Stephen Hill, the Conservative candidate for the Southern Interior, was at the Midway mill ribbon cutting on Saturday and took some time to go over a few issues that he feels are important to the area.
Hill says that in the Boundary, it’s important to bring jobs back to an area that has been “devastated” by job losses over the last few years.
“You start removing jobs and families, well then you start seeing the erosion of your schools, you start to see the erosion of your health care, you lose your pharmacist, you lose your doctor, you lose your hardware store, you lose your insurance office. Pretty soon you don’t have a community left at the end of the day,” Hill says.
“So I think this is pretty significant, I think this is the number one issue in the Boundary absolutely.”
Hill says issues like this are what concerns locals and questioned why NDP candidate Alex Atamanenko had not asked the question of what an MP could do for a city like Midway.
“I’m a business owner, I drove by and it made me sick to my stomach every time I drove by because I could just see the opportunity sitting here,” he said.
“I knocked on three doors and asked, ‘What can I do for you?’ ‘Re-open the mill,’ OK, so I re-opened the mill and here we are today.”
Hill says that the riding has the highest unemployment in British Columbia.
“We’re not second last, we’re dead last; there’s a reason for that, and the reason is we’ve been lacking leadership and it’s now time that we showed leadership,” Hill adds.
“We’re showing that leadership right here in the Boundary.”
Hill says he has drafted an economic development plan for the Southern Interior.
“I should be working on that as opposed of campaigning,” he says.
“Unfortunately, we have an election; I had to drop that.”
Hill says that plan includes bringing more jobs to the region.
“We’re going to look at opening up the dolomite mine in Rock Creek, the protection of the railway station in Grand Forks, we’re going to develop community Venture Capital pools in Trail, Castlegar,
Nelson and bring them over to Oliver, Osoyoos and Grand Forks,” he says.
“I think we can make this work in all of our communities.” Hill adds that he looks forward to working with everyone in the riding.