Provincial NDP candidates speak at Grand Forks forum

Provincial NDP candidates were in Grand Forks to take questions from locals on their positions on various topics on Saturday night at the Grand Forks Wildlife Hall.

Provincial NDP candidates Marji Basso (left) and Rhonda Bruce (right) discuss their different perspectives at the all-candidates forum

Provincial NDP candidates were in Grand Forks to take questions from locals on their positions on various topics on Saturday night at the Grand Forks Wildlife Hall.

Both Marji Basso and Rhonda Bruce are running in the same party and they had different ways of looking at similar situations.

Both are against the HST and see the upcoming vote as a first step to taking power away from the provincial Liberals.

Basso said that things like changing the HST to 10 per cent would not be measured until the future.

“We’re not guaranteed that it will stay at 10 per cent and we have other provinces in the east that have tried this out, it hasn’t boosted their economy and in fact, they have the highest unemployment rate,” she said.

“Why would we put something in that’s not currently working?”

Bruce said it’s evident by the way the question is asked that the B.C. Liberals are trying to confuse people.

“To me if they put a confusing question in, they don’t even believe it themselves,” Bruce said.

“They’ve spent a lot of money just to tell us to vote no.”

When asked how they would help people with disabilities and those living on monthly allowances that aren’t providing enough to live on, Bruce said she would focus on bringing up living wages.

Basso said one of the reasons that it’s difficult to get changes, is there is no real liaison for the community to talk directly to the government, which she would gladly do.

In terms of placement in government, Basso said she would be happy anywhere, while Bruce said health care would be her specialty.

Basso and Bruce are both from Oliver and both have been to Grand Forks before.

Basso has a history in education and so  focused on family impacts. She also is currently on the Oliver municipal council.

“I really wanted to make some kind of family impact in our community, so I started getting involved on various community levels,” Basso said.

She worked on communities for kids, the Parks and Rec Commission and other organizations that were supporting families. She said she found that there were a lot of roadblocks slowing down the progress of these committees and so that’s when she decided to get involved with municipal council.

Bruce has a history in health care. She is a labour leader for the Hospital Employees Union. She is also involved with the young workers committee. Bruce said that after her kids left home, she needed    something to do.

“I got involved with the Hospital Employees Union, I’m a rehabilitation assistant, I work at a seniors’ care facility in Oliver,” Bruce said.

“I’ve worked in health care for over 18 years.”

The vote for the Boundary Similkameen NDP candidate will be going out to NDP members starting in August and ballots have to be returned by Aug. 20.