Kyle Routledge is the Green Party candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby, hoping to represent us all on a federal level, and he answered my questions to the Member of Parliament candidates.
Obviously this is all satire so if you’re a complete asshole and use any of these answers in some kind of stupid candidate shaming activity I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
The City of New Westminster used to be represented federally by two Members of Parliament (Peter Julian for Burnaby-New Westminster and Fin Donnelly for New Westminster-Coquitlam). Now that New West is only going to have one MP, what will you do to ensure your voice is at least twice as loud as everybody else?
Kyle Routledge: As your MP for all of New West, I would assure you that the articulation of my apparently unusual verbosity will be matched, unequivocally, by the candor I will demonstrate while embarking on the opportunity to best offer my provisions to a constituency that has deemed my inherent principles, and deeply rooted ethics, worthy of their unwavering support.
Or, I will be a loud voice for all residents of New Westminster (and Burnaby) regardless of party policy. The Green Party is a party that has no whipped vote. Green MPs are expected to always vote for the best interest of the communities that elect them, regardless of what the party feels is best. If elected, I will always put the concerns of the citizen ahead of the policy of the party.
As everybody in New Westminster knows, we have an abundance of Save-On-Foods grocery stores, a situation created by the Competition Bureau. As the Competition Bureau is a federal intitution, what will you do as New Westminster’s federal representative to eliminate all non-Save-On-Foods stores in New West?
Kyle Routledge: Save-On-Foods is a true icon of British Columbia. Founded in 1915, the Overwaitea Food Group, which became “SaveOn,” has been serving BCers for 100 years. While the “dream” to have Save-On-Foods enjoy a complete monopoly on our local grocery stores may be alive, I believe the goal of the Competition Bureau is to actually enforce the opposite.
Taken from their website:
“The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.”
“The basic operating assumption of the Competition Bureau is that competition is good for both business and consumers.”
Based on this stunning information that a quick Google search produced, I would have to, unfortunately to you and your loyal readers, see to it that everything that can be done by this organization to ensure that fair and healthy competition is thriving in New West (and Burnaby) is being done.
Over the past few years we have seen two high-profile protests related to federal projects on New Westminster’s borders: the expansion of Fraser Surrey Docks to ship coal and the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Neither of these projects actually happen in New Westminster, which leads me to my question: which controversial federal project will you bring to New Westminster so we can have our own home-grown protests?
Kyle Routledge: To simply champion one controversial project is a tough task. I imagine most projects I champion for will be met with some level of resistance from various groups or individuals. But isn’t that one of the beautiful things about living in a open and free democracy? To able to have healthy disagreements, to stand up (respectfully) for what we believe in? But if I had to select one right now, I would look into what we need in regards to improvements to the New Westminster Rail Bridge. Whether through maintenance and rehabilitation or through replacement with either another bridge or a tunnel, this is a critical piece of infrastructure that will largely determine how much economic growth we can experience in the area. As an MP, I would work with local municipal and provincial governments to determine what the best course of action would be to improve rail transportation in New Westminster. Surely this would garner some protests.
As an aside, I am absolutely opposed to both of the projects you mentioned (TransMountain and thermal coal exports a Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD)). I am the only candidate who will go on the record and say I am opposed to these projects. A little info about the Green Party. As I mentioned in my response to Question 1, the Green Party does not have a whipped vote. Green MPs are free to vote for what their constituency wants. I have yet to meet a single person in New West (or Burnaby) who is in favour of the export of the thermal coal at FSD. Yet other candidates say we need to do a better job on the “Environmental Assessment” aspect of these projects before they can say if they are in favour or in opposition. I work as a wildlife biologist, and I do Environmental Assessments for a living. I can absolutely assure you that no matter what is done to improve the process, 2 facts will not change:
- Burning thermal coal is hands down, the biggest contributor of Green House Gasses (GHGs) of all the fossil fuels. No Environmental Assessment, no matter how thorough or robust, will change this. Burning thermal coal is bad for the globe, and we should not support it in any way.
- Fugitive coal dust, in any amount, is not something I want: in my yard, on my garden, on my car, on my streets, my dog playing in, our kids playing in, etc. No Environmental Assessment, no matter how thorough or robust, will change this. This dust may or may not have long-term health implications, we don’t yet have enough information, but it will certainly make things gross, and I like living in a clean beautiful city, not a gross one.
Don’t you want an MP who will stand up for you and be your voice on principle, not on party policy?
Assuming your party forms the government, what will you do to bring the Prime Minster to New Westminister?
Kyle Routledge: As residents of New West have consistently shown, we are a progressive community that supports small business and local foods (like the Green Party). We have a number of beautiful green spaces, and the adoption of the new “parklets” will only further in helping us develop a sense of community. Young people are flocking to New West as an ideal place to start a family. We have a city council who understand the need to improve transportation efficiency in New West. We have a mayor who is acutely aware of the housing crisis and has taken steps to increase the number of housing units for families (3+ bedrooms) in new developments. I feel that with all these gems we have here in New West (and Burnaby), Elizabeth May would be absolutely thrilled to come for a visit! (I’d even invite you along to be our personal tour guide, Brad)
How much money will your party pledge to replace the Pattullo Bridge, knowing full well that we just had a referendum (sorry, non-binding plebescite) where we rejected a tax increase that would supply the municipalities’ third of the pot and any promised federal money wouldn’t get spent anyhow? Three hundred million dollars? Five hundred million dollars? ELEVENTY TRILLION DOLLARS???
Kyle Routledge: As I am currently unaware of the full cost of any options to replace the Pattullo Bridge, I unfortunately cannot commit to any number. I feel confident that I could give you a range though. I imagine the dollar amount will be greater than one million dollars, but less than eleventy trillion dollars (± 5%). I do feel that this piece of aging infrastructure requires replacement, but I’m not certain what I feel that should be yet. As roadways in New West (and parts of Burnaby) are not numerous or very expandable, I don’t think the answer is a 6-lane bridge, as some have suggested. I really like the analogy that compares trying to fix traffic congestion by widening roads to trying to fix obesity by widening pants; you need to address the root issue before you can come up with viable solutions (this leads to a beautiful thing commonly referred to as “evidence based decision making,” which I am personally a big fan of). We need to focus on ways to get more people on transit and fewer people in their cars on the roads. Whatever replacement option that is decided on must have clear support from residents of New West (sorry Burnaby, I can’t include you on this one).
Editorial note: While my questions were obviously satirical, Kyle answered mostly seriously but still in the vein of the questions. Thanks for the answers, Kyle!