This is candidate week here at the V3H! There is a by-election happening in the federal riding of New Westminster-Coquitlam on November 9, and we want to keep you informed. So this week we will be posting interviews from four candidates vying for election as MP. Each candidate answered the same 5 questions from us, and we are printing their responses verbatim, in the order in which we received them. The third one is from Diana Dilworth, candidate for the Conservative Party.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and why you would like to represent New Westminster-Coquitlam?
I have lived, worked and volunteered in New Westminster, Coquitlam and Port Moody for eighteen years and I believe my experience, enthusiasm, and involvement with the community would make me an excellent representative for the area.
I became involved in politics in 1999 when I ran for City Councillor in Port Moody and ever since then I have worked to be engaged in community issues. I feel my service over the last decade is evidence that I am trustworthy and that I get things done for my community.
A background of diverse work experience has given me the tools necessary to deliver real results for families and businesses in New Westminster, Coquitlam and Port Moody. I have worked with the federal government and run my own small business. Working as a consultant, for both private companies and local government, has really helped me gain an in-depth understanding of the issues affecting the area. For the past seven years, I have been working as the Manager of Council Operations for the Fraser Basin Council, a non-profit organization with the mission to advance sustainability within BC. This position has enabled me to become a passionate voice for economic, environmental and social sustainability.
As a single parent, I understand first-hand the challenges of raising a family and making ends meet on a single income. I believe the best way to bring about positive change and overcome challenges in your family and community is through a hands-on approach. That is why I became involved with my childrenâ€™s extra-curricular activities, the Parent Advisory Council at my childrenâ€™s school, and numerous community boards. Another organization that I am very proud of being involved with is Crossroads Hospice Society, for which I have volunteered for over six years and served as President for the past year.
What do you see as the most important issue currently facing New Westminster-Coquitlam?
I think economic stability is critical right now. So much depends on it. And I am proud of the work Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative government have done to reduce the impact of the global recession and to help individuals and families during this difficult economic time. This is the concern I hear the most when speaking with residents of our communities.
I think an equally important priority we should be addressing is making our streets and our communities safer. The safety and security of Canadaâ€™s neighbourhoods, schools and streets should not be used as a political football. All Canadians, regardless of political affiliation, should support actions that respect victims, protect law-abiding families, and hold criminals fully accountable for their crimes. I believe implementation of the new legislation and measures introduced by the federal Government will enable our community to prosper peacefully.
How does your party serve the needs and concerns of local residents?
As the party who holds government, the Conservative Party of Canada is the only party that can effectively deliver results for New Westminster-Coquitlam. Recent investments in our community demonstrate this: last week funding was provided to the City of Port Moody for the rehabilitation of soccer fields, in September Minister of Heritage, James Moore, announced funding for the City of Coquitlam in support of its arts and culture sector and in New Westminster, funds for a new Youth Facility were announced. As a Conservative MP I will be able to be an effective voice for the residents of New Westminster-Coquitlam.
Transportation has been on the minds of many local residents, with the damage to the Murray St. overpass this summer and the uncertainty over the Evergreen Line. What are your views on how to best meet the area’s transportation needs?
Local transportation is important for the residents of New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody and it is the job of local governments to establish priorities and create projects that will make transportation better. It is the job of the local MP to make sure that there is adequate funding available for exciting, new transportation products. The Federal Government is responsible for national forms of transportation like the railways or air travel.
In partnership with local governments, the Government of Canada has committed to bettering our areaâ€™s transit system. In February, Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged an impressive $350 million towards the Evergreen Line on behalf of the Government of Canada and this contribution will help with this much needed transit line. Other projects, which will help transportation, have also been made possible through joint provincial and federal funding and programs in Canadaâ€™s Economic Action Plan. For instance, the existing old wooden bridge over Noons Creek in Port Moody will be replaced with a modern concrete bridge at a cost of about $1 million dollars. In Coquitlam, $14.6M is being provided for major road improvements to both King Edward and School streets. These important investments in our communityâ€™s infrastructure will further help transportation.
In the last federal election voter turnout dropped to an all-time low. How will you engage with voters and involve them in the electoral process?
I think being responsive to voterâ€™s wishes is the most important aspect of invigorating the electorate. Everyday, I am meeting voters on their doorsteps, hearing their unique concerns and encouraging them to get involved in the by-election. I am also reaching out to people through coffee parties, town hall meetings and non-traditional means including social networking, like Facebook.
I am listening and responding to the residents of New Westminster, Coquitlam and Port Moody and am ensuring that they know that the results of this upcoming by-election are critically important to the welfare of our community.
Thanks so much to Diana, for taking the time to speak with us. Please check back tomorrow to read the final candidate interview. And, of course, if you live in New Westminster-Coquitlam, take the time to vote on November 9!