Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)

Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)

B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

The News Bulletin emailed the same questions to all candidates in the Parkville-Qualicum riding, giving them the opportunity to identify their priorities in their own words. Two candidates did not reply to the questionnaire but provided information to the Parksville-Qualicum Beach News in an alternate format, so they have been included.

B.C. GREEN PARTY

Rob Lyon, 59

Occupation/background: I currently operate a construction business focused entirely on the building of homes to the passive house standard. A standard that far exceeds the B.C. building code, even the future code of 2032. A passive house uses up to 90 per cent less energy for heating and cooling than a standard-code built home. I served my country for 25 years as an officer in the navy and worked as a software IT specialist for 13 years. I have an MBA in Digital Technologies. I am an avid outdoorsman, volunteering as a scoutmaster for 25 years, introducing youth to the outdoors, teaching them to ‘leave no trace.’ My service to the community also includes participating in the B.C. Thanksgiving food drive for the last 10 years, this year as the chairman for the Cowichan Valley. 150 volunteers collected 6,400 kilograms of food. This food goes directly to the homeless and needy of our community. My wife and I have fostered children in care for the last 10 years. We provide a loving and safe home. Through this we have become acutely aware of the plight of those suffering with mental health and addiction. They must be treated with sincere love and compassion in order to help them.

Why are you running for MLA? When Premier Horgan called this snap election I was disturbed enough to volunteer to help Sonia Furstenau. Then I decided I was passionate enough about our beautiful province to run to protect it.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? As the MLA for Parksville-Qualicum my first priority is to listen to the citizens and represent them. I will be their ‘lion in the legislature.’ So far I have heard concerns about senior care, health care, homelessness and mental health, ICBC rising rates, fish farming, affordable housing, support for local businesses and protection of old-growth forests. All of these issues are deep concerns of the Green Party. Together we will work to bring about the right amount of change to get government back on course.

B.C. CONSERVATIVES

Don Purdey

Occupation/background: Bev and I grew up in Haney, now called Maple Ridge. As I was growing up our family spent time on Vancouver Island. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to move to Nanaimo to open the Econo Drive–In Store. I have worked in the food industry, construction, self employed and retiring after a few years of driving transit buses for the RDN.

Nanaimo has been a great place to raise our family. I have been president of the Kinsmen Club of Nanaimo, K-40, B.C. Vintage Car Club, served on the board of the Child Development Centre. I was appointed by the City of Nanaimo to serve on the advisory planning group for Newcastle Island Park. I enjoy being part of the team that runs the Thursday Night Seniors Dance at Bowen Park.

I am currently a member of the Family Motor Coach Association and the Smokin’ Oldies hot rod club. We only go this way once, take time to have fun every day.

Why are you running for MLA? I never planned on running, but when our candidate dropped out at the last minute, I didn’t want let down our many longtime supporters. I was asked to run. I will do my best. We now have three choices, left, more left and extreme. We need a balanced voice at the table.

INDEPENDENT

John St. John, 71

Occupation/background: John St. John has lived in Parksville for 13 years and is currently the owner of the British Bobby Restaurant with his wife Mary, they have four children (all of whom have worked there) plus seven grandchildren. Born into a regular working-class family in England, John’s life has been nothing less than extraordinary. Right from the get-go he has taken on challenges where angels fear to tread. In a career spanning over five decades and two continents, John has re-invented himself from a boutique owner in the swinging sixties in England, country inn/hotel manager, commercial photographer, limousine driver to the ‘rich and famous’ and much, much more. After moving with his family to Canada in 1987, John became the fleet manger of a large limousine service in Ottawa. Now working with government on a regular basis he, like most people, believed in the status quo and that these people had our best interests at heart – but as the years went by, he soon found out that he was 100 per cent wrong.

Why are you running for MLA? I’ve have had enough of the lies and corruption in politics.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? Be the answer to the non-voters’ dream – an honest politician who puts the people first and himself second.

B.C. LIBERAL PARTY

Michelle Stilwell, 46

Occupation/background: I have served as the MLA for Parksville-Qualicum since 2013 helping to deliver much-needed provincial investments in infrastructure, community services and local business in our growing riding. Prior to entering public service, I was a small business owner, motivational speaker, Paralympic athlete and a community advocate. When first elected in 2013, I was appointed as government caucus chair and served as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health for seniors before becoming a cabinet minister. In 2017, I was re-elected and served as opposition critic for tourism, hospitality, and sport, deputy chair of the select standing committee on children and youth, and a member of the special committee on reforming the Police Act.

Why are you running for MLA? I am seeking re-election so I can put my experience to work for our communities. It has been a privilege to represent our mid-Island communities over the past two terms and bring government investment here, such as for Vancouver Island University, Eden Gardens and affordable housing to name a few. It was also an honour to help constituents with different concerns and ensure their voices were heard by the government. We now face both a health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic and I believe the B.C. Liberal team has the best plan to restore confidence and rebuild B.C. I am committed to fighting for our small businesses and tourism industry and ensuring our communities not only have economic opportunities but are safe places to raise a family.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? My top priorities are the concerns I have heard most from constituents, such as the doctor shortage, affordable housing and small business recovery.

B.C. NDP

Adam Walker

Occupation/background: I’m a small business owner, town councillor, and farmer. I’ve owned and operated tech businesses in the region for more than 15 years. My wife and I have a small farm and are raising two daughters. Since 2018, I’ve been a town councillor in Qualicum Beach.

Why are you running for MLA? I have lived in the Qualicum Beach area all my life. The people in Parksville-Qualicum are my friends, my family and my neighbours – I want to do what I can to make life better for them. That’s why I’m so excited to be running in this election on John Horgan’s team. I want to work with John Horgan to build on the work the B.C. NDP has already done.

What will be your priorities, if you are elected? We have a plan to increase access to quality health care and seniors care, and build a stronger, healthier future by taking action on climate change. With the COVID-19 pandemic, I know that many of us feel uncertain about the future. I’m hearing from people that they are worried about their health and the health of their family and loved ones. That’s why we need a strong and stable John Horgan government to see us through this pandemic and build a recovery that includes everyone.

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