The three candidates for Courtenay-Comox debated in a virtual forum on Oct. 8. Image, screenshot

Courtenay-Comox candidates face off in online debate

Issues at chamber event included seniors’ homes, economy, housing

The three candidates vying for the Courtenay-Comox electoral district made their pitch to voters during an online debate Thursday night.

The Oct. 8 event, hosted by the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, was held via video link with candidates giving brief introductory and closing remarks but spending the most time answering 10 submitted questions.

Some of the major responsibilities of the provincial government such as health care and education did not come into play. Instead, the questions tackled topics such as seniors care, especially during the current pandemic, boosting the economy, particularly for tourism and small business, a value-added tax to place provincial sales tax, support for retrofits on housing, insurance issues for strata councils and measures to boost housing supply.

The NDP’s incumbent Ronna-Rae Leonard cited some of her government’s achievements, including leadership in response to the COVID-19 virus.

“We’ve shown the world how we can stick together through this pandemic,” she said in her concluding remarks.

Leonard cited other examples such as balanced budgets, an ambitious climate plan and local modular housing units.

“We need a stable government that’s going to be able to deliver,” she said.

Her opponents, Liberal Brennan Day and Green Gillian Anderson, went after the NDP on a number of fronts, such as boosting the economy or breaking environmental promises. Both questioned the need even to hold an election right now.

“The NDP has called a snap election while the province is is under a state of emergency,” Day said in his opening.

He focused heavily on the BC Liberals’ plan to stimulate the economy by eliminating the provincial sales tax this year, then holding it at three per cent in subsequent years until the economy recovers.

“This is the bold idea we need to get the economy going,” he said.

Day also cited measures such as cutting the small business tax.

Leonard responded that the move to cut the provincial tax was something that would disproportionately help wealthier people with more discretionary income to spend on luxury items. She said necessities such as food or medicine are already exempt from the PST.

One contentious issue was the payroll tax the NDP brought in to replace MSP premiums, with Leonard saying the largest companies were paying for most of it and Day responding that many smaller business were being hit hard by the new tax.

For Anderson, who ran against Leonard to represent the NDP in 2017, the key issue came down to broken promises from NDP leader John Horgan, such as not going to the polls early, as well as flipping on issues such as the Site C dam project or projects for liquefied natural gas.

“Mr. Horgan had a stable government with the Greens,” she said.

On several occasions, she came back to a point about using provincial money for more important priorities than “megaprojects” such as Site C.

On seniors care, Anderson went after the other parties, saying the Greens were the only ones proposing to end for-profit care and criticized Leonard and the NDP for blaming the previous Liberal government for continuing problems in some seniors’ homes.

“They’ve had 40 months to fix this problem,” she said.

RELATED STORY: B.C. party leaders talk taxes, housing

The full video for the 80-minute debate can be found on the Facebook page for the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsComoxCourtenayElection 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox Valley Presbyterian Church on Aspen Road. Google Maps photo
Comox Valley Presbyterian Church, Town of Comox looking at land use options

The congregation is exploring options for use of the property

Comox Valley are investigating a break and enter at a store on Denman Island. File photo
Thief steals Denman Island store’s charity jar

Comox Valley RCMP also looking for witnesses to Dove Creek injury

Former 19 Wing Commander Mike Atkins is the new CEO of the Comox Valley Airport. Photo submitted
Comox Valley Airport Commission announces new CEO

Alex Robertson is serving as acting CEO since Fred Bigelow’s departure for medical leave last year

A group gathers for a guided story walk at the Comox Valley Art Gallery plaza. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox Valley arts-based project takes honest look at overdose crisis

The Comox Valley Art Gallery, and AVI Health and Community Services are… Continue reading

The Comox Valley campus of North Island Hospital. File photo
Comox-Strathcona still on track to pay down new hospital debt

Reserves for capital projects should increase over annual debt in 2023-24

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read