You have known her as an avid environmentalist, as a member of the Squamish Chamber of Commerce, and a writer for local publications. Now, Ana Santos is trying to cast herself in a new light. An interview with the NDP candidate for the Sea to Sky West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding.
Ana, why did you decide to run as an NDP MLA candidate in this region?
Because the NDP have hit the nail on the head with their number one priority: education and skills training. Education is key; it’s like manure in the soil of a farm.
It leads to better jobs, better management in business, better care for the environment, and down at the individual level, it leads to better choices, including better lifestyle and food choices, which lead to better health, which leads to savings in healthcare…
If elected, what would you bring to the table?
Freshness; no baggage; limitless enthusiasm; a wide open mind; an innate collaborative spirit; thirst for knowledge; hunger for positive action, and a very colourful attitude.
Why should people in Squamish vote for you ?
Because it is time to change the camera angle. This riding has been looked at from the same perspective for far too long, so the same cracks are missed time and time again.
It is time to look at it from the perspective of those who struggle to make ends meet, from the perspective of small businesses who don’t know if they will be able to open their doors next month, from the perspective of those who need transit to go to work or simply to go out and enjoy themselves, from the perspective of the families who cannot afford childcare…
What are some of the issues facing Squamish, in your view, the top three issues ?
-Local jobs shortage and small business viability.
-The ability to put the pieces of the puzzle together to create a socially and economically vibrant community.
Since we are a commuter town, what would you do to enhance transit?
-To begin with, I’d step up efforts that I have already been engaged in during the past few years. I’d bring all the stakeholders to the table, but this time, I’d lock the door and keep everybody hostage until we find the solution to this problem.
-I’ll be attending a Transportation Forum in Vancouver next week – I’ll start exploring the possibilities right there!
-I’m also looking forward to working with local governments in the riding to spend carbon tax revenues (yes, we are keeping the carbon tax!) on our transit systems.
How can a provincial MLA help in creating jobs in our town ?
I’ll be able to help create jobs in the entire riding by making sure education and skills training remain our first priorities and receive the much needed resources that they have been gradually starved of for so long.
Good education and skills availability are the foundations of a sustainable economy which will attract meaningful investment.
If the NDP comes into power and you are elected, what are some of the things you can achieve for Squamish ?
There are two things in particular that I’d like to engage the whole riding in;
Creating cohesion and opportunities for collaboration amongst the communities, so that each one benefits from the uniqueness and strengths of the others.
Increasing regional resilience. Again, this has a lot to do with education, as it brings better economic opportunities for people, who will depend less on services that we all have to pay for.
But it also has to do with things like looking after our waterways, and producing (and consuming!) more of our own food.
For instance, introducing our fresh locally grown food in government-funded institutions can lead to healthier people (reduced healthcare costs!), a stronger regional economy, and a more sustainable agriculture sector.
Some people feel that as an environmentalist, you might be opposed to industry or development; what is your view
My view is that the label “environmentalist” is outdated. Everything is interrelated.
I am pro industry and pro development, but I expect them to be socially and environmentally responsible.
Those are the same expectations I have of each and every one of us; why should it be any different when it comes to the other aspects of our lives?
How will you ensure there will be a right balance between protecting the environment and creating job ?
I don’t see that protecting the environment and creating jobs are two mutually exclusive things. It’s actually quite the opposite, because an unhealthy environment equals unhealthy people, and this equals an unhealthy economy, as these people will not be able to contribute positively in our communities.
Besides, watch this space, because the new jobs will be created precisely in sectors related to environmental protection.