life. I skied, played softball, volleyball, hockey and soccer. I first moved to Burnaby in 1988 to attend SFU. I have a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences with a minor in Economics. I work as a public school teacher in New Westminster. I have a beautiful wife, Che Yin, and two daughters, Gabrielle and Sophie.

1. Why vote for you?

 The Green Party develops policy based on the principles of green politics. Those principles are sustainability, participatory democracy, respect for diversity, social justice, non-violence and, of course, ecological wisdom. I know that there are often good ideas, green ideas, brought forth by individuals from both main parties. Unfortunately, many of these good ideas never get legislated because special interests and partisanship are put ahead of the public interest and the needs of the constituency.  As a Green MLA, I have the independence and responsibility to put constituents' needs first. Greens will not be "whipped" into supporting or rejecting legislation that does not meet the litmus test of the green principles. I will work collaboratively with both parties to pass good legislation.

2. a)What are the big-picture issue/s that matter most to voters this election?

One issue that should be a concern for everyone is accountability. There is only one taxpayer. We deserve to know where every penny of our taxes is spent. There needs to be more cooperation between the various levels of government and a freer flow of information. We also need more accountability between elections. We trust our politicians to spend our money wisely, to ensure a just society and to protect our environment, but in addition to trust we need accountability.

b) What will you/your party do to address them?

Greens will ask the tough questions of our politicians. We will work cooperatively with both sides of the legislature to bring forth good legislation. We will present green solutions to the issues we face.

3. a) What are the local issue/s that matter most to voters this election?

Issues vary from individual to individual and neighbourhood to neighbourhood. I don't want to tell the voters what the issues are. I want them to tell me. Still, there are some themes that come up again and again. Affordability, whether it be housing, taxation, food or transportation, gets mentioned all the time. Another theme is helplessness. People don't feel heard.  People have legitimate concerns, but when they don't see their concerns addressed, they understandably get frustrated.

b) What will you/your party do to address them?

I will spend more time listening to my constituents and spend less time defending inadequate legislation and less time grandstanding and fundraising for my party.

4. We always hear candidates say they'd be a 'strong voice' for their constituents in Victoria, but how would you ensure you understand the issues that matter, locally, for your constituents, and how would you advocate those?

 I will ensure I understand my constituents' issues by being present in the community more often and meeting with people directly. I will work to strengthen the local economy, and that requires being here.
In the past, when I tried to speak to my MLA in his or her office , they were absent or in meetings. Their political staff were an obstruction to meeting the MLA rather than a conduit. If they were part of government, my MLA consistently would tow the party line, and  I would feel unheard.
I will look at each issue through a Green lens, consult with stakeholders and develop a rational and balanced solution. I once saw a poster in a classroom that said, "Doing what is popular isn't always right, and doing what is right isn't always popular." I want to do what is right.

Rick McGowan, Green Party Candidate, Burnaby-Deer Lake


(May 12, 2013)

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