(Editor’s note: we asked the candidates running in the riding that includes Parksville-Qualicum Beach to provide 200 words about themselves and/or what they believe is important in this federal election. We left it open for them to use the 200 words as they saw fit. We present their responses today, unedited. Election day is Monday, Oct. 19. — JH)
Barbara Biley, Marxist-Leninist Party
In the federal election the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada calls on all eligible voters to use this election to take a stand against the neoliberal anti-social offensive. Voters can make a clear statement that we want a new direction for the economy, an end to nation-wrecking, destruction of manufacturing, to privatization of health care and education. A new direction for the economy means jobs, processing and secondary manufacturing instead of exporting raw resources, secure pensions and increased investments in public services to care for children, seniors, and veterans.
I am a health care worker and a long-time political activist. It is my experience that the main problem facing workers and all Canadians is our marginalization. We exercise no control over the decisions taken by government in our name. Permitting us to cast a ballot for parties we don’t control, with no say in the selection of candidates or in how to resolve the important problems facing the country, means we need to renew the democratic process so that we can exercise control over the decisions that affect our lives.
Many people do not vote because they consider that all the “major” parties are cut from the same cloth and will implement the same anti-social agenda to please international financiers and foreign monopolies, without regard to the needs and wishes of Canadians. I call on them to vote in this election to make a statement they oppose the anti-social offensive, nation-wrecking and want an anti-war government. That’s what a vote for me will say. By making a strong statement when you vote Marxist-Leninist we actually place ourselves in a stronger position to hold any new government to account. Vote for a new direction for the economy, the renewal of the political process and an anti-war government!
John Duncan, Conservative Party
John Duncan has lived and worked on Vancouver Island for 43 years and understands that our Island is a special treasure. He is motivated by his commitment to public service and has provided leadership as an elected federal representative for Vancouver Island for 19 years.
Prior to federal political office he served in leadership positions as a community volunteer and as a Village councillor. John understands community advocacy and has a proven track record of collaboration with local government.
The addition of one more federal Riding on Vancouver Island as of the 2015 election also had the effect of placing the Oceanside area in the newly configured Courtenay-Alberni Riding. As the long time federal representative for the Courtenay area and as a resident of Qualicum, John welcomes the new opportunity to represent the Oceanside area as well as Port Alberni and the West Coast.
John is knowledgeable on a wide variety of diverse issues. Prior to federal politics, John worked in the forest industry as a resource manager and forester. He understands environmental stewardship and the challenges of economic diversification. He also believes in infrastructure investments to promote quality of life, jobs, and opportunity.
“I believe that the Conservative government has provided good government. We have steered Canada through the worst global financial meltdown since the Great Depression and have now returned to a balanced budget. I would be honoured to represent Courtenay-Alberni and the interests of Courtenay- Alberni and Vancouver Island in the next Parliament.”
Gord Johns, New Democratic Party
Over the past months, I have met several thousand Courtenay-Alberni voters on their doorsteps, at local events, in coffee shops and on street corners. I am hearing the same message wherever I go: after ten years of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government, it is time for a change.
A senior in Qualicum Beach said she couldn’t afford to pay for her prescription drugs that month. A single mother in Parksville told me her child-care fees were more than half her weekly take home pay. Young families have shared their difficulties in making ends meet. Veterans have complained about losing benefits. Many have expressed shame about Canada’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Climate change, pipelines and tankers in our coastal waters are major issues for many and the closure by the Conservative government of the marine stations at Ucluelet and Comox is not supported by a majority of people who I have met on the campaign trail.
My priority will be to fight on behalf of my constituents for:
Better health care by stopping the Conservatives cuts to the provinces and making health care sustainable, improving prescription drug coverage and expanding long-term care and home care;
Restoring the age of retirement from 67 to 65, strengthening pensions, protecting spousal pension income splitting and investing in affordable housing that will meet seniors needs;
Stimulating job creation by reducing the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% and investing in local infrastructure with revenue from a one cent gasoline tax; creating clean energy jobs through research and development;
Supporting the ability of parents to participate in the labour market by providing a $15 a day child-care program.
Voters in Courtenay-Alberni are telling me they are ready for the kind of change that Tom Mulcair and New Democrats can deliver.
Carrie Powell-Davidson, Liberal Party
Many of you know me as a councillor with the City of Parksville. Others will know me from my work with local media. I still get asked for recommendations for the best places to eat in Oceanside. I may have taught some of you during my years of teaching at VIU (formerly Malaspina University-College) or perhaps we met at one of the many community organizations I have been heavily involved in since moving to Parksville over twenty-two years ago. However we met, you know me to be a hard-working, dedicated member of our community. I am still working hard and I am dedicated more than ever to being your voice in Ottawa.
Like many Canadians, I have become disillusioned with our current government. Our country is headed down a divisive and fearful path. We have lost our position on the world stage with our lack of attention to the environment and international aid. Our democracy, which was once highly regarded, has become the focus of ridicule. We’re in a technical recession and our economy shows no signs of recovery. Canadians are torn between deciding whether to save for retirement or their children’s education. We need a fair government that works for all of us.
The election on October 19th is one of the most important elections Canadians have seen in decades. We have a great opportunity to un-do the damage and take back our country. The Liberal Party of Canada believes that seniors deserve a dignified retirement. We know that our young people need good-paying jobs and housing they can afford. Our coasts must be protected as must our medical system, our rights and freedoms and those of us who cannot protect themselves.
A Liberal government will open up the lines of communication. We are focused on developing researched, evidence-based solutions in conjunction with experts, the provinces, territories and First Nations and Canadians just like you. It’s time for a real change.
Glenn Sollitt, Green Party
I have been motivated to run for public office because of our need to improve our government. I believe the Green Party is our best opportunity to do so. Our platform is organized around four key areas: economy, communities, government, and climate. The policies have been developed democratically, by Canadians, from every province, territory, and traditional land.
We need to develop and encourage a strong, sustainable economy. Our platform includes sustainable forest practices and the reintroduction of value added processing in Canada. We need to promote small, local, organic agriculture to keep Canadian food processing self-sustaining. We need to move away from a petroleum based economy and into alternate sources of energy.
The parliamentary system of Canada is in serious trouble. We need to have respectful discussion and discourse with the goal of solving problems and introducing legislation for the betterment of Canada. We need parliamentary reform that reduces the power of the PMO and returns accountability to MPs.
The Green Party has no party whip, which means that our candidates represent the wishes of their constituents, without interference by the party leader. I will fight to ensure that promises are kept, such as stopping the shipping of raw bitumen through the sensitive waters of coastal BC, I will work to eliminate the first past the post electoral system ensuring fair representation for the people of Canada and I will fight to stop trade agreements that allow foreign corporations to sue Canada if the Canadian Government changes any policy which results in a reduction of profits to the foreign enterprise. I will work hard to restore our sovereignty and our position of leadership on the World’s stage.
If you want true change and our Canada back, I want to help.