Craig Speirs: Let’s get involved and make Canada a better place

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      Get involved.

      That’s the message I am spreading as the NDP candidate for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission.

      People have to get involved in any way they can to help make this a better place to live.

      When I was at a crossroads in my life, I decided that getting involved as a volunteer was the best way to get started making a difference.

      An environmental and social activist, I am the past director of the Ridge-Meadows Recycling Society and the Fraser Information Society.

      I have also dedicated my life to helping sick children receive better care through volunteer efforts for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital, where I am a past chair of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows fundraising committee. My favourite fundraising event was the annual Teddy Bear Picnic Tea and Clinic. For service to B.C. children, I was the recipient of the Canada 125 medal and I have received the Outstanding Service Award from the Golden Ears Kiwanis Club.

      The next logical extension of my volunteer work was getting involved at the municipal level. I remember standing at the side of a Maple Ridge road 12 years ago and watching polluted water coming down a stream due to a clear-cut.

      The water was black. Its vibrant ecosystem was suddenly under attack by somebody who had acted irresponsibly. I wanted to change the system to protect our community.

      The experience motivated me to run for council in the District of Maple Ridge, where I am currently serving a fourth term as a councillor. I am currently a director of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and the B.C. Municipal Insurance Association, and also serve as council liaison for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Arts Council and the Alouette River Management Society. I am also a member of the Maple Ridge Public Art Committee and on the advisory board for the UBC research forest.

      I am running to be a member of Parliament so I can work to provide hope for the many seniors, youth, the unemployed, the working poor, and all the average Canadians who have been ignored. As Stephen Harper has been looking for more tax breaks for his corporate friends, he has forgotten who he is actually serving. Any economic recovery, to be valid, has to include everybody. I just want to serve. People should know that many of the changes that would benefit our society are changes I would fight for and I know how to fight.

      One area I am especially concerned about is the health of our salmon industry. Nearly $57 million is set to be slashed from the DFO’s budget during the next couple of years. All this while Justice Bruce Cohen is conducting an inquiry into the dismal state of Fraser River sockeye. Talk about arrogant. A $57-million reduction would all but cripple DFO’s ability to respond to any critical incident, never mind the Cohen inquiry and what its findings might bring. DFO is on life support and Stephen Harper offers amputation.

      I am retired after 34 years with the Liquor Distribution Branch, where I received the Cash Initiative award for creating a recycling system.

      I have been a resident of Maple Ridge since 1973 and have been married for more than 20 years to Diane. We have two children.

      In my spare time, I enjoy photography, organic gardening, hiking local trails, and am a wine columnist and educator.

      Craig Speirs is the NDP candidate for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission.



      lefton lougheed

      Apr 26, 2011 at 8:50pm

      Craig is an asset to our community. The only downside of seeing him elected as MP is the huge hole it will leave on an otherwise right-wing council.

      Elizabeth Rosenau

      Apr 26, 2011 at 9:56pm

      Craig is an asset to our community but once he's elected as MP we could feel good about lending him to the country as a whole temporarily. I know Craig has a great set of priorities and puts people first.... Now we've got to find some good candidates for those council seats.


      Apr 29, 2011 at 2:18pm

      Craig, you rock! I'm a bit confused about the sockeye comment - I thought last year's run was one of the biggest in recent history?? Are you concerned about habitat loss or fish-in-the-ocean numbers (obviously they are connected)? Good luck on Monday.