Telkwa councillor Brad Layton works as a forest consultant for Pro-Tech Forest Resources in Telkwa.
“I can see our quality of life — being the middle class — declining each year. I’m worried about my daughter’s future,” Layton said of his choice to run for the party in the Oct. 19 federal election.
He was the only candidate seeking the Liberal Party’s nomination Aug. 19 in Smithers.
“Mr. Trudeau has expressed a lot of views that I follow myself, and believes that we can have both a strong environment and economic development — we need this development in northern B.C.”
The Liberal candidate focused on meeting the needs of the average Canadian and said Conservative and NDP views on industrial development are one-sided.
“In some of the other parties, we’re seeing [a focus on either] strong economics or a strong environment and there doesn’t seem to be much of a balance,” he said.
“I think that the NDP is losing touch with voters of the Northwest — their overly strong environmental views without a balance of development is driving some of their supporters away.”
Layton is running on a platform of promoting strong environmental practices while also focusing on jobs and industry growth. He said that he is not opposed to pipelines running through the Northwest, but emphasized that precautions need to be taken.
“In order to prosper in our communities we need good paying jobs,” he said.
“But then on the other hand — after 29 years of working in our beautiful environment — I want that protected as well.”
“We should be able to put pipelines through and make them safe. Sure it might cost more, but it is an investment into our environment and if we’re not willing to do that then maybe we don’t deserve the jobs,” he noted.
The twice-elected Telkwa councillor has lived in the region since 1987 and said he is increasingly concerned by rising infrastructure deficit, high housing costs, and wages that have not risen with inflation.
Despite large scale developments in LNG forecast for places like Kitimat and Prince Rupert in coming years, and their pipelines crossing northern B.C., Layton said local governments will not be in a position to make the region livable.
“Being a councillor, I know some issues that virtually every community is struggling with and that is surrounding infrastructure and infrastructure deficit,” he said.
Layton is just getting started with his bid for MP and he said that he does not plan to start campaigning full-time until later in September, following a typical 37-day campaign model.
He plans to take a leave of absence from his councillor position when his campaign gets into full swing and, if elected, will pay for a by-election in Telkwa out of his own pocket.
“I don’t want to stick the people of Telkwa with increased taxes,” he explained.