The election writ has dropped and the Canadian federal election campaign period has officially begun.
In Kootenay-Columbia, Wayne Stetski, is running for another term under the NDP banner. He was elected in 2015 by a slim margin, narrowly defeating then-incumbent David Wilks and wresting the riding from the Conservative Party, which had held the riding since 2003.
“Very excited that the writ has dropped and we’re finally into campaign mode,” said Stetski, in an interview with the Townsman. “We have worked really hard over the last four years to serve the people of Kootenay-Columbia. We’ve helped hundreds of people in our offices, certainly have represented the riding in a number of issues in the House of Commons, so very much looking forward to getting on the road with the campaign in mind.”
Stetski said he is campaigning on a vision of what Canada can become through the NDP’s policy platform, which addresses issues such as affordable housing, tuition-free post-secondary education, climate change, transitioning to a green economy, bringing in proportional representation, and expanded health care coverage from head to toe, including optometry and dental care.
Much of the NDP platform is outlined in a series of commitments to voters titled A New Deal for People released in the summer. Some major planks include 500,000 units of housing over the next 10 years, creating 300,000 new jobs in the clean energy sector and mandating all new buildings to be energy efficient by 2030.
Other proposed measures include raising corporate taxes, addressing loopholes for offshore tax havens to boost revenue, and introducing a wealth tax on income over $20 million — a policy that could raise nearly 10 billion over the next decade, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).
“For me, Canada is one of the best countries in the world, we really are,” Stetski said.
“But when I envision what Canada can be, going forward around affordable housing, around affordable childcare, about tuition-free post-secondary education, around actually fighting climate change but at the same time ensuring there are jobs for people in green energy going forward, on bringing in proportional representation, health care that covers you from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet using your health care card rather than your credit card — when I look at what Canada can become, I get really excited about the vision that we have for the future of Canada and making sure that we get there.”
During the last parliamentary session, Stetski served as Vice-Chair of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, was the NDP shadow critic for National Parks, and is Vice-Chair of the Canada-Philippines Friendship Group.
He also co-founded an all-party cycling caucus.
Stetski got his start in politics after successfully running for mayor of Cranbrook in 2011. Prior to his political career, he worked as a regional manager with the B.C. Ministry of Environment.