Meet Penticton's Liberal MLA candidate Dan Ashton

Meet your Liberal candidate

Castanet Penticton is conducting a brief "Meet your Candidate" interview with each of the four Penticton riding MLA candidates. Watch for one each morning leading up to the Herald all-candidates forum on Tuesday Oct. 13, live streamed on Castanet. 

Dan Ashton has been elected as Penticton's MLA twice now, and this Oct. 24 he is hoping for a third win. 

"I'm a longtime resident of the valley, we came here in 1955 when I was a couple weeks old, lived in Penticton until 1963 and moved to Trout Creek. Grew up here, graduated from Summerland Secondary School, took formal education in Washington State, and have always been involved in the local community as best I can following in my family's footsteps," Ashton says, by way of brief introduction. 

For him, the biggest issue facing constituents in the Penticton riding, which encompasses the city itself as well as Summerland, Peachland and Naramata, is the economy as a result of the ongoing pandemic. 

"We have to get people back to work. It's incredibly important," Ashton says. "Yes, the COVID issue is a major issue worldwide, but BC has done very well and Dr. Bonnie Henry, my compliments go out to her for being able to get a handle on it and being able to hold it tight in British Columbia but there's an awful lot of people suffering out there and before the election call I was amazed at the number of people coming into our office or phoning our office just looking for a way to survive. So we have to get people back to work and get our economy going."

That said, Ashton believes in caution and safety until an effective vaccine is found and distributed. 

"Social distancing is the new norm," Ashton says. "We know that the Okanagan, touch wood, hasn't been affected like other places in the province and in Canada, when I look at Ontario and Quebec. So we have to be careful, but we also need to give people an opportunity to survive." 

Ashton has served as MLA for nearly 8 years, and has a few standout projects that he points to as evidence of follow through on promises to his constituents. 

"The number one thing for me is the David Kampe Tower and the ongoing renovations at the [Penticton Regional Hospital]. There are so many people in the South Okanagan and Similkameen that made personal contributions to that," Ashton says. 

He also feels proud of the influx of supportive housing while he has been MLA.

"I am all for giving the hand up and helping out, I'm there also for a hand out up to a point, but you give a hand up to ensure you can lift them up from some of the issues that are facing them and try to get them back into regular society and be contributors. And they do want to contribute, I know that, it's just we have to give them an opportunity," Ashton said. 

He is not happy that this provincial election was called, and says the minority NDP government fostered good work during as the pandemic set in.

"I think people's ideals and aspirations need to be checked at some point in time, and right now, this was not, in my opinion, not the time to call an election. However, an election has been called," Ashton says. "I saw the [Legislature] working incredibly well when this COVID issue arose first of all. And until the summer session finished, I have never seen the Legislature work as well as we did. And if that is what is going to happen again, as a minority government, I think it will be a good check and balance in the system where everybody will be forced to work together, and you won't have a majority that has the rule of the roost. So that would be the minimum I would look forward to seeing." 

Watch the full interview above, and hear more from Ashton and the three others campaigning in Penticton answer the tough questions at the Penticton Herald all-candidates forum Tuesday Oct. 13 at 7p.m., live streamed on Castanet.

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