Tom Shypitka is hoping to serve the riding for a second term in Victoria as the Liberal candidate in Kootenay East. Shypitka says it has been an honour and privilege to represent Kootenay East constituents since being elected as MLA in 2017.

Here is his Kootenay East election platform:

Wildlife and Land access Management
For too long the province of BC has seen little to no serious support for perhaps our number one resource – wildlife. Funding has been flat lined for over 40 years and emotional based management supersedes sound science. Another major factor is that given the immense bio-diversity of the province management practices seem to be run provincially instead of locally.

We have seen a major crash in some of our iconic species despite the efforts of some of our most passionate conservationists being hunters, trappers, biologists, and ecologists. Arbitrary access closures without stakeholder and land user engagement is not good management.

We need an appropriate funding model that is arm’s length from government and maintains 100% of all fees, tags and licenses with also assistance from government and industry. These same type funding models work quite well in other jurisdictions and they would work well here in BC.

Kootenay East was once regarded as the “Serengeti” of North America, it’s about time we got that title back.

Access to Healthcare
Kootenay East has traditionally had a tremendous relationship with our neighbouring province for many things. Commerce, trade, employment, forest and land management, and above all healthcare.

We have seen a major shut down of access to Albertan healthcare in the past few years. Unfortunately I have not been given any support on this issue from the current government in solving this major problem. With a universal healthcare system in Canada it is unacceptable to be denied any service because of your provincial residence. Close proximity, support systems, and cost are important parts of treatment and recovery. Sadly some people forgo necessary surgeries due to the prohibitive circumstances that we are seeing now.

This needs to be addressed and a BC Liberal government would help tremendously in solving this issue.

Education
Education is obviously critical for a healthy society, especially during a pandemic or any other social emergency. More options need to be available in order for us not to lose stride in educating our children. Independent Distributive Learning (IDL) funding must be fully supported by government in order for those that have issues making it to a regular bricks and mortar school. Whether a student has remote living issues, emotional or physical challenges, or perhaps it is a faith based issue, IDL provides choice for parents to better the outcomes for his or her child.

We must also solidify funding for those parents that need financial support for those children with physical and emotional challenges. Funding has seen little to no increases for some time. Many parents have enormous pressures in maintaining the health and welfare of their children and solid support is needed.

An issue I want more than anything is the elimination of portables at Isabella Dickens School in Fernie. This has been promised by current government for the past 3 years and we have yet to see it happen. As a matter of fact portables have increased at this school and has the highest portables of any school in BC. This must be accomplished immediately and the BC Liberals will get this over the goal line.

Mount Baker Senior Secondary was built in 1949. It represents a school of great history but sadly its shelf life is way past expired. The current government has seen the replacement of this school taken off the 1st priority list when they came into power. In my opinion the school needs replacement immediately and I will do everything in my ability to ensure this school is earmarked for replacement in my next term if elected.

Senior Care and care home facilities
More can and must be done to ensure seniors and our loved ones can stay at home, close to family and friends, for as long as possible and are provided with the best possible place to live when a care facility is needed.

The BC Liberals are announcing the new Seniors’ Home Care Tax Credit in addition to a five-year $1-billion plan that will help seniors stay in their homes longer and live their best possible lives in long-term care facilities.

Unlike the NDP’s plan, which does nothing for seniors now, our plan provides relief for seniors immediately, and will help them stay at home longer with a tax credit of up to $7,000 for home care services. Our $1-billion plan will improve long-term care homes and get seniors their own rooms far sooner than the NDP’s 10-year plan.

The BC Liberal seniors plan will introduce:
• The Seniors’ Home Care Tax Credit, which provides a new tax credit of up to $7,000 a year for those receiving home care so more seniors can live in their own homes longer.
• A five-year, $1-billion long-term care home plan that will replace and upgrade outdated long-term care homes and assisted living residences to ensure every senior who wants a private room can have one.

The heartbreaking COVID-19 impacts on our long-term care facilities and assisted living residences are a tragedy that can never happen again.
We need to make it easier for seniors to stay at home longer and when long-term care is needed — our loved ones get the care they deserve.

The BC Liberals will act to help get seniors the supports they need right now, unlike John Horgan’s approach of offering unrealistic 10-year plans and making promises he never actually keeps.

The Economy
I saved my favourite priority for last because it represents perhaps the biggest difference between the two parties.

The four cornerstones of our BC economy for the past 140 years have been Mining, Forestry, Agriculture and Fishing.

The BC Liberals believe in opportunity for all British Columbians. Developing our natural resources in an environmentally responsible manner provides that opportunity to remote indigenous and non-indigenous communities. High skills training for high paying jobs while simultaneously injecting billions into government revenues to revive our economy and the social services we depend on can be achieved if we open the doors to business and investment.

BC has some of the highest costs and tightest regulatory regime in North America. Whether it is harvesting and handling timber or permitting and producing minerals and metals, BC is losing its competitive edge with slow and uncertain permitting times, the highest carbon tax in North America, and ever changing regulation. This is making BC a place that is less attractive to invest in. We need to cut through the red tape and bring consistent and certain timelines in place. First Nation partnerships is a must and should be encouraged, and capacity and consistency must be worked on in order to bring prosperity to all.

The BC Liberals promise to eliminate the PST for one year and then bring it to 3% in the second year and extend it until our economy rebounds is a bold progressive move that effects all of and will restore confidence and rebuild our economy. The BC Liberals will also eliminate the 2% business tax to assist small business that makes up 98% of the business in BC.

ICBC
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) was brought in 1974 by Dave Barrett and the NDP government. I believe it was brought in with the best intentions and it had some benefits almost 50 years ago. Since that time ICBC has become too fat, inflexible and provides little to no choice for motorists, not to mention some of the highest rates in the country.

A BC liberal government will officially end the ICBC monopoly by opening up the automobile insurance market to competition from the private market so drivers can shop for the best possible rate, along with lower premiums for young drivers to give them a break at a time in life when they need it the most.

Read about Wayne Stetski, the NDP Candidate or Kerri Wall, of the Green Party.

The Elk Valley Provincial Candidate Forum is taking place Virtually, read more here.

See the details on how to get out and vote in the 2020 Provincial General Election here in Fernie

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