BC 2017 provincial election

Responses from the Electoral Candidates
Responses are arranged according to the date we received them. The first response received in each party appears at the top of that section.

The British Columbia Libertarian Party individual candidate responses

Art Lowe – candidate for Victoria-Beacon Hill
Dave Sharkey – candidate for Abbotsford West
Bob Clarke – candidate for Mid Island-Pacific Rim
Don Wilson – candidate for North Vancouver-Lonsdale
Alex Joehl – candidate for Langley East

Date: April 24, 2017, 1:28 PM
Subject: re: Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey for BC Election 2017 – Arthritis in British Columbia
From: Art Lowe


Just to point out to you, I have Arthritis and just typing this out is very painful today..

Below you will find where I stand on this issue.

Thank you for you e-mail


Issues affecting people with disabilities in BC

Libertarians are very concerned about poverty, and those with disabilities.

Firstly, let's be clear that despite some political mud-slinging, the Libertarian Party does not intend to reduce anyone's benefits.

The primary cause of poverty is an overall weak economy that traps people who might otherwise be able to improve their situation without any need for government dependency. A major cause of weak economy is unnecessary government intervention, excessive taxation, and minimum wage legislation. Address these first, so that those who can help themselves will do so.

In situations of disability and dire necessity, government assistance is warranted and should be sufficient to maintain a reasonable standard of living. A healthier economy will help towards that. Furthermore, a Libertarian government is prepared to commit a significant proportion of all resource royalties to disability allowance. Our plan to restrict government to its proper role in society will result in massively lower overhead costs for government services, and significantly more funding available for assistance, aids, education, and whatever else is required.

In order to safeguard this funding from appropriation by government, we would support and direct those royalties to non-profits and cooperatives who know and work with people. Bureaucrats weighed down with rules and regulations are not the best people to do this work, and we all know that.

Government cannot "create jobs" except by first taxing other jobs out of existence. Smoke and mirrors will not work. However, with lower taxes, freer markets, fewer unreasonable restrictions, and no carbon tax... British Columbians can and will create the dynamic economy required to generate sufficient wealth to care for all those in need - and give a hand up to all those trying to escape poverty.

Political promises to "create jobs" or "make life affordable" sound good, but it simply is not true because it cannot be done. No government can do that.... but together as citizens, we can. Political promises are easy to make at election time, but they never deliver because there is always some "unforeseen problem" discovered after the election... and we all know this. However, Libertarians have a comprehensive plan that will deliver.

Thank you for asking where we stand on Arthritis and with disabilities

Art Lowe
Victoria, Beacon Hill riding

Date: April 24, 2017, 2:46 PM
Subject: re: Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey for BC Election 2017 – Arthritis in British Columbia
From: Dave Sharkey



Thank you for taking the time to ask our views on this important subject. Though I only speak for myself here, I believe our party may well hold similar views.

I would agree with you that the current system isn't serving those in need with the kind of quality that one would expect or prefer for our loved ones. My view is that patients and medical practitioners alike would be better served by a market based delivery model for the following reasons.

The importance of quality healthcare can't be understated. Timely access to quality care is a matter of location as you point out and will likely change over time as populations and needs change. I take the position that our centralized delivery management model is too slow in responding and often underserves the patient.

Though I'll concede that no system of health delivery is perfect, a move away from the bureaucratic, central method would allow for practitioners and patients to locate themselves according to access and opportunity. To that end, I advocate for relaxing relevant legislation and regulation to invite quality practitioners and insurance providers to fill the gaps left unattended or underserved by our centralized system.

I certainly appreciate the matter of lost work time due to illness and industrial disease and will point out my belief that it is in the public interest to work towards lowering the overall cost of living for the purpose of mitigating the harm associated with such losses to those suffering and their loved ones.

Insofar as public education is concerned, I support the effort by you and your organization and am interested in looking for and relaxing any legislative encumberances that might work to inhibit or chill your message from propagating.

It's my understanding that the Libertarian party believes the best solutions for our current and future needs lye with the ingenuity, initiative and flexibility of our fellow British Columbians and will continue to advocate for that.

Kind regards,

Dave Sharkey

Date: April 24, 2017, 2:50 PM
Subject: re: Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey for BC Election 2017 – Arthritis in British Columbia
From: Bob Clarke


Hello Cheryl,

As an arthritis sufferer myself I am sensitive to this issue. Personally I find great relief in cannabis consumption. I know this is not the end all be all fix for the problem however I would like to see this option made more legally available to those who find relief with it. As it sits now, although they do at least have access through the dispensaries, thousands of people are risking arrest and imprisonment for taking their medicine everyday because their doctors do not agree with cannabis as medicine. It seems the only way to get a legal permit if your doctor is against it is to pay from $250-$1000 to a specialist. Many individuals with joint pain have difficulty finding work so raising extra money for their treatment must be very hard for them especially considering that they then have to pay prices that are in my expert opinion way to high for product that is often sub par. I would like to see this change. Doctors need to start doing their jobs and writing prescriptions or offering referrals to doctors who will. If elected I will personally approach doctors and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and express my concerns about this issue. I will also be writing letters to the federal government that their pricing scheme for LP pot is about 500-700% markup at $8.50/gram and I feel this is unacceptable to patients and will not serve to stop the black market and youth consumption. I am not schooled in further treatments and medicines for arthritis but am always open to education on all matters. I will leave the answering of the survey to my leadership. Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and I would be interested in hearing anything else you have to say. Have a great and hopefully pain free day.

Date: April 25, 2017, 10:15 AM
Subject: re: Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey for BC Election 2017 – Arthritis in British Columbia
From: Don Wilson


Hello Ms. Koehn,

Thank-you for taking the time to reach out to me for my input on these questions.

Arthritis, along with many other debilitating conditions and diseases, is a serious challenge for many British Columbians. The problem, in my view, is that our only health-care provider comes in the form of a government controlled and funded monopoly. The inevitable consequence of this is overly expensive and inefficient health care. The free market is by leaps and bounds the most efficient system for delivering goods and services among strangers. The scope of this problem will only increase with the size of government spending and programs.

I take it this is probably not the sort of response you were looking for, however I do believe it to be true. Accordingly, my answer to all six questions is as follows:

Answer to questions 1 - 6:

A Libertarian government would look for ways to increase competition and consumer choice in the provision of healthcare, which is the most efficient means for developing and distributing services and goods of all types, including arthritis care.

Thank-you once again for your time.

Kind regards,

Donald Wilson
MLA Candidate
North Vancouver-Lonsdale
Libertarian Party of BC

Date: April 29, 2017, 7:42 PM
Subject: re: Arthritis Consumer Experts Survey for BC Election 2017 – Arthritis in British Columbia
From: Alex Joehl


Thank you for your interest in my candidacy.

I'm sorry for the late reply. I've been very busy with all-candidates forums, my full-time job, and trying to spend time with my family too!

Below are answers to your questions!


Alex Joehl
B.C. Libertarian Party
Langley East candidate

Arthritis affects approximately 600,000 BC residents, yet no model of arthritis care is available. This is particularly pronounced outside of the Lower Mainland. Where you live can be more important in determining treatment than how sick or disabled you are.

What will your government do to bring a high quality, evidence-based model of arthritis care for all BC residents?

If elected to power, the B.C. Libertarian Party would build on the existing two-tiered health care system in British Columbia. By allowing private alternatives to MSP we’d see services provided increase, levels of care improve, and costs decrease.

Also, we’d foster the growth of alternative health care solutions, such as Direct Primary Care, where a doctor can operate outside the insurance system, charging a membership fee to his clinics and administering care more freely, instead of being tied to the restrictions that the Canadian Health Act and other legislature puts on them.

A 2016 study by researchers from the University of Calgary and Statistics Canada predicts that by 2031, OA will cost the Canadian economy an estimated $17.5 billion a year in lost productivity. Osteoarthritis forces people to stop working or work less due to pain, fatigue, and the demands of prescribed treatment therapies. The work time loss is significant because of the reducing number of workers available to replace retiring baby boomers after decades of low birth rates.

What will your government do to introduce patient education and exercise programs, such as GLA:D, that have been proven to significantly reduce hip or knee osteoarthritis symptoms?

By introducing competition to the health care system, you’d see various different types of care develop to fulfill the needs of patients, not the whims of administrators, bureaucrats, and politicians. Prevention is the best form of health care.

Aboriginal Canadians have some of the highest rates of serious or lifethreatening arthritis in the world, and are at greater risk for becoming disabled by arthritis. Significant gaps in Aboriginal arthritis care currently exist in BC.

What will your government do to improve the healthcare and lives of Aboriginals living with arthritis in BC?

It is unfortunate that some aboriginals do not have proper access to health care, but I feel this has more to do with the current reservation system that the province has. The B.C. Libertarian Party would make it a priority to finally negotiate treaties with all B.C. aboriginal nations and once-and-for-all recognize sovereignty or foster integration into the rest of society. Then all peoples will finally have equal access to health care in B.C.

Arthritis Consumer Experts annually ranks publicly funded drug formularies based on the number of medically necessary arthritis medications (e.g. biologics, biosimilars and targeted small molecule). B.C. currently sits in fourth place in Canada. What will your government do to improve the province’s ranking and ensure that BC residents living with arthritis, with the help of the doctors who treat them, are able to choose the medication most appropriate for their specific disease and risk factors?

What will your government do to improve the healthcare and lives of Aboriginals living with arthritis in BC?

I feel I’ve answered this with previous answers.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability and work disability in BC. About a quarter of the population with arthritis between 20 and 54 years of age in BC were not in the labour force because of their arthritis.

How will your government establish better prevention programs and facilitate flexible work arrangements to help reduce the direct and indirect costs of arthritis to BC employers and the BC economy?

While the B.C. Libertarian Party would end WorkSafeBC’s monopoly on workplace insurance and worker’s compensation to improve service, we would not legislate back-to-work scenarios for employers. Each employer has a unique situation and not all people suffering from arthritis will be able to return to the job of their choice.

The economic burden of arthritis is expected to double within a generation and strain the BC health system’s ability to provide quality care to BC patients with arthritis.

Will your government take steps to increase the number of rheumatologists and arthritis trained allied health professionals to ensure timely, specialized care for BC patients with arthritis?

There is a lack of practitioners in British Columbia in general. Obviously, specialists are also in high demand.

The B.C. Libertarian Party would not fund or incentivize any programs specifically, but would work to allow more phyisicions to work in B.C., whether they be full-fledged doctors who were Canadian-born and trained abroad, or immigrants, or just medical trainees who are barred from performing certain services because of out-dated laws and the overbearing control of the College of Physicians, which has a government mandate to control the supply of doctors.