My Vote, My Future: Maria Szabo on BC Election 2017

Apr 27 2017, 11:56 pm

Ahead of the BC election, Daily Hive is profiling young voters from across the province. Want to join in and share your thoughts? Email [email protected], subject line: My Future.

Who are you?

Maria Szabo.

How old are you?

I’m turning twenty-three very soon!

What do you do?

I was working at a personal injury law firm, but for the duration of the election proceedings I am managing a local campaign for the BC NDP. I graduated from SFU last June with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Legal Studies.

Where do you live?

I live with my parents and younger brothers in Surrey, on what is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples.

Have you voted before?

Yes! At all levels. Whenever they’ll let me!

Do you plan on voting this time?

I already have. Early voting is a powerful thing.

Does your family influence how you vote?

Now? Not at all. But when I was first eligible to vote, I will admit that they did.

I think I’ve always been politically-minded; I have always had an interest in government and the injustices within our society.

I mean, when I was six, I wanted to be Prime Minister when I grew up. I have also always been a very curious person, and as a kid, I was a bit of a sponge.

So I absorbed the opinions of those around me–my parents and my family, who happened to be rather conservative. I trusted my parents, so I trusted their understanding of things.

Being inquisitive and also increasingly more critical as I advanced through my education and lived my own experiences, I came to the realization that my political beliefs were not–and had never been–aligned with those of my family.

The values I revere have never changed, but I think I have come to understand the way that we solve the problems that we encounter as a society differently. This is why I think political education and engagement is really important.

How closely do you follow BC politics?

Pretty closely, but only since fairly recently.

I studied political science at SFU but my interests at the time were usually in the realm of international relations, so those were the classes I tended to take.

In my last year at school, I got involved in a federal election campaign with the NDP and my focus shifted towards Canadian issues.

I am really passionate about creating a better world for everyone to enjoy, and I’ve realized that it starts with home.

I think I can say now that I am most invested in BC politics, not solely because it’s an election year, but because I’ve realized that most of the political issues that I care about fall within provincial jurisdiction–like education, health care, and social development. I also think provinces need to lead the way in areas like climate action and electoral reform.

Do you know who your local candidates are?

Harry Bains is the incumbent, the candidate for the BC NDP. He’s up against Gurminder Singh Parihar for the BC Liberals, Richard Krieger for the Green Party, and Balpreet Bal, an independent.

Can you name the three party leaders?

You bet I can! John Horgan, Christy Clark, and Andrew Weaver are all vying to become our next Premier.

Would you ever consider running for office?

Despite the fact that I wanted Chrétien’s job when I was six, running for office isn’t something that I have genuinely given much thought.

I have so much admiration for the people who put themselves forward to be entrusted with representing the population, when they’re doing so to create systemic change that will benefit not just those who elected them, but our society as a whole and their future generations.

That motivation resonates with me, but I think the same sort of goal can be accomplished by other means, without having to be in the spotlight!

What issues do you care most about?

Affordability and housing

I worked a minimum wage (just $10.25) job in university as it was all that was available to me, and it was pretty impossible to save because of the expenses associated with being a student, which are exorbitant.

The job I finally landed after my graduation was not much better and I still live at home with my parents, because rental spaces are low in number and high in cost.

I’m still paying an MSP premium while I watch my auto insurance rates hike each year.

My expenses are getting costlier–and it’s costly for my confidence in making my BC my home for years to come (I have, at this point, written off the idea of ever owning a home).

It affects me because I can see how these things affect my parents. These are very middle class concerns, though, and I am even more impacted by the idea of how this broader issue of neglectfulness and mismanagement by our government affects those who do not have the same advantages and safety nets that I do.

Affordability is important because we all struggle when our hidden taxes are hiked right under our noses, but it disproportionately impacts the least fortunate among us. People that are already getting left behind just can’t get ahead. When it’s the fault of our government, it shows that they don’t care.

The environment

I’m affected by the destruction of our environment by a government that cares only about its corporate donors, because we know that these dirty projects are not good for our communities.

They’re not good for the future of BC, and that means they’re not good for jobs or our economy, despite the government’s claims.

The environment is another important topic for me because we’re seeing corporate donors from the United States influence the decisions of our government to get their projects pushed through… while our own citizens’ concerns are being disregarded.

It speaks to representation, partially, and it also speaks to the tech sector, jobs, ridesharing, transit…

If we were focused on taking care of our environment, it means that we would be looking to increase jobs in the tech sector and in green energy; it means that we would be promoting better public transportation and thinking about introducing a (fair and regulated) system of ridesharing.

But we aren’t, so those things are being painfully ignored.

I want to see a BC NDP government because I truly believe this is the only party that is working for regular people.

We can see that the Liberals care most about their top donors and the 1% and I have problems with that.

Christy Clark likes to talk about her jobs record, as if that’s solving the problem. My friends and family work hard in full-time, permanent jobs and they are still struggling to get by.

She likes to talk about investing in our kids and our future, but as a young person (“the future”), I have to tell you: I don’t feel like Christy Clark is investing in me.

I feel lost and uncertain, even anxious about BC’s future and what I want to see is a government that stands up for young people, works for regular people, and helps those that need it the most. I think the BC NDP’s platform is the only one that shows a commitment to that.

Are you a young British Columbian and eligible to vote in the BC election? We would love to profile you. Email [email protected], subject line: My Future, to find out more.

Daily Hive is your home for BC Election coverage throughout the campaign period. To access our full BC Election coverage click here: Battleground BC.

See also
DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News
+ Politics
+ BC Election 2017