BY BILL PHILLIPS
About 60 people showed up Thursday for the opening of Prince George-Mackenzie NDP candidate Bobby Deepak’s campaign office.
Deepak was acclaimed as the NDP candidate earlier this month and is seeking to unseat Liberal incumbent Mike Morris.
“This election is about the middle class,” he said, at the office, which is located at Spruceland, next to M&M Meats and Subway. “It’s about those people for which life becomes more difficult every day. We have a poverty situation and we have a middle class who are living paycheque-to-paycheque. What we’re seeing from this government is the wealthy and the well-connected are getting ahead and everyone else is falling behind.”
He said 20 per cent of the population in B.C. own 75 per cent of the wealth, and that isn’t good, he said.
He said the NDP under leader John Horgan wants to build the middle class. One of the planks in that platform is a $10/day child care, which he said will create 69,000 jobs.
“It’s going to help families get ahead,” he said.
The NDP will also phase out MSP premiums, which the Liberals have already announced they will do. The NDP will increase the minimum wage over four years, after consulting with small business.
“You’re going to hear a lot about jobs and the economy from the Liberals,” he said. “What I’m saying is jobs for who? The way this government operates is that they’re betraying British Columbian workers.”
He points HD Mining at Tumbler Ridge which brought in temporary foreign workers to work at the mine, the Site C construction project, which draws some workers from Alberta, and LNG pipeline construction, which may also use temporary foreign workers.
Deepak was also critical the province’s increase in raw log exports.
“We have a timber supply issue, we have a looming reduction of the allowable annual cut, and we a situation where mills might be closing, yet this government is exporting our jobs with raw log exports,” he said.
Supporter Heather Sapergia talked about how she originally met Deepak when he was campaigning in the 2013 election.
“He stood out like a shining light,” she said. “He started to speak and I thought ‘this guy’s values are what I value … families, community, education, health care, forestry values. For us ordinary working people, this was the party for us.”
Unlike Liberal candidates Morris and Shirley Bond, who are sharing a campaign office, Deepak and Prince George-Valemount NDP candidate Natalie Fletcher will have separate campaign offices.
Fletcher will open her campaign office, just off Massey Drive and Ospika Avenue, on April 2.