2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: North Island-Powell River candidates address other issues of importance

“Other than the topics already discussed, what is the most important issue in your constituency?”

In an effort to inform the North island-Powell River riding constituents, we have supplied all candidates with a series of questions. Each week, we will publish their answers to questions pertinent to this riding.

In this article, the five Courtenay-Alberni candidates answer the following question: “Other than the topics already discussed, what do you feel is the most important issue in your constituency?” (300 word maximum). Order of placement was done at random.

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PETER SCHWARZHOFF

Liberal Party of Canada

Peter Schwarzhoff is the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for the North Island-Powell River riding. Photo supplied.

Canada’s economy is strong and growing, but the rising cost of living is making it harder for everyone to share in that success. For too many families, it’s still tough to make ends meet.

I have met a young family with two small children that are so thankful that the Liberal government introduced the tax free Canada Child Benefit.

The parents in this family both work full time, but were still short every month to pay their rent and hydro bills. Now the money they receive from the CCB means they don’t have to decide whether to pay the rent or have their hydro cut off. There is enough for both. And they can put healthy food on the table.

Across the country this one new policy has helped lift 300,000 children out of poverty.

We intend to improve that program and also make sure families get more money right away, by making maternity and parental benefits tax free.

We’ve already created tens of thousands of new pre-school child care spaces, and now will move forward with creating up to 250,000 more before and after school spaces for kids under 10, with at least 10 per cent of these new spaces set aside for care during extended hours.

All this and more to keep our promise to support the average Canadian family.

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SHELLEY DOWNEY

Conservative Party of Canada

Shelley Downey is the Conservative Party of Canada candidate for the North Island-Powell River riding. Photo supplied.

The Conservative Party is the only party who is supporting resource sector jobs.

Last summer we saw what happens when decisions are made for political reasons and are not science based. The Chinook salmon closure was not recommended by DFO scientists and was an 11th hour political decision leaving businesses across the riding in the position of having invested and prepared for the upcoming salmon season and then having no corresponding revenue until mid July.

Conservatives recognise the importance of our wild salmon stocks. We will enhance and rebuild wild Pacific salmon stocks by increasing support for community-led conservation and enhancement projects.

The Liberals reversed their position on aquaculture by including closed containment systems by 2025 in their platform. The Greens have committed to the same and our NDP incumbent has stated that she too is an advocate for this unworkable system. We are the only party who is supporting aquaculture.

If closed containment is mandated, we will see the elimination of 7,000 jobs and the loss of $1.5 billion of revenue in our economy. Investment will cease immediately.

Conservatives will also create a national energy corridor. It will move Canadian resources and energy from coast to coast. It will minimize environmental impacts and lower the costs of environmental assessments without sacrificing quality. It will increase certainty for investors and help to get critical projects built and create good-paying jobs.

Governance is a responsibility to allocate resources and provide services for the betterment of our citizens and country as a whole. There has to be a balance between jobs and environment. Under the Liberal, NDP, Green platforms, we have to ask the question, will there be any jobs left in this riding?

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RACHEL BLANEY

New Democratic Party

Rachel Blaney is seeking re-election in the North Island-Powell River riding. Photo supplied.

In my term as your MP, a key role I held was that of Seniors spokesperson. When I was appointed to this role I did 11 town halls across the riding. I learned a lot, one thing that stood out was how many seniors told me they were getting, or had been divorced, for financial reasons. I learned that when one spouse went into a care facility, up to 80% of their income went to pay for that, leaving 20% of the income for the other spouse to live on. Facilities were recommending that married couples get divorced so their pensions would be split in half. When I shared this in Ottawa, I had a conservative and a liberal MP come meet with me. Together we worked with the Minister and found a solution. It is always good to find solutions for our communities through collaboration.”

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GLEN STAPLES

Independent

Glen Staples is running as an independent candidate for North Island-Powell River. Photo supplied

There is a real frustration with politics. One student commented about the debate between party leaders: “If we behaved like that in school, we would be sent to the office.” Another commented on how politicians avoid questions; pretending to answer, but their answer has nothing to do with the question. Candidates for parties repeat their party’s promises to pay for all kinds of benefits and reduce taxes. Taxpayers are later forced to pay for all benefits plus the extra administrative costs and interest charges on the debt.

We need to reboot parliament by electing independents. The original parliament was all independents who actually represented each riding. The candidates got elected on the basis of character, trust and leadership not promises of benefits. The MPs would select the prime minister who served the parliament rather than the modern system where the PM rules the parliament through control of MPs. After parties were formed, the leaders of parties were selected by the MPs. So originally, each level was answerable to the level below. Our parliament has gradually become more polarized and more top down. Party leaders are chosen in massive expensive marketing campaigns paid for by wealth and power. Party leaders then dictate who runs, what MPs say and how they vote. Negative campaigns are used to keep supporters tight and competitors away.

As an independent MP I would be able to work with all parties, but would not be controlled by any party leader. I could vote according to my conscience and my constituents.

Some voters feel compelled to vote strategically out of fear. But every vote for me is a message to the big parties that they need to change the system. It’s better to walk a mile in the right direction than 10 miles in the wrong direction.

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BRIAN RUNDLE

People’s Party of Canada

People’s Party of Canada North Island-Powell River candidate Brian Rundle. Photo supplied.

The most important issue in this riding is the economy and jobs. We have a logging industry where many people are on strike, some are unemployed and mills are closing. The aquaculture industry has just been given a notice to shut down their farm netted fish pens by 2025 and move to closed containment by the liberal government. Closed containment is not presently viable and therefore this means that these farms will be moving to other countries, resulting in the loss of 7,000 jobs in this industry. The NDP and Greens support the Liberal government decision. All in the name of “sustainable development” proposed by the United Nation’s agenda 21 and eagerly agreed to by Trudeau, the Greens and the NDP.

The UN has 17 goals as part of the “sustainable development” plan for the world and it involves the inventory and control of all land, water, minerals, plants, animals, construction, energy, means of production, food, information, education and people on this planet. The plan is to implement social equity, ecology and economy of the world including Canada, Social equity is a goal to even the standard of living between the developed industrialized nations and the third world. This is done through wealth transfers to developing nations, restriction of land, water and use of natural resources, The People’s Party will not let this globalism happen without a fight. The aquaculture and silviculture industries need help with science, technology and trade agreements, not radical decisions to shut them down.

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MARK de BRUIJN

Green Party of Canada

Mark de Bruijn is the Green Party of Canada candidate for the North Island-Powell River riding. Photo supplied

There are a number of important issues in our riding that have not been discussed in this weekly column. Chief among those are unsustainable forestry practices, especially in our few remaining old-growth stands, and local and sustainable agriculture and food security.

But the overarching challenge is the climate emergency. The Green Party has a comprehensive 20-point climate action plan, that we call Mission: Possible, for transitioning Canada to a prosperous green economy, and saving our planet. It is accompanied by a complete budget approved by the Parliamentary Budget Office for realism. Both can be seen in full detail at greenparty.ca.

However, recently the issue of integrity and honesty has arisen in our local campaign. In the past few days many homes have been receiving a 5”x8” card in the mail from the NDP which can only be called an American-style right wing attack ad. It aggressively seeks to disparage an opposing party that it clearly sees as a threat.

The card uses several “quotes” taken completely out of context to misrepresent the Green Party’s values and policies. These shameful and deceitful lies are a smoke screen for a lack of confidence in the party’s own policies. It’s an underhanded attempt to deter NDP supporters from voting Green this time.

Such egregious behaviour does not serve democracy. It is insulting to voters, and should be beneath the dignity and values of any Canadian party and its MPs. Greens never have and never will engage in such smear tactics. As your Green MP neither will I.

If you receive such material from one party about another, don’t believe it. Recognize it for the junk mail that it is, and place it in your recycle bin. Then do research and make your own decision about how you will vote based on facts.

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CARLA NEAL

Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

Carla Neal is the North Island-Powell River candidate for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. Photo supplied

Carla Neal chose not to answer the question.

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