Rustad (Submitted/Houston Today)

Helping individuals — a big lesson in politics, says Rustad

Fifth provincial election for the incumbent BC Liberal MLA

Incumbent BC Liberal MLA John Rustad believes there is a big difference this time from the 2017 election and insists that in terms of priorities, his job is to ensure he can help people, and to build confidence in the province and get the economy going.

“B.C. was the strongest economy in Canada, and we had the lowest unemployment rate, we had a good surplus, our budget was strong, it was a very very different time than where we are today. Today the economy is struggling, our unemployment rate is middle of the pack or worst. The province’s books are in trouble and more so, we have this pandemic that we are dealing with and there is a lot of fall out from this. So the world is completely different from 2017.”

Understanding the difficulties of building and sustaining the economy comes from his experience owning Western Geographic Information Systems Inc., his consulting firm.

“Starting and running my own company gave me a really good understanding of just how hard it is to create a work climate where you could keep people working. I refer to it this way, it’s signing the front side of the pay cheque, and that responsibility is really quite something and so when I was running my company, I always kept that in mind. You know, it is not just about the company being successful but also people’s livelihoods that you are now responsible for. The decisions you make impact other people directly,” said Rustad.

Another defining moment Rustad shared was of a grandmother who visited his office, wanting to adopt her grandson, but frustrated and in tears because of the delays by the bureaucracy. Rustad and his team were able to eventually help the grandmother adopt her grandson.

“That’s the most important thing for me that I have learned in my time in politics; the ability to help an individual. It is something to be proud about—that you have actually been able to help somebody and made some difference. And there have been countless stories like that, that my office has been able to help individuals and that’s something I am very proud of,” said Rustad.

When it comes to finding a highlight in his life so far, for Rustad, it has been to meet his wife, get married and to be able to live “where we live in the peace and tranquility of rural BC. All of that for me is a highlight.” And Rustad tries to make the most of his time amidst the outdoors of B.C. His love for golfing, hunting, fishing and kayaking and his love for outdoors particularly in fall, is what he enjoys most beyond politics.

“We used to do a lot of field work and I remember when I was doing the field work in fall, that was always the best. The forest kind of going to sleep for the winter, the crisp mornings,” he added.

The fondness towards the riding is however more than the beauty of the region or the weather, for Rustad.

“The one thing about Nechako Lakes that always makes me really proud of the riding is the people, anybody who moves here, I tell them, the people living in the riding are always willing to help. They are small communities, they are straightforward and people like to pull together and help one another. That’s a big difference between here and urban areas,” said Rustad.

Rustad also said that these communities and people, especially the forest sector which has gone through several crisis in the past years, is leaving the riding vulnerable.

”I care about the people and communities in my riding, particularly the forest sector. We need to be able to support families and community. We are in an unprecedented time with the pandemic and the economic crisis that has come up from it, and with my background and experience, I think I can help our riding and the province.”

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snowfall warning issued for Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and surrounding communities.
Snowfall warning issued for B.C.’s Interior

Between 10 - 15 cms of snow expected in the Prince George, Stuart - Nechako region

Fort St. James Secondary School announced a confirmed incident of COVID-19 exposure at the school. (Black Press file photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Fort St. James Secondary School

Northern Health will be following up directly with anyone who is identified as a close contact

RDBN board meeting. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Thiessen and Parker re-elected to RDBN board

The board voted unanimously on Nov. 19

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read