Election is a two horse race

Trent Ernst, Editor

The writ is dropped and they’re off and running, but only two candidates have put forward their names for the election in Peace River South.

Incumbent and current Education Minister Mike Bernier is running again for the BC Liberals, while the NDP have fielded candidate Stephanie Goudie.

Goudie works at the Kenn Borak Aquatic Centre in Dawson Creek, and is the OARH Project Lead for the Dawson Creek Literary society. She represents the employees of the City of Dawson Creek, the Peace River Regional District, the Dawson Creek Public Library and the Village of Pouce Coupe as the Vice President of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2403. She volunteers with Girl Guides of Canada as a Brownie leader and with the Dawson Creek Pride Society. She is married and her husband is a plumber and a gas fitter.

Stephanie Goudie was acclaimed as the BC NDP candidate on April 8. She says Christy Clark has ignored the real needs of communities in BC’s north.

“I have seen how disillusioned Northerners feel with Christy Clark’s government. Their concerns have either been ignored or put on the back burner,” said Goudie.

“People here in Peace River South need jobs and Christy Clark has failed to deliver,” she says. “Unemployment here is the highest in BC and the number of people using the Food Bank has skyrocketed under the BC Liberals.

“Christy Clark has made life harder. She hiked MSP fees, hydro rates and the cost of insuring your car, all while handing out tax breaks to the top 2%,” Goudie said.

“People are looking for a government that works for them, not just the wealthy and the well-connected,” she said. “Peace River South is one of the youngest ridings in BC and many families are struggling to get by. John Horgan has a plan to make life more affordable for families and to create real, good-paying jobs that last.”

Goudie has an uphill battle in front of her. The closest the NDP has come to winning in the riding was in 1996, when Patrick Michiel lost by a mere 123 votes to incumbent Jack Weisgerber.

The region has always voted for a right-of-centre candidate since it was established in 1956, either Social Credit, Conservative, Reform, or, starting in 2001 when Blair Leckstrom was first elected, Liberal.

She’s up against incumbent Mike Bernier, who won the riding with 46 percent of the popular vote in 2013, nearly doubling that of the nearest contender, Kurt Peats, who was running for the BC Conservative Party. Peats received 2,546 votes, while Bernier received 4,373.

Former Tumbler Ridge Mayor, Darwin Wren was the NDP candidate at the time. He received 1,988 votes, or 21 percent of the votes.

Tyrel Pol ran as an independent, and got 451 votes.

Bernier was appointed Minister of Education on July 15, 2015. Previous to his appointment he served as Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy and the Environment for the Minister of Environment. He also serves on the Cabinet Committee on Strong Economy.

Before being elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Bernier served as Mayor of Dawson Creek. He was first elected Mayor in 2008 and was re-elected in 2011, and served as a Dawson Creek City councillor from 2005 to 2008.

He is the past President of the North Central Local Government Association. He has also served on the Peace River Regional District, the BC Mayors Climate Leadership Council, the Community Energy Association, the Council of Resource Community Mayors, Northeast Regional Advisory Committee, Site C Regional and Local Government Liaison Committee, Northern Development Initiative Trust, and the South Peace Economic Development Commission.

He has lived in the Peace since 1993 and has 20 years of experience in the natural gas industry.