Kootenay West NDP Candidate, Katrine Conroy, hit the streets over the weekend, going door to door in the Village of Slocan, asking residents about what issues concern them and gathering signatures on a petition requesting the BC Liberal government stabilize funding for education in the province.
“Education is an issue of particular concern to people living in the Slocan Valley,” Conroy said. “With both W.E. Graham School here in Slocan and Winlaw Elementary School recently being threatened with closure, and only being spared in a last minute funding announcement from the Education Minister, it’s not surprising that this is a primary issue of concern for a lot of people in this area.”
“Education across the province isn’t being funded adequately and funding is not sufficient for the few schools left operating,” Conroy continued. “What the Liberals don’t seem to understand is that in rural areas like the West Kootenay a school is not just a school. W.E. Graham also serves as the local food bank and community garden, they run the Strong Start program for pre-schoolers, they provide access to the computer lab for the community and support for seniors who are just learning the technology; the school is part of the community as a whole. The Liberals discount the value of rural schools.”
Conroy’s initiative to get out and talk to residents in the constituency is an early start on campaigning for the provincial election, scheduled for May of next year. Conroy was confirmed as the NDP candidate for Kootenay West at a regional constituency meeting in August, one of the first in the province to be confirmed as her party’s candidate in the next election.
Conroy said she felt it was important to get out in her constituency to try to get a picture of what the residents in her area are thinking and what concerns them.
“As MLA since 2005 I have a good understanding of the major issues of this region but it is also important to get out to communities and listen to people. I know that you can’t take anything for granted in any election, you have to get out and work for it,” Conroy said. “Getting out to communities gives me a chance to hear the issues directly from the people. It also allows me to talk about the things that are important to me, to NDP Leader, John Horgan, and to people across the province. I think the people of BC have had enough of the Liberal government. I think people are ready for a change in Victoria.”