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Longtime Nechako Lakes MLA joins Conservative Party of BC

“We need an effective opposition that can fight for the things that are needed,”

That’s from Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad after announcing he will join the Conservative Party of BC.

Rustad has represented his riding as an Independent since last August after he was ousted by the BC Liberals, ending a 17-year-run with that party.

His exit was mainly over social media posts concerning climate change.

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In an interview with Vista Radio, Rustad stated it’s time for a change in Victoria.

“I think it’s time that we have a party that is actually going to be standing for people and not ideologies. I think there is a real hunger – I have heard from thousands of people right across this province including from my own riding that is fed with what is currently going on in Victoria.”

“My job does not change. I am still a representative for the people of Nechako Lakes and I will do everything I can to support my riding. Provincially, it’s very important that we have an effective opposition that can fight for the things that are needed.”

Furthermore, he believes provincial politics have become too much about electing people that represent the party to a riding instead of fighting for constituents.

“I did not see that in the existing party structure from either the NDP or BC Liberals. The Conservatives are the ones that I believe can deliver that for the people of British Columbia.”

Last week, Rustad tabled a 10-thousand-signature petition opposing Bill 36. In November of last year,  the province green-lit the Health Professions and Occupations Act, which will reduce the number of health colleges in BC from 15 down to six.

Simply put, the boards of these colleges will also be fully appointed by the government, rather than the current system where boards are partially elected by those in the profession.

Rustad stated he is displeased by the lack of action taken by the governing NDP to hire back health care professionals – with many believing the system is on the verge of a collapse.

“When you are looking at a petition, like mine on Bill 36, regarding our healthcare heroes, every other province in the country has figured out how to hire back their healthcare heroes and yet we don’t seem to be doing that. We are in a situation where in a healthcare crisis every single individual who can be working in that system would be able to help people and patients.”

“The NDP is refusing to even consider it and the Liberals are giving pretty good lip service but they are not pushing for it either. You look at communities like Houston or Fort Saint James and even in Prince George, we are short health care professionals. One doctor in these communities can make a huge difference.”

Rustad was first elected as an MLA in 2005.

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