Canadian Federal Election

Meeting the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge candidate: Steve Ranta goes it alone

Steve Ranta answered a question at the Whonnock all-candidates meeting earlier this month. - Cole Wagner/TIMES
Steve Ranta answered a question at the Whonnock all-candidates meeting earlier this month.
— image credit: Cole Wagner/TIMES

by Cole Wagner

Steve Ranta’s manner of speaking has a tendency to catch you off guard.

It’s slower than you might expect, especially for someone with so much to say.

Ranta speaks deliberately, with a distinctively low tone – sometimes pausing for dramatic effect.

It’s a voice that makes him easy to pick out of a crowd – which works well for Ranta, who is running in the federal election as the riding’s only independent candidate.

But his vocal cadence isn’t the only thing that separates Ranta from the other candidates. He also believes that the major parties are downplaying issues which should be brought to the forefront of public discussion.

“I really felt that if there’s no real good choice to vote for, I feel it’s a responsibility of citizens to give people a chance to vote for someone who will give them an informed choice,” Ranta explained.

Ranta, who first moved to Maple Ridge in the early ’60s as a young boy, has deep roots in the riding.

He attended Mount Crescent Elementary (now annexed to Maple Ridge Secondary), and graduated from Maple Ridge Secondary.

He taught at Westview Secondary  when it was still a junior high in the late ’80s – “A happening place at the time,” Ranta laughed – before moving to Garibaldi Secondary.

Politics though, have always been a passion for Ranta.

“I was really political when I was a teacher – I was outspoken with my political beliefs. I believed that having input in decisions was always better than forcing top-down decisions,” he explained.

“If people buy into a program, it always works better than if you force it on people.”

Canadians are being tricked into enduring “top-down decision making,” which isn’t working in their best interests, said Ranta.

He points to deals like Foreign Investment Protection Agreements, which he says offers foreign corporations the legal recourse to overturn any Canadian legislation which might affect the corporations’ profits.

Essentially the agreement handcuffs the ability of municipalities, provinces and the federal government to introduce new environmental or workers’ protection legislation.

“It’s a 30-year agreement, and the loyal opposition haven’t made a peep about it,” said Ranta.

He’s also staunchly against free trade agreements, like the recently signed (in principle) Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Ranta maintains that all the current parties are guilty of snowing the public – pointing to a corrupt political system which favours the rich and elite.

Being an independent means Ranta isn’t forced to spout the party lines – something he sees as an advantage.

“Being a party candidate, you feel obligated to toe the party line until the point where you’re repeating absurdities. Who knows where that line is coming from – maybe a public relations firm in New York,” said Ranta.

The former teacher is also running to counter what he believes is an intentional culture of fear, created by the major parties.

“When you’re more anxious, you’re more likely to vote for a party reassuring you that ‘There are things to fear out there, but we’ll protect you,’” noted Ranta.

And at the end of the day, getting the issues heard is what really matters to Ranta.

“I hope that people appreciate that I am trying to add to the spectrum of opinion and facts – and a lot of people agree with me. They might not vote for strategic reasons, but some people will,” he explained.

• Click here to see Ranta's answers to The TIMES 20 Questions

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