Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley was at Ladysmith Intermediate School April 25, giving a speech to a small group of captivated students. Routley discussed and was asked questions on a variety of topics, including gas prices, hunting, education and politics itself.
With gas prices skyrocketing up and down the Island since the Easter weekend, Routley admitted he is “essentially powerless” when it comes to keeping them down.
“Sometimes we can put forward a private member bill, which is essentially our own idea for a law, but they very rarely pass,” he said. “Government is like steering a ship. But steering the ship isn’t the only thing. There is the wind, the tide and the storm as well. If we want to change something, it takes a lot of organization and a lot of avenues to go down. Some argue if we were to try and make gas prices cheaper, more people would burn more of it. There is no simple answer.”
The education topic was bound to come up and duly did, following more strike action by B.C.’s teachers as well as the recent uproar of change in the Ladysmith zone.
“There is so much criticism of schools and we’re seeing more students choosing home school. We try not to contribute to that,” said Routley. “Even though teachers are not supported enough and they have a struggle, they still produce an excellent service and students get an excellent education. Working together, you guys create excellence. If we want a safe, secure, thriving education system moving forward, we have to add to education and we’re not doing that right now. We have to add to it, that’s our message.”
Routley admitted that he wasn’t interested in politics from the get-go prior to becoming a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Victoria, but was “interested in justice.”
“We as human beings have a natural sense of what is right and what is wrong,” he said. “My father’s politics are not always the same as mine, but he’s open to debate and if I can convince him that I’m right, then that’s OK. We as human beings deserve to govern ourselves, and you will all get a vote. When we go to the polls, the government that wins has the confidence of the people. If you vote me in and then I do the opposite of what I’ve said I’ll do or what you’ve asked, I deserve to be kicked out.”