‘NDP Idol’ contest aims for youth vote

NDP leadership candidates (from left) Dana Larsen

About 400 NDP supporters packed a Victoria high school gym Thursday night to hear pitches from the five candidates for the party leadership.

There were few major policy differences in the latest of a series of debates that Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons referred to as “NDP Idol.” The theme of the Victoria stop was youth, and most contenders offered help for post-secondary students with grants and low-interest or interest-free loans.

Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth said the government can create job opportunities for young people by emphasizing apprenticeships for government construction contracts, instead of going to low bidders who may be from outside B.C. Young people can be hired to plant trees, restore stream habitat and clear brush that is a fire hazard around many B.C. communities, he said.

Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix advocated “environmental youth teams” to do similar work. Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan cited a T’Sou-ke Nation employment program where young people learned new skills by installing solar panels on the Vancouver Island band’s buildings as well as upgrading park trails and planting trees.

Dix also advocated union membership for part-time workers so they have a way to enforce labour code regulations such as two-hour call-out pay for work on short notice. The B.C. government has only one employment standards officer west of Kelowna, based in Nelson, and enforcement is inadequate, he said.

Simons referred to his experience as a child protection social worker, and stressed the need for places for young people to go if they can’t stay at home. Youth need options to work out conflicts that don’t trigger a full investigation of their families, he said.

Marijuana activist Dana Larsen, the only non-MLA running for the NDP leadership, called for more spending on social housing and education, financed in part by a new tax bracket for people making $250,000 a year or more.

“We can build homes and schools now, or we can build prisons later,” Larsen said.

 

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

Omineca Medical Clinic donates $500 to Community Foundation

The funds were raised through the Jeans Day campaign

Editorial: Go out and play

How much is too much screen time?

CIBC to close its branch in Fraser Lake next year

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is closing its Fraser Lake… Continue reading

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Most Read