Blog Entry Twelve Election Campaign 2013:

(COLWOOD) While dodging bears and cougars and instead of howling at the full moon tonight, I decided to check out the all candidate meeting in the Esquimalt-Royal Roads riding (April 24).

The room was packed and along with several face-to-face questions there were many questions submitted that the candidates addressed. Four candidates were in attendance: Maurine Karagianis (NDP), Chris Ricketts (B.C. Liberal), Josh Steffler (Independent) and Susan Low (Green Party of B.C.).

When I asked them the CHF BC question, all candidates except for the Independent claimed to support co-op housing to some degree. Ricketts supports affordable housing and making it easier for young families to purchase homes. He did not, however, say he would go to bat regarding picking up where the feds will leave off in terms of subsidy. Strangely, Ricketts claims that the B.C. Liberals have provided more low-income housing units and support co-op housing more than any other party in BC's history. Hmm... Steffler claimed to not know much about co-op housing and suggested people should stop looking to the government for hand outs and the government should not be in the business of paying people rent -- he was offensive and completely ignorant about co-op housing. Next was the Maurine Karagianis. She said that it will be very difficult to assume or pick up a federal funding program provincially and that attempting this sort of undertaking in the past has not worked well. She did say very clearly that her party supports co-op housing, building new co-op housing and looking at other ways to provide the subsidy funding. Low was last and is impressively knowledgeable of co-op housing. She described the co-op model, community building aspects, volunteer component, member equity, and more. Low is clearly and passionately stated that the Green Party would not only pursue federal and provincial funding to replace the subsidy that co-ops will lose, but she will work with all levels of government to build more housing co-ops... in short Low rocked!

While there was no howling at the moon or otherwise, there were a few moans and ample good cheer. It was definitely a worthwhile event - I learned a great deal about where the candidates stand on several issues and encourage all co-op members to attend their local all-candidate meetings.

Patty Shaw, CHF BC Board Member and Shadow Candidate (April 25, 2013)