BY BILL PHILLIPS
Prince George-Mackenzie New Democrats made it official Saturday.
Bobby Deepak is their candidate in the riding for the May 9 election. Deepak was acclaimed as the candidate before about 100 party faithful gathered for the meeting.
Deepak said the decision to run a second time came after meeting with local supporters and, finally, a conversation with his family.
“We had this discussion and decided that I can’t give up, I won’t give up until we get rid of this government under Christy Clark and we bring a government under John Horgan of the BC NDP,” he said. “We have to change the conditions that made life so much harder for people in the North and the people of British Columbia.”
Deepak laid plenty of criticism against Clark and the BC Liberals during his 25-minute speech.
“I do not like the hype, I do not like the lies that this government has been saying over the past 16 years,” he said.
Deepak said that while the Liberals will likely fight the election on jobs, he questions where those jobs are in the North.
“In our region we’ve had mill after mill close, chips are harder to get for pulp mills, we have a dire timber supply situation, we have a looming reduction in the allowable annual cut, yet this government is ramping up raw log exports and shipping our logs away,” he said.
He also hammered on Clark on the fact British Columbia doesn’t have a poverty reduction plan and the province has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country.
“I ask ‘who is Christy Clark working for?’ the answer is she isn’t working for you,” Deepak said. “… The economy doesn’t grow equally for everyone, and it favours the wealthy and the well-connected. Its working for Christy Clark and her friends while the rest of us are left with flat wages, rising cost of living and more of us living paycheque to paycheque.”
He said a BC NDP government eliminate, completely, Medical Services Premiums. The Liberals announced a 50 per cent cut in last week’s budget. Deepak said an NDP government will ban union and corporate donations.
“We want to take big money out of politics,” he said.
He said an NDP government will ensure more logs stay in communities to provide value-added jobs. The NDP will bring in a $10-a-day daycare program and increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, over four years and in consultation with small business.
“We will put an end to these unfair fee hikes the Liberals have been imposing on British Columbians,” he said. “Unlike Christy Clark, whose putting money in her pocket through her rich friends who donate $20,000 just to sit with her, we’ll be putting money in your pocket.”
Deepak will be running against incumbent Liberal MLA Mike Morris, who defeated Deepak in the 2013 election.