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 final installment is from Ken Beck Lee, candidate for the Liberal Party.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and why you would like to represent New Westminster-Coquitlam?
I am not a career politician. I have spent the past forty years as a registered engineer and small business owner. For the past seven years, I have been a member of an expert roster for the UN Climate Change Agency, which has allowed me to travel throughout the world ensuring that greenhouse emission reduction programs are technically and fiscally sound. As a long time resident of New Westminster, I appreciate the needs of our communities and I have the knowledge and real life experience to accomplish our goals.
What do you see as the most important issue currently facing New Westminster-Coquitlam?
We need to focus on employment and economic growth. The Conservative government advertises lower taxes at the same time as they increase taxes. Tax hikes, such as the HST and the EI Payroll Tax will be devastating to the recovery of our economy. I know that this is the wrong thing to do. We need to strengthen our economy. Stephen Harper is threatening our economic recovery and Jack Layton and the NDP are supporting him.
How does your party serve the needs and concerns of local residents?
The Liberal Party and I both recognize the importance of lifelong learning. One of my main concerns is the expansion of accessible education. We understand that affordable and accessible education will benefit both the individual learner, as well as the Canadian economy. Education should be available to everyone throughout oneâ€™s lifetime; therefore, we need to improve early childhood education, post-secondary options, and continuing studies. Education has provided my family with wonderful opportunities. My children have all become successful professionals within the medical field: a urologist, a pharmacist, and a DNA analyst.
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?
We need to expand transit options. Local communities cannot afford to do this alone; senior levels of government need to pitch in. The Liberal Party advocates predictable infrastructure funding through the existing tax structure. As a professional engineer I have experience in the management and finance of large projects. We will need to create projects that are both environmentally and financially sustainable.
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 completely understand why Canadians have voter fatigue. The last federal election was absolutely unnecessary. Mr. Harper broke his own law because he believed that he could get a majority government. That did not happen. I am working hard to engage the community by knocking on the doors and having discussions with voters about the needs and concerns of the community. So far, I have knocked on over 10,000 doors and have been very well received.
Thanks so much to Ken, for taking the time to speak with us. And, of course, if you live in New Westminster-Coquitlam, take the time to vote on November 9!