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In the lead up to the provincial election on October 24, Q101 will be posting several articles highlighting the local candidates’ thoughts on issues facing Merritt, Fraser-Nicola, and the province. 

The four confirmed candidates in the riding are Liberal Incumbent Jackie Tegart, NDP Aaron Sumexheltza, Green Jonah Timms, and Independent Mike Bhangu.

Today, the four candidates were asked about housing.

In particular, the candidates were asked about the need for more affordable housing across the riding and British Columbia and what can be done to address that need. 

*Candidates are listed in alphabetical order

Mike Bhangu, Independent 

That’s a requirement and it’s needed immediately. One thing that we are not addressing is the ridiculous cost of housing, if housing didn’t cost so much would so many folks be without a home, would so many folks be none home-owners, I don’t think so. 

We need to focus on, and seriously try to bring down the cost of housing, or significantly increase wages, one or the other has to give. Right now it’s insane the type of conditions that an individual has to attempt to thrive under. 

People are not thriving, they’re barely surviving, and this isn’t living.

Aaron Sumexheltza, NDP

Since the NDP was in government three and a half years ago they have invested in affordable housing. One example that I know of is not here in town but outside in one of the first nation communities. 

We need to continue doing what we’re doing, a lot has been done but there is much more to be done in the future. Also moving forward supporting businesses and companies that are interested in building affordable housing. 

The government can do a lot and I’m confident moving forward that an NDP Government will support affordable housing being built in your local area.

Jackie Tegart, Liberal (Incumbent)

I think that the Government needs to work very closely with locally elected governments. Through the provincial government working with municipal governments in a meaningful way, we can talk about strategies that work for their municipalities. 

I think a blanket statement sounds good but doesn’t actually deliver what the community needs. I’ve always been one that believes we should consult, and we should listen, and then we should talk about what that community needs. 

If we’re working together, I think we can deliver exactly what the community needs. 

Jonah Timms, Green

We need to find more efficient ways for the Feds, the Province, First Nations, non-profits, cooperatives, and private developers to work together to make sure housing is affordable in new developments in the riding. 

It's pretty hard to feel like a member of the community when you're having housing challenges and having difficulties. People in Merritt have informed me that housing is really difficult to find. I live in Lillooet and housing is really difficult to find here. It's not necessarily that it's too expensive there is just not enough supply on the market.

We need to find ways of partnering with our first nation communities, our municipalities, and our private developers to get more housing on the market which will bring down the price. I believe that will ultimately bring down rental prices in these rural communities where people want to move to but they just need somewhere to live.


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