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.

-www.lillianszpak.ca

 

 

Just Posted

Spring break nature walks – get the kids out into nature!

Spring break, CRD Regional Parks naturalists are hosting three guided nature walks

Victoria police search for missing man, his vehicle and travel trailer

Last seen on March 17 driving white Honda Ridgeline bearing B.C. licence plate CG 4316

Red-tailed hawk’s own bill is killing him

‘Most birds with this syndrome will starve to death without treatment’

Sidney business organization cyber attacked

President’s contact list sent unsolicited messages

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

View Royal council to discuss proposed 3.5% tax increase tonight

Budget open house to directly precede the council meeting

Couple rescued after Sea to Sky Gondola refused ride down hill

‘We were cold as hell, my lips were blue. I cried the entire way down’

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

B.C. man sentenced for tying up, assaulting and robbing another man at hotel

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in Nanaimo in 2017

B.C. girl and her toy monkey make videos to fight negativity on Facebook

Ava Ast created the Ava and Cello’s Good Deed Page last month

Deadline extended through April to nominate top B.C. educators

Second year of Premier John Horgan’s awards offers $3,000 bursary

Most Read