Port Moody-Coquitlam candidate dispels rumours and promises transparency
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
After 16 years, the BC NDP may have a chance of winning the provincial election, but it will take a precise formula for them to find victory. Rick Glumac, MLA candidate in the Port Moody-Coquitlam riding, believes that he should be elected and that he’s got the track record to back it up. As a city councillor for the City of Port Moody since 2011, Glumac has transitioned into provincial politics with ease.
The Other Press sat down with Glumac in his campaign office to talk about his stances on key issues in the provincial election taking place on May 9.
Other Press: Transportation services, such as Uber and Lyft, have been promised by the Liberals. To the public eye, it seems as though the NDP doesn’t have a solid position on the matter. Where do you stand on the issue?
Rick Glumac: “I’m in favour of Uber, and the party is as well. When we roll this out, we want to work with stakeholders to address the many issues that will arise. Sometimes the Liberals roll something out and let it fly to see what happens, but they don’t [do so] in an intelligent way. We want to make sure that we take a look at the impact on other businesses to make sure it’s fair and other voices will have a position at the discussion table.”
OP: Many Douglas students are concerned with repaying student loans and dealing with debt. How will you ensure students attending post-secondary schools in BC will save money with the BC NDP Party?
RG: “The BC NDP will cap tuition fees, have a zero per cent interest on student loans, and give $1000 for completion grant to students. We understand the challenges that students go through and how expensive it is. We know how affordability is a huge issue and want to help students with that. One of the key initiatives in the BC NDP platform is investment in high tech innovation industries. We plan to invest $100 million into post-secondary educations that will grow the high tech sectors such as engineering, software development, and health sciences. Fifty million dollars will be directed towards scholarships for graduates […] and to expand co-op programs. We have lots of initiatives in our platform that I’m excited about, and there’s a bright future for lots of young people in the jobs that we are going to create.”
OP: This past January, a Port Moody senior spent 36 hours lying in the hallway of Eagle Ridge Hospital waiting for a bed after suffering a brain bleed. If elected, what will be done to deal with similar situations and the entirety of the provincial healthcare system?
RG: “That woman is Jean Donaldson. She called me after she had left the hallway and I brought the issue to the party, and we got her story into the media. We need to invest in our hospitals. In Eagle Ridge, we have a capacity of 200 beds, but there was a wing completely empty when she was there. We are facing constant shortages in resources.”
“The NDP wants to create family urgent care centres as another way to handle backlogs. Based on other provinces, we’ve seen this been done before and we need to learn from them. When we see success, we replicate it. In Richmond, a pilot project took the 20 month wait times for patients with hip and knee replacements and reduced it to 5 months. While it was a huge success, the BC Liberals cancelled it.”
“The Liberal candidate I’m running against thinks the solution is privatizing health care, as she paid for surgery out of [her own] pocket. She thinks that people deserve choice, but she sees it more as if you have the money, then you can have surgery. I don’t want to see it that way and no one should have to wait. We need to fix the system.”
OP: Last year, the Green Party banned corporate and union donations to show the public that they were a party for the people. Over $672,000 was donated by the United Steelworkers union over the last year to the NDP, one of the biggest donations in provincial history. What’s your take on the issue of banning corporate and union donations?
RG: “On day one, if the NDP are elected, we will ban corporate and union donations. The reality is that at this point, when you have a government who has so many donations [coming in], they have the money to blast the airways. If we don’t have the funds to compete, we will lose the election and lose government for another four years. We are taking donations at this point knowing that we will never do it again.”
OP: The BC NDP promises to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2021. Are you concerned that small businesses might scale down on the number of employees because of the increase?
RG: “We are committed to working with small businesses to roll this out. We will give a half per cent small business tax cut, eliminate MSP premiums, and put new programs in place. When the Liberals put a 15 per cent foreign tax, it was out there without consultation or warning that day. We want everyone to have a clear understand to make sure it works for everyone.”
OP: Housing affordability is undeniably the biggest issue in the election campaign. What has the BC NDP done to deal with housing affordability, and what will they do if elected to ensure a stable market for future generations?
RG: “In terms of housing, the BC NDP will build 114,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years, including […] co-op housing. We will use wood made in BC to build this and grow the forestry industry. On the home ownership front, there’s a couple of things in terms of closing tax loopholes and making a real estate task force to deal with the unfair practices on taxation and foreign speculation. We will also place a two per cent tax on homes that are bought and left empty by owners not living in BC.”
OP: Are there any rumours or negative connotations that come with the BC NDP name that you would like to dispel for uninformed voters before they head to the polls?
RG: “We are not the NDP of the ’90s, we are today’s NDP. We embrace the future; we have a diversity of runners that represent this province better than the Liberals do. We care about growing our economy in a way that uses clean energy for the future. We’re a new party, and all I ask is that you give us a chance to show what we can do.”