Langley Advance 10 Questions: NDP’s Johal responds

Langley East’s NDP candidate provided extended answers to our survey.

1. Do you support the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline?

No. the risks are far too great and we should not be putting the health and safety of our residents in jeopardy. The damage from any leaks would cause irreversible damage – it is simply not worth it.

2. Should the province intervene further to cool real estate prices?

Yes. the cost of housing is way too high. Saving money towards a down-payment for a house is estimated to take 17 years. With the cost of living rising and the lack of family supporting jobs available in BC – the housing crisis is an urgent matter and I wouldn’t be surprised if that estimate increases. It should not take that long for families to build a secure life for themselves.

3. Should schools be built before anticipated population growth?

Yes. Under the Liberal regime, school closures and strikes have become the norm. We need to build schools at a proportional ratio in growing communities so that classrooms are not overcrowded and that students get the individual attention they need. The needs of students, teachers, and families have been left on the backburner for far too long. Investing in our public education system is a top priority.

4. Should modest tolls be placed on all bridges and major highways to fund TransLink?

No. People should not have to suffer and pay to go to work. Many residents in Langley have to take the Golden Ears or Port Mann bridge to work everyday. The annual cost of paying for tolls adds up very quickly. The NDP will remove the tolls on these bridges and invest in transit that works for everyone. By investing in public transportation, we will not only be creating jobs that boost the economy, we will be connecting communities and making the lives of our BC residents more affordable.

5. Should fast-growing Langley have its own courthouse again?

Yes. Langley is a fast-growing community and it would be vital to have a courthouse. This would allow for a more neighbourhood focused approach when it comes to solving problems in the community itself and a means to bring issues forward that may arise in the community.

6. Should political donations be capped for MLAs and parties?

Yes. If the NDP are elected May 9th, the first piece of legislature that will be brought forward will be to ban corporate and union donations. When it comes to capping donations, BC Elections will be asked to come up with a new system, taking best practices into the main consideration.

7. Would you support a moratorium on removing land from the ALR?

Yes. I would support a ban on removing land from the ALR. The Agricultural Land Reserve was established in 1973 by the NDP and it is as important today as it was back then. This land must be protected from urbanization and commercialization so that BC’s agriculture sector is protected and that we can continue to support and grow food in our own communities.

8. Should B.C. allow 18 year olds to smoke legal marijuana?

Don’t know. This is something that would require an in-depth research analysis. It is great that we have our southern neighbours, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado to observe and research when it comes to legalization of marijuana and the impacts it has on a wide range of sectors such as their economy, health, licensing rules, laws/regulations, demographics, etc.

9. Would you support raising provincial taxes to help house the homeless?

Yes. Morally and economically this makes sense. Comprehensive studies have found that it costs less to house the homeless than it is to keep them on the streets. Social programs are a cornerstone in any community; the past 16 years, the government has fallen short on supporting the most vulnerable. Therefore, by housing the homeless, studies have further shown that there would be less emergency room visits, ambulance calls, associated costs in the health sector, as well as benefits in behavioral health related to criminal justice.

10. Should addicts be prescribed heroin/opioids to help control the overdose crisis?

Yes. Although prescriptions are a part of the smaller picture, we need to focus on recovery and addiction by supporting addicted individuals. The area of mental health is severely underfunded and it is very easy to get lost advocating for yourself in the system. We need to refocus on the topic of addiction and mental health because it is such a big part of our society. I can almost guarantee that everybody knows someone with anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, etc. Yet, the stigma that surrounds addiction and mental health exists on a grand scale. That needs to change and the social programs need to exist in order to help people in our communities.