Less asphalt – more bus, bike, rail, says Szpak

Lillian Szpak

For Langford Coun. Lillian Szpak, an overpass at the Trans-Canada Highway at McKenzie Avenue is part of the traffic solution — not the only solution.

The three-term municipal politician is seeking to keep Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca a federal Liberal riding, and says traffic woes across the region need more than just more asphalt.

“Building an overpass is a 1960s solution, it’s just bigger, fatter roads,” Szpak said. “We want better than that. We want to give people choices. If they decide to get in a car, we want a good road network, not gridlock.”

Szpak, an avid cyclist, wants the federal government to funnel 100 per cent of gas tax funds to cities to help pay for infrastructure, which in the case of the riding, includes more bike lanes, dedicated transit lanes and rail. “Cities and regions can’t afford to put in this infrastructure, it can’t be done on the backs of local taxpayers,” she said.

Her first foray into federal politics, Szpak, 58, said she is doing plenty of door-knocking to raise her profile across a riding that stretches from Saanich to Port Renfrew, while still performing her Langford council duties.

People speak to her about transportation, affordable housing, jobs and the economy, she said, and the struggle of daily life raising a family. The recent family tax break announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper pandered to an unrealistic 1950s stereotype, Szpak noted.

“This election isn’t about TV families,” she said. “This is about struggling working families who want solutions that work and don’t just sound good. There was nothing in that tax break that benefited the single parent.”

A military wife of a soldier who served in Afghanistan, Szpak said she has big shoes to fill as six-term Liberal MP Keith Martin retires from office. Conservative challenger Troy DeSouza came within 68 votes in 2008, but Szpak stressed that no two elections are alike.

“The time before (in 2006) the NDP came close. I take nothing for granted,” she said. “In this riding people vote for the person they trust. This riding wants someone who can represent them beyond partisan lines.”

Harper’s visit early in the campaign highlighted Esquimalt-JDF as an important riding, but Szpak decried Conservative spending priorities as “corporate tax cuts, a tough on crime agenda and fighter jets.”

“We want to take care of families,” she said. “This is a well-off country. We should be able to look after hard working families and the more vulnerable in society.”

Szpak said she agrees with her party’s action of helping take down the government after the historic ruling of contempt. People are concerned about the cost of an election, she said, but people don’t complain about having to vote.

“The election speaks to the openness and transparency in government that people want to see. It is a wake-up call for a government found in contempt,” Szpak said.

“The election is a reflection of what people want and need. It is about a significant loss in trust in the government. That is why we are going to the polls.”

Candidate at a glance

-Lillian Szpak

Party: Liberal

Home municipality: Langford

Occupation: Langford councillor

-Main campaign issues for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca: Transportation, supporting military families and veterans, boosting local shipbuilding.




Just Posted

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

Saanich jam stand at the centre of controversy prepares to close

Staff review of roadside stand legislation too late for Little

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

Most Read