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Times quizzes the federal candidates

Posted on October 14, 2015 by Taber Times

Editor’s note: The Taber Times issued election questions to all candidates for the Bow River Riding on Oct. 1. Only the Christian Heritage, Independent and Democratic Advancement candidates gave replies as of press time on Oct. 13.

Frans VandeStroet
Christian Heritage Party

1) Do you feel this is a crucial election campaign for Canadians, the outcome of which may reverberate for years to come?

As a conservative Canadian I often feel that people put way too much faith in government when it comes to the economy. Governments of any stripe are always quick in taking credit for good economic times and they are also quick in blaming other factors when times are bad. The reality is that Canada’s economy is very dependent on the rest of the world. Politicians should make less big promises when it comes to the economy and see their limitations there. The Christian Heritage Party (CHP) wants a smaller federal government that leaves more responsibilities where they belong, at the provincial, municipal and individual levels.

Having said that, every election is crucial. At election time you as a voter have a chance to tell Ottawa where you stand. So please forget about strategic voting, stop worrying about vote splitting, and please vote your conscience, vote for what you really believe in.

2) Why do you believe constituents should vote for your party?

When you go out and vote, please vote your conscience and send a CLEAR message to Ottawa. Vote for a party that wants to protect ALL people in Bow River riding, from the very youngest to the very oldest. You know where I am going. The CHP wants to protect human rights (life) from conception to natural death. Currently 100,000 unborn babies are killed in Canada every single year in the name of ‘CHOICE’. There is no legislation in Canada to regulate abortion and with that fact we are in dubious company of only two notorious human rights violators, China and North Korea. Quite embarrassing, to say the least, for a country that is so proud of its ‘Canadian values’. So on Oct. 19, please vote for a party that truly believes in our Canadian values, please vote for the only outspoken pro-life and pro-traditional-family party, vote CHP!

The CHP is a small party and in our undemocratic first-past-the-post system it will take a miracle to get elected to Parliament. However, the fact that the CHP exists is a message in itself. We exist to put issues in the spotlight that all other federal parties actively try to ignore. We believe in God, we believe that God matters to Canadian politics, we believe that there are absolute morals and values (not everything is relative), we believe that human life needs to be protected from conception to natural death etc. We don’t hear these things from other parties anymore! That’s why we exist and run, to remind our fellow Canadians and keep other parties accountable, especially at election time. Your vote for the CHP will send this CLEAR message to Ottawa.

3) What would be your party’s approach to mitigating or solving the economic problems currently being faced by the nation?

The CHP would put Canada back to work with a nationwide infrastructure stimulus package that would fix our cities, our highways and our bridges. The CHP proposes a limited and targeted application of ‘Quantitive Easing’ to specifically finance infrastructure projects and boost the economy, without incurring massive commercial debt (T-bills) with its associated commercial interest costs that now consume a huge and increasing portion of the federal budget.

Jobs stimulate the economy. The CHP would revive the plan that was successfully used in Canada to combat unemployment after the Second World War. The Bank of Canada was ordered to make interest-free loans to provinces, municipalities and cities for infrastructure projects: roads, highways, bridges, rail lines, ports—today we could include hospitals, urban and inter-urban passenger rail lines, water and sewage treatment plants. These facilities improved access to resources and to markets, and the increased economic activity enabled the borrowing agencies to quickly repay the loans — which were then retired, so that the injection of capital was non-inflationary. That construction activity touched off the longest-lasting economic boom in Canadian history. And when the loans were repaid, the permanent infrastructure was still there. Today, it’s crumbling, and the only solution that other Parties offer is taxing you to rebuild it. It’s time for a new infrastructure initiative—one that works and doesn’t rely on increasing your tax burden!

Last but not least, the CHP is also in favour of a simpler taxation system in which we don’t punish people for earning income or making profits. We want to put Canadians in charge of the tax they pay by shifting taxation towards consumption instead of production. In other words, we promote higher progressive national retail sales tax, thereby making it possible to go to (much) lower income tax rates. We need to increase productivity of our Canadian industry and create jobs here in Canada. A better tax system is one of the ways to do that.

4) Should Canada be doing more to address the Syrian refugee crisis? What should be Canada’s approach to foreign policy?

Canada and many Western countries are doing a great job compared to several rich countries in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia who sit on their hands and haven’t taken any refugees from Syria. It would make sense that the wealthy Arab Gulf states would do their utmost best to help their neighbours, who are from similar cultural and religious background, but so far they don’t. Western countries should in the first place try hard to create safe areas in the Middle East itself for the many refugees in the region. Refugees coming to Canada should in the first place be people who belong to persecuted minorities in the Middle East, like Jews, Christians etc. These minorities have absolutely no place to go to anymore in today’s Middle East!

I am sorry to say that I was in favour of the Iraq invasion in 2003. After the fact I say “What a terrible mistake that was!”. The West has not created less but more terrorists with its actions in the Middle East. Less meddling in the affairs of other countries seems to be a sensible foreign policy to me. In all cases the CHP defends the right of Israel to exist in the Middle East. The CHP is in favour of a strong national defence force and we want to be a reliable NATO ally.

5) What will your party do to address issues facing municipalities, including infrastructure concerns?

See my response under question three, how the CHP would address issues facing municipalities, especially infrastructure.

Andrew Kucy
Independent

1) Do you feel this is a crucial election campaign for Canadians, the outcome of which may reverberate for years to come?

Yes, this campaign and election will definitely have far reaching implications for Canada and the residents of Bow River. Regardless of the party who wins the most seats in Parliament, Bow River residents will have a new representative in Ottawa to advocate for their interests and concerns. As an independent candidate I am uniquely positioned to work with whichever party forms government to pass legislation in the best interests of my constituents.

I know that many of us in Alberta remember keenly what happens when you cast a vote in anger. I would ask something of each and every one of you: take time to investigate and consider each of the candidates and parties running in Bow River. Choose who to vote for based on the individuals qualifications and commitment to representing your interests in Ottawa, not official party lines or promises made to win votes in this campaign.

2) Why do you believe constituents should vote for you?

In a minority government independent MPs have much more impact and clout than any individual party MP, regardless of the party.
Independents are often the swing vote on contentious and significant bills which would give me unique leverage to ensure Bow River is always kept in the spotlight. I have the experience and fortitude necessary to stand up for what I know is right and will always advocate on behalf of residents and businesses within the riding.

I live in Langdon with my wife and family and understand what a drastic impact the crash in oil has had on so many people here. I know the impact is similar around southern Alberta; we need a MP willing to work together with the industries and businesses in Bow River to ensure they remain competitive and an economic engine for our communities.

I have a proven ability to represent the interests of diverse individuals, the drive and energy to push for investments and infrastructure in the riding, and I am in constant communication with people across Bow River for input on what matters to us all.

3) What would be your approach to mitigating or solving the economic problems currently being faced by the nation?

My primary ideas for assisting businesses through these tough times are a freeze on tax rate changes for at least two years, a push to reduce the red tape and excessive inspections for our exporters and between provinces, and working with all those concerned about planned pipeline and oil-by-rail operations to ensure safe access to international markets for our resources.

For individuals and families I will push for more senior and child care spaces across the riding (and I know how we could safely and efficiently staff them), no tax increases or additional tax burdens, and a commitment to work with First Nations to address their most pressing concerns, specifically an inquiry into MMIW and access to clean water EVERYWHERE in Canada.

Pipelines are a contentious issue but cannot be avoided as an efficient means of moving resources. My background as a professional engineer in the oil and gas industry has given me insight and an understanding of the challenges and opportunities these projects bring. However, the economic benefits of pipelines must be balanced with the concerns of those who will be impacted by the routing and environmental damage of potential pipeline failures.

I will push for increased safety and inspection standards on all current and proposed pipelines across Canada to ensure they are designed, installed, and maintained safely and effectively. Increasing the frequency and level of safety inspections and maintenance work will help persuade those currently opposed to various pipelines that our products can be safely moved to market while providing jobs and income to businesses across Bow River and Canada.

4) Should Canada be doing more to address the Syrian refugee crisis? What should be Canada’s approach to foreign policy?

Canada was once a world leader in humanitarian efforts and we were praised and admired for our commitment to peace. Sadly, we cannot make those same claims anymore. I want to see our international image restored and will work with all government parties and NGOs possible to bring as many refugees to Canada as our infrastructure and social programs can cope with. However, I will push to ensure our own marginalized citizens (seniors, children, and veterans among them) are provided for as well as new entrants to Canada.

5) What would you do to address issues facing municipalities, including infrastructure concerns?

Lack of affordable housing and care space is a critical issue for seniors, veterans, those with disabilities, and families seeking child care. As your MP I will work with all levels of government to find skilled workers willing to enter care programs for these groups of citizens while ensuring oversight and accountability of those caring for our most vulnerable.

Water is a critical issue for communities and individuals across Bow River. A recent water main break in Beiseker effectively paralyzed the town for days while the main was repaired. The village mayor described the situation as a ‘calamity’ and residents had to boil their water for a few days. Now imagine having to boil all your water for weeks, months, or years on end. That is the situation currently facing 93 First Nations communities across Canada, some for longer than 20 YEARS. [Macleans]

We as a country need to do better. Access to clean water is a basic human right as well as necessary for all life. Everyone in Bow River know the importance of clean water for our crops, gardens, companies, families, recreation, and livelihoods. I will push for infrastructure investments in all communities to repair and upgrade drinking, irrigation, and waste water distribution and collection systems, while ensuring access to clean water for every single person and animal living in Canada.

Fahed Khalid
Democratic Advancement Party of Canada

1) Do you feel this is a crucial election campaign for Canadians, the outcome of which may reverberate for years to come?

Canada is at a crossroads and this election is critical for Canada and is of a type that I have never seen before in my lifetime.  The results of this election will have a major impact in Canada and the world as Canada has a global presence and plays a leadership role in the world.

2) Why do you believe constituents should vote for your party?

Just to be clear on the scale we are conservative with flexibility, as this is because if you view everything through one lens you will mess some issues up.  We are only other option for a conservative party and the alternative for voting for the left wings parties.  This is a new party which is clean, clear, and works for the common people. We are corruption free, have no strings attached, and are not tied to any corporations. We have strong fiscal responsibility and strong accountability aspects built into our constitution. We have recall built into our constitution and mandatory community engagement. We want to bring back democracy to the people and change the current trend of the wasting of taxpayer’s money, which we all work so hard for, on non-issues, fraud, and unjustified luxurious spending that we have seen recently.

Accountability is a word that has not too much significance as it used to before.  We are the only party that has recall.  So if I vote a certain way the constituents do not like or if I make promises and do not deliver, I can be recalled from my position. This mean accountability in capital and bold letters and since none of the other parties have recall, they can make promises and if they do not deliver nothing can be done about it.

The DAPC is a new federal party and I nor the party leader are your typical politicians. Both are common grassroots people that work hard and pay taxes just like you. Stephen (Garvey, DAPC leader) has studied democratic law for over 17 years and the reason for starting the party was to bring back democracy to the people and make the political process efficient and effective rather than politicking and wasting taxpayer’s money needlessly, which is what you and me work hard for everyday and we pay. I share this thought and that is why I am working with Stephen and the party. We work hard and do not have big budgets and resources like everyone else, notwithstanding we believe in a cause of effective and meaningful governance which is why I am running.

You have given everyone else a chance, some parties have been tried and tested multiple times over. Now give the DAPC a chance and we will get the job done and I look for your support this election and being your MP for this riding.

3) What would be your party’s approach to mitigating or solving the economic problems currently being faced by the nation?

First off we should be realistic that the economic situation will take some time to rebound.  Notwithstanding some decisions and steps will be taken to facilitate the turnaround and we need an holistic approach to address the current situation.  Oil and Gas is a major industry for Alberta and Canada and this industry affects other industries too that are in the riding.  The slowdown is caused primarily by the international oil prices that Canada does not have full control over.  We do have control over other things and that is what we should focus on.

Infrastructure is a key item for the riding and now would the best time to invest in infrastructure.  This would be beneficial two ways as first off it would create jobs.  These jobs would result as the need is the repair and maintenance of current infrastructure, and also development of new infrastructure projects that are critically needed.  Therefore these would result in jobs and the riding would see tangible results of infrastructure work that is needed in the riding.

Fiscal policy would be another item.  In economic times, taxation and wages are key issues.  The tax structure that is beneficial to small businesses, which are a majority of business in the riding, would create and sustain the economy to get through this current situation. The tax should be such that is the least burden in small business.  The higher tax should be on major corporations that make lots of money and the rich elites, not the average taxpayer and small business that consists of the hard working families and individuals in the riding. In addition the minimum wage will need to be addressed which during a downturn is not the best time to implement an increase.  Talking to constituents in riding, this is not really welcome by the constituents, and also economically for businesses at this time the increase is also not beneficial.  These are two items that I would address so the riding can get back on track and control things they we are able to.

These are the high level issues that would address policy concerns that span the riding.  There would be more secondary detail issues to tackle after these primary issues are addressed.  Just to be clear we are conservative and an option to the current conservative party and the alternative to voting for the other left-wing parties that want the minimum wage to increase which makes no sense economically at the moment.

4) Should Canada be doing more to address the Syrian refugee crisis? What should be Canada’s approach to foreign policy?

The only reason this specific crisis is getting so much attention is just because it keeps coming up in the media.  This was present for well over a year now and there are other refugee crises that exist currently too. Notwithstanding, Canada needs to have a balanced approach.  We should not open the flood gates nor close them completely as the other parties have proposed.  We should let in the most urgent cases first and go in order of importance down the list.  This should be cross checked by how much funding and resources we have, how much Canada can sustain internally, and how can we integrate the refugees to be successful and contributing citizens in society.

5) What will your party do to address issues facing municipalities, including infrastructure concerns?

I have talked about infrastructure in the response above and there are other issues in my platform including childcare, poverty, First Nations, and the role of rural a riding in big government that I will address to mention a few.  For example childcare was something that came up when I visited the communities.  For rural communities we need more childcare facilities and I propose that for Canadians that have to drive a distance to drop their kids to childcare facilities, they should be able to claim that mileage at the CRA rate that business claim mileage on.  Also the current federal govenment has childcare benefit is taxable, so families who work receive less benefit than families who are on welfare.  This is ridiculous and we have a policy called the Early Childhood Education and Care Policy that is balanced and fair to all Canadians.

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