NDP incumbent, Rachel Blaney, says she’s excited about the prospect of representing the North-Island Powell River riding for a third term.
With 253 of 254 polls reporting from Monday’s federal election, Blaney had garnered 20,548 votes, which amounts to nearly 39 percent of the ballots cast.
In a close race, Conservative Shelly Downey is second with 19,206 votes.
Looking back, Blaney criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals for calling a snap election.
“I’m very honoured to be able to continue with this work,” she said. “The final numbers will come out in the next couple of days so we’ll see but at this point, yes, it’s a very close election. Personally, watching the outcome across Canada, I certainly feel this was a very expensive way of going back, with largely the same political footprint that we already saw.”
She added, “I definitely heard it from constituents, (their) frustration that there would be an election during the beginning of the fourth wave of the pandemic and I certainly agree. I’m glad to go back and get to work and hoping that we can get back to work soon, because Canadians thought we should have been, already.”
Blaney said concerns over the ongoing pandemic and climate change continue to be key issues, not just in the riding but across Canada.
Affordable housing is causing huge challenges for people living on the North Island and Powell River, she added.
“It’s pretty telling when you’re hearing from people who work within the community who are facing homelessness and when you talk to professionals who have, in some cases, couples with two very good paying jobs (who) cannot find a place to live, living in RVs, living in precarious housing, so that is going to be a big issue for me that I am going to be bringing forward for sure.”
She says she’s spoken to some people who have spent as much as 80 percent of their income on housing. “It’s very stressful. I was out in Gold River not too long ago during the campaign, and seeing in their market, they only had three houses for sale, and a house that had been sold last year, had sold for more than $100,000 more this year. There is some real serious action that needs to happen in terms of affordability and making sure that we have the opportunity to buy houses in our own community.”
Blaney also touched on taking action on climate change and how that will change the workforce in her riding: “Wanting to see a government that’s really focusing on getting to the (emission) targets, and as we’re doing that, making sure that we recognize, the different jobs that are in our communities, and how are we going to find that place where we can see good jobs in our communities and also recognize that we have to address climate change emergency in a real way.”
Blaney says she has already started her efforts in that area with her notice of Motion 53.