Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley is running for a fifth term. (File photo)

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley is running for a fifth term. (File photo)

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Routley seeking fifth term

Longtime representative proud of NDP’s three years in government

After 12 years as a member of the opposition in the B.C. legislature, Doug Routley finally got to see things from the government side of the floor during his fourth term.

The incumbent MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan is pleased with what the New Democratic Party has accomplished since gaining power in July 2017, and he wants to help the party continue with that by winning the riding again on Oct. 24.

“We’ve delivered. We’re proud of it,” he said. “We’re proud of what’s been done, and we want to see it through.”

Routley listed several things his party has done specifically in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding: an increase in affordable housing units in Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley, work on Crofton Road, the demolition of the old Crofton Elementary School, and added child care spaces in Nanaimo, the Cowichan Valley and on Gabriola Island. The NDP, he said, has invested $21 million in child care in the riding, resulting in $8 million going back in the pockets of parents.

“It’s life-changing for people,” Routley said. “It allows people to return to the work force. We want to see the continuation of that. It’s good for the economy and good for families.”

Schools in the riding have received maintenance and seismic upgrades, a new high school was announced for the Cowichan Valley, more than 100 new teachers have been added in the riding, and three new accessible playgrounds have been funded.

“As a former trustee — and my sister, mom and grandmother were all teachers and my dad was an administrator — I really want to see those investments continue,” Routley said.

With regard to healthcare, the last few years have seen the final approval of a new hospital in the Cowichan Valley, new MRI and ICU units and a nurse practitioner clinic in Nanaimo, and the addition of 30 new full-time paramedics, Routley said.

Routley is also pleased with the way his party has guided the province through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re proud of Bonnie Henry and the overwhelmingly good job British Columbians have done,” he said.

The MLA understands the concerns people have about holding an election during the pandemic, but he feels this is the right time to do it.

“This is one of the primary reasons we are going to the polls,” he said. “We know COVID will still be with us if we wait until the set election date, and it may be worse.

“We want to go to the people now while it’s safe and let the people decide. What they voted on in 2017 is not what they are voting on now. It’s never a bad idea to ask the people who they want as a government. We feel confident we have a sound plan. Now they have a chance to have a voice on what the believe a mandate should look like.