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Cloverdale resident running for B.C. Greens in Surrey-Cloverdale riding

Pat McCutcheon thinks a more proactive approach is needed in provincial politics
Pat McCutcheon is running for the B.C. Greens in the riding of Surrey-Cloverdale for the 2024 B.C. provincial election.

Pat McCutcheon wants your vote in the upcoming B.C. provincial election.

McCutcheon, a retired engineer, is running as the Green Party candidate for Surrey-Cloverdale.

He said the high cost of living, climate change, and the steady decline in services that are available to Surreyites over the last three decades all drove him into politics in his quest to effect meaningful change.

“I’ve watched the health-care situation in Surrey deteriorate," said McCutcheon, who has lived in Cloverdale for more than 20 years. “I’ve watched the public-education system collapse. I’ve watched housing affordability go through the roof—the cost of living, and of course climate change.”

He said he got involved with the B.C. Greens in 2019 because of his concerns over climate change. He said the party also has a lot of “very progressive and innovative ideas” that could help fix problems with affordable housing, health care, and public education.

McCutcheon's been frustrated with successive provincial governments for 30 years.

“It doesn't matter which party we're talking about … they take a reactive approach to the concerns and the demands that are on the various social services, like health care and public education,” he explained.

“Take public education, for instance. We know what the growth rate is in this city. We know there are 15,000 new people coming into Surrey each year. We know the neighbourhoods that are being built out. City Hall has developed 5 to 10 year plans for those neighbourhoods. But our provincial government waits until the student population shows up … so the day the doors open on that new school, they've got to drop another four portables on that property.”

He added the answer is to build the schools based on growth projections. “It’s unacceptable to me that we have about 400 portables in Surrey.”

McCutcheon said his party will solve the family doctor crisis in B.C. with a new “hub” model. He noted 900,000 people in B.C. don’t have family doctors.

“We do not have a shortage of family doctors in the province,” he explained. “In fact, we’ve got 6,600 family doctors. It’s just that about 2,500 of them, or so, don’t want to work in a family doctor practice because they don't want all the (hassles) that come with running a small business. They want to practice medicine.”

He said while red tape and business management woes are preventing many family doctors from opening their own practices. He said the B.C. Greens have a unique approach to solve the problem.

“We’re proposing what are known as Community Health Care Units,” McCutcheon explained. “These are team-based facilities, much like high schools where the government provides the infrastructure, the administration, and the maintenance.”

He said the government would open them and run them and hire all the staff and doctors. He said the doctors only responsibility would be to practice medicine. The plan would be for each big area to have one. In Surrey’s case, that would mean one for each of its five neighbourhoods. 

In terms of the high cost of living facing many British Columbians, McCutcheon said his party would address that too.

"The B.C. Greens are proposing the following,” he said. “Overhaul the income tax system, shifting the burden more on to the high-income earners. Low- and middle-income earners would receive significant tax breaks, while the high-income earners would pay more.”

He said this will help to reverse the "accelerating" income and wealth gap in the province.

“Introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies,” he added. “Twenty-nine countries around the world have done this.”

He said his party would raise the qualifying income level on rental assistance programs such as SAFER and RAP, if elected.

"The Green party brings progressive, evidence-based policies to the table," McCutcheon added. "They will definitely improve our situation for a lot of the issues in B.C. We don't need to do things the way they've been done for the last four years. There are better way to do things."

McCutcheon joins B.C. NDP incumbent Mike Starchuk, B.C. United candidate Dr. Claudine Storness-Bliss, and surprise B.C. Conservative candidate Elenore Sturko in what political commentators say will be a hotly contested riding over the next four months in the run up to the 2024 B.C. provincial election.

In terms of the next election, the riding of Surrey-Cloverdale has changed a little. The western portion, from Highway 15 west, including West Cloverdale, is now part of the new riding of Surrey-Serpentine River.

The provincial election will be held Oct. 19, 2024.

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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