The NDP’s Doug Routley hugs supporter Linda Brown after being declared the winner for Nanaimo-North Cowichan in the May 14 provincial election.

Routley’s priorities include seniors, forestry and environment

As an opposition MLA, the NDP's Doug Routley says he has to make sure his constituents' voices are heard.

As an MLA for the opposition NDP for a third consecutive term, Doug Routley says his focus will be on bringing the voices of his community to government and making sure they’re heard.

His party won’t have the control over policy that it would have had it won the May 14 provincial election, but while Routley is disappointed in that, he’s ready to work with his constituents to address their issues.

“Our job is to be the voices of our community and take that message to the government as forcibly as possible,” he said. “We need to remember the seniors in care who will go on needing our help, we need to remember the forest workers who will go on needing defence as they see their jobs shift away in the form of raw logs from this province, we need to remember the people and the environment and that we will work together with every stakeholder to defend our coast. We’re going to have to stand with First Nations, we’re going to have to stand with communities along the threatened route of that pipeline, we’re going to have to stand with people on the coast to protect this province. We’ve been doing that and we’ll have to continue to do that, and we will continue to do that.”

Routley was declared the MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan shortly before 10 p.m. May 14. At the end of the night, preliminary results showed Routley ahead with 10,188 votes, followed by Liberal candidate Amanda Jacobson with 6,891. Trailing in third place was Green Party candidate Mayo McDonough with 2,945 votes, followed by BC Conservative candidate John Sherry (1,442 votes) and independent candidates Murray McNab (584 votes) and P. Anna Paddon (62 votes).

Looking ahead, Routley says his priorities are to “consolidate the strength we have in opposition, to ensure that we are forcing the government to hear the citizens of this province.”

“When it comes to tankers off the coast, something like 75 to 80 per cent of people are opposed to that, so those sort of battles need to be won in maybe a different way than had we won,” he said. “We have to work with people in our communities to find solutions to forestry issues and support our seniors and support kids in school in maybe different ways than had we won.”

As the opposition, Routley says the NDP has less control over the policy that can directly affect these issues that concern his constituents.

“In our platform, we laid out what steps we would take in policy,” he said. “[Had we won] we would be directly in control. We need to continue what we’ve been doing and work with our communities and stakeholder groups in each area we’re concerned about and put as much pressure on the government to respond to our community’s needs.”

Routley believes he can be an effective MLA in this Liberal government by listening to his community.

“I guess the way every MLA in government should approach that is to listen to voices that are out there in the community and be responsive,” he said. “Our job is to take the voices in our community to Victoria and affect change by making sure they are heard, but also by maintaining relationships in all the ministries that allow us to achieve results for people, so we’re working with ministers to solve problems for people. The real core of it is to get real solutions for people, and we do that within these sometimes complex relationships within democracy itself so we can get the kind of movement they need.”

Routley lives in Duncan with his partner, Leanne Finlayson. He has a daughter, Madeline, step-son Matthew and step-daughter Brooklynne.

This will be his third term as MLA.

“I think a large part of what inspired me in the beginning was a desire to see public services thrive and be as responsive and supportive of our community as possible,” he said. “What inspires me to continue is the amazing privilege of working with people in the community who are committed to change and are committed to their community’s well being. It’s really quite awesome how many people are out there working in dozens and dozens of sectors for the good of the community. They ensure everyone has the resources and opportunity to achieve their goals.”

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