Federal Election 2015 Responses to Questions #14 & #15 by the North Okanagan – Shuswap Candidates …

question markSo the Your Questions – The North Okanagan – Shuswap Candidates’ Answers initiative is now a wrap with the responses to Q’s 14 and 15 posted now.  All 15 Q&A’s are online and in time for the Advance Polls and Election Day.

Major kudos to Mel Arnold, Cindy Derkaz, Chris George and Jacqui Gingras who agreed to participate as well to those of you who submitted your thoughtful questions – whether they made it out of the hopper or not. Choosing among the submitted questions was the hard part due to limited space and time. A big  “Thanks” to everyone’s  investment, including the quiet readers,  in extending our local political discourse.

The Index to all 15 Q&A’s is here. It’s a one-stop research resource – sorted by your questions and the candidates’ responses. Please pass on this link to friends and family in our riding.

… and here are the final Q&A’s …

Question #14

 I am concerned about several major negative effects to our economy, caused by the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.  What is your  party (and you) doing to support or not support this agreement?  Why?

Question #15

Your final pitch: What else would you like voters to know about you in order to cast their vote?

Here’s the very helpful  link to the complete Index of 15 Q&A’s . Please pass this on to friends and family throughout our riding.

Candidate Responses are  posted in the order received: Mel Arnold, Chris George, Cindy Derkaz, Jacqui Gingras :

Mel Arnold (Conservative Party):

Question #14

I am concerned about several major negative effects to our economy, caused by the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.  What is your  party (and you) doing to support or not support this agreement?  Why?

My personal position is one of pride at the success of this government’s ability to increase opportunities and the ensuing jobs and robust economy the ratifying of this Trade agreement will bring.

We have just opened Free trade with 11 other member countries, representing 40% of the global economy, and 800 million new customers.  Our 11 partner countries have a combined GDP of nearly $30 trillion – that’s 14 times the size of the Canadian economy.

Only someone like Thomas Mulcair could declare that he would shred this document in the face of the many benefits this agreement will provide to all Canadians…. More than one in five Canadian jobs is linked directly to exports. 

We promised to protect Dairy and the Auto industry and we did.  Wally Smith of the Canadian Dairy Assn has said ““…we recognize that our government fought hard against other countries’ demands, and have offered what seems to be a fair compensation package to minimize the impact on Canadian dairy farmers…” 

When I phoned the local representative of the Kamloops Okanagan Dairy Assn, he stated that he was satisfied that Dairy in our region had been protected and that there was room for growth as well.

As with any trade agreement there are tradeoffs but, in this case, almost all sectors of our economy stand to benefit, including aerospace, agriculture (pork, beef, fruits, grains and canola oil), energy, seafood, chemicals, plastics, industrial goods, machinery, metals and minerals, forest products, IT, and financial and professional services. It will now be up to our exporters to aggressively seize new market opportunities open to them.

Canada will be anchored strategically to global supply chains, will remain competitive with the U.S. and will gain new access in markets like Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam, which currently have high barriers to entry. Independent estimates suggesting increases of $10– to $12-billion to our GDP.

The TPP offers the promise of economic success that will provide more revenue with which to underwrite future infrastructure, social programs, and supports for those that need it the most.

Promising more deficits and debt, or cap and trade taxation is not how you grow the economy.

Balancing the budget and creating a positive atmosphere for business – is.

Question #15

Your final pitch: What else would you like voters to know about you in order to cast their vote?

How would you like to keep more of your money in your pocket?  Conservatives believe that you should, and can, with responsible fiscal management, small government, and it’s carefully planned spending.

Carefully planned spending like on infrastructure:

The highways east and west were pretty slow, one laned patches of tarmac, frustrating in tourist season, and closed often in winter ten years ago.  However, that new twinning from Armstrong all the way to Kelowna sure makes the trip faster now.  The fabulous new bridge and the twinning around Golden was quite the major feat as well.  What a great passing lane that stretch just out of Malakwa represents, with a brand new, wider, safer bridge shovel-ready and fully cost-shared as I write this.  Long open wide twinned roads now exist on the way to Kamloops, with construction taking place every summer to add kilometres to the upgrades. 

$4.5 billion has been spent on highway, bridge, and transit in these ten years in British Columbia alone, with this riding having received a significant share of that.

A Prime Minister from the west knows what our highways and other unique challenges are like.  He understands that there are more provinces than just Ontario and Quebec.

2008 was hard.  Really really hard.  At least on the rest of the world.  Although Canadians had to do a little belt tightening to get through, we did not lose our homes, our savings, and, with the Action Plan that was brought in, we didn’t lose our jobs.  Did we run a deficit to make sure Canadians emerged hale and healthy?  Yes.  It was the right thing to do.  And as soon as the economy improved, we balanced the budget.  That’s also the right thing to do.

Since that bleak global economic meltdown, the Conservative focus has been in creating the climate that encourages businesses to start up, grow, and create jobs.  1.3 million new jobs have been created since that year, and with the economy showing a resurgence, more will naturally come.  The previous question mentioned the Trans Pacific Partnership.  This trade agreement offers untold opportunities that are just waiting for Canadians to take advantage of the new markets.  Innovation, technology, resource, service, and … maybe there is a new sector that will be invented or created that we haven’t even thought of yet.  I bet our kids will.

In the last ten years, we have reduced taxes over fifty times.  The average family of four now pays at least $3400 less in taxes than they did a decade ago.  We won’t be raising any taxes going forward, because we firmly believe that we should help you keep more of YOUR money in YOUR pocket.

Why would you vote for less?

Chris George (Green Party):

Question #14

I am concerned about several major negative effects to our economy, caused by the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.  What is your  party (and you) doing to support or not support this agreement?  Why?

Canada is a trading nation, always has been and always will be. Greens have no objections to trade, in fact we support the idea of exporting high value finished products into the world markets. We recognize that putting together a trade agreement requires compromise and that we are unlikely to get everything we want without giving up things that are important to us.

Where we differ from the three mainstream parties in this country is our refusal to put Canadian sovereignty on the block. Investor/State Dispute Resolution (ISDS) clauses in the TPP, CETA and NAFTA are examples of this, as they all include clauses that promise multi-national corporations compensation if a future Canadian government at the federal, provincial or municipal level passes legislation that has an effect on that corporations ability to make a profit from its investments, that they will be compensated by the taxpayers after the case is heard by an outside agency.

The poster child for these Financial Investor Protection Acts (FIPA) is the recent deal signed by our Prime Minister with China. The Chinese FIPA does nothing to expand Canadian markets or improve our trading position with China. What it has done is place a barrier between the recent changes to our environmental and labour regulations made by the Conservatives and future legislation that may come from the next or any future parliament to reverse these changes. If we wished to once again protect fish habitat, for example, CNOOC could sue the federal government of the day for any impacts that decision may have on their profits. The deal is locked in for the next 31 years, saddling our children and grandchildren with higher costs for social and environmental protections they may wish to bring in in the future. This is at least as damaging to their future prospects as the $127 billion in additional debt that the Conservatives have added to their plate over the past 9 years.

The rationale for this taxpayer funded bailout program is that we need to attract investment capital from these countries in order to exploit our resources. It ignores the fact that almost $700 billion is being held by Canadian corporations in cash. They say they are waiting for a more favourable investment climate.

This is the type of evidence that the Conservatives are deathly afraid of when it comes to being held accountable for their economic performance. Corporate Canada has no confidence in this government. The cash they are sitting on is desperately needed in the form of investment in our economy to create jobs. That they are sitting it out, and have been for the past decade, is a damning indictment of this government’s record on creating the right environment for investment.

The fact that this cash exists on the books of Canadian corporations makes it clear that the justification for ISDS and FIPA language in trade agreements is based on a lie. We don’t need to give up our sovereignty in order to attract investment, any more than we need to lower taxes to do the same. What we need our government to do is to provide an investment climate that is attractive to our own corporations, something that this government has proven itself to be incapable of doing. Many people say that the Conservatives are the best friends of corporate Canada. The evidence shows that while that may be true, corporate Canada certainly doesn’t see it that way.

Question #15

Your final pitch: What else would you like voters to know about you in order to cast their vote?

There is a lesson to be learned from watching the approaches of the other candidates and their parties in this election campaign.

Fear works. But only if we let it.

The theroy behind being a Green candidate is that my job is to present people with a positive and inspiring option that resonates with them. If it doesn’t, their vote will go to a party or a candidate who has done their job better than I did mine. Where the theory breaks down is when the other players do not even bother explaining their position on the issues or their vision for a better Canada and instead bring forward scary monsters to instill fear in our hearts in a cynical attempt to coerce and manipulate how we are going to vote. The positive message dies under a wash of neurotransmitters as our brain reacts.

Can I coerce people into voting for me? No, I can’t. Not because there haven’t been a million opportunities to use fear, but because it is wrong on principle to do so. So how could I possibly coerce my supporters to vote for someone else? Because that is what fear is. It is a tool of coercion.

I am Green for a reason. Hundreds of thousands of other people in this country are as well. Vote your heart. Vote your values. And do not listen to the messages of fear, whether they come from the Conservatives in the form of the bogeyman of ISIS or if they come from the other “progressive” parties in the form of fear of Harper. It isn’t the specifics of what we are supposed to be afraid of that matters, it is the partisan use of fear as a tactic to gain power that disqualifies them all from consideration.

Wilhelm Reich offers the following quote in his book, “Listen Little Man”.

“You think the end justifies the means, however vile. I tell you: the end is the means by which you achieve it. Today’s step is tomorrow’s life. Great ends cannot be attained by base means. You’ve proved that in all your social upheavals. The meanness and inhumanity of the means make you mean and inhuman and make the end unattainable.”

If your party and your candidate cannot convey their vision in a positive and clear manner, I ask that you really take a good hard look at why you might think they are your best choice in the first place. If they are relying on fear to motivate you, I ask that you disqualify them from consideration for your vote.

People have told me that the positive approach never works. That principles don’t matter. That working hard to earn people’s votes by speaking clearly and with passion is a losing strategy. I don’t believe them and I don’t think the majority of Canadians believe them either. 33,980 people who were registered to vote in 2011 in this riding stayed home. I have done my best to engage with them, to get them back into the game, to have them step forward and help in the great project of rebuilding our democracy. We must remember who we are. We are Canadians, and we are not afraid. We can ignore the coercive politics of fear and vote for a better tomorrow for all of us.

My name is Chris George, and I am Green for a reason. I ask you to look into your heart to see if you might be too. Vote your heart. Vote your values. And send the message to the parties of fear that their time is over in this country.

Cindy Derkaz (Liberal Party):

Question #14

I am concerned about several major negative effects to our economy, caused by the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.  What is your  party (and you) doing to support or not support this agreement?  Why?

As the Liberal candidate for North Okanagan-Shuswap, I support free trade, as this is how we open markets to Canadian goods and services created in our riding and across the country, grow Canadian businesses, create good-paying jobs to help keep young people in our local communities, and provide choice and lower prices to Canadian consumers.

From what we know of the pact so far, the Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it. I am strongly in favor of taking a responsible approach, and thoroughly examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Harper Conservatives have failed to be transparent through the entirety of the negotiations – especially in regards to what Canada is conceding in order to be accepted into this partnership. And Tom Mulcair said the NDP will oppose it.

The government has an obligation to be open and honest about the negotiation process, and immediately share all the details of any agreement, which it has not done as yet. Canadians deserve to know what impacts this agreement will have on different industries across our country.

If the Liberals earn the honour of forming government on October 19th, we will have a full and open debate in parliament to fully review and consult with Canadians on the terms of the agreement.

Question #15

Your final pitch: What else would you like voters to know about you in order to cast their vote?

Getting towards the end of a long campaign, many people know my history, so I won’t go on at length about that. In knocking on doors and talking to people both on the phone and in person, I have learned a great deal about the concerns in the riding. Part of the real change I want to make with the Liberal Party of Canada is to take those concerns to Ottawa and be the best advocate possible for people of North Okanagan-Shuswap. I have always known and embraced hard work, and now that the campaign is winding down, my understanding of hard work has gone to a new level.

Perhaps I can leave the final word to someone whom I have greatly admired for many years. I am very honored to be endorsed by the Hon. Len Marchand. I first voted in a federal election when I was 18 years old. I remember that election day well. The polling station was at the First United Church in Salmon Arm and I voted for Mr. Marchard, the candidate for Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Liberal Team. How wonderful to have my candidacy on Justin Trudeau’s Team endorsed now by the Hon. Len Marchand.

“Cindy Derkaz is a wonderful human being and would be a great representative for the North Okanagan Shuswap. With her background and credentials there is no reason why she should not be in the Trudeau cabinet. I also believe that Cindy would do a great job on behalf of our First Nations people.

Hon. Len Marchand

Okanagan Band Member

First Status Indian elected to Parliament

Jacqui Gingras (New Democratic Party):

Question #14

I am concerned about several major negative effects to our economy, caused by the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.  What is your  party (and you) doing to support or not support this agreement?  Why?

The New Democrats understand the importance of trade and we are in favour of good deals that open markets for Canadian companies. We will stand up for trade deals that create jobs for Canadians. Tom Mulcair has been in tough negotiations, he knows they involve give-and-take, but he also know it’s possible for a savvy negotiator to protect key Canadian interests. Our priority is to protect well-paying jobs for Canadians, something Stephen Harper is unwilling and unable to do.

Lets consider the effects of the most recent trade deals negotiated by the Harper Conservatives. From 2005 to 2013, Canada’s global market share of auto exports fell by 27%, our share of aerospace exports fell by 27%, and our share of wood product exports fell by 39%. We can’t trust Harper to stand up for Canadian jobs and communities. Conservatives have no mandate to sign a major trade agreement just days before a federal election.

TPP negotiations have the potential to negatively impact everything from auto sector jobs, to internet freedom, to the cost of medicine, to dairy farmers and the viability of the family farm. Stephen Harper’s secretive and ideological ‘sign-anything’ approach to trade hasn’t worked. Tom Mulcair has the experience to know details matter. We will read the fine print and always, ALWAYS fight hard to defend Canadians’ interests.

I met with local farmers; the representatives from the dairy, poultry, and egg farming community. They are justifiably proud of their contributions to our local economy. Their preference is not to accept concessions from the federal government to give up their family farms (concessions paid by tax payers, no less). We discussed the significant positive impact of these farms on other local businesses. We discussed the importance of supply management on keeping the price of our local dairy foods low and the market stable. We discussed the challenges in enforcing border services with respect to imports of milk, egg, and poultry products. I stated my pledge for protecting supply management; a process that has maintained high quality local food at a reasonable price.

Here is what others are saying about the TPP:

“It’s a bad day for Canadian manufacturing and a bad day for Canada’s diary farmers. We lost 80,000 auto jobs under Harper’s watch. This deal will reduce another 20,000 jobs here in Canada. This at a time when we are losing so many good manufacturing jobs. This is a significant hit. There was no reason for this at all”

~ Jerry Dias, President of Unifor (Oct. 5, 2015)

“Canadians who care about the open Web should be very concerned about this ultra-secret pact, which could be disastrous for Canada’s digital economy. What we’re talking about here is global Internet censorship. It will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost Canadians money. This deal would never pass with the whole world watching – that’s why they’ve negotiated it in total secrecy.”

–          Meghan Sali, OpenMedia, October 5, 2015

“MSF expresses its dismay that TPP countries have agreed to United States government and multinational drug company demands that will raise the price of medicines for millions by unnecessarily extending monopolies and further delaying price-lowering generic competition.”

–          Medecins Sans Frontieres, October 5, 2015

“Despite widespread, international opposition, the United States government is moving toward signing a trade deal that threatens our families, our communities, and our environment. Amazingly, the public is still not able to see the contents of a completed pact that has been negotiated entirely behind closed doors. But we know enough about the pact to understand that, if passed, it would undermine decades of environmental progress and threaten our climate.”

–          Michael Brun, Sierra Club (US), October 5, 2015

“The milk displaced by this agreement will never be produced in Canada, and will result in perpetual lost revenue for our farmers, and for the Canadian economy.”

–          Dairy Farmers of Canada, October 5, 2015 

“The biggest regional trade and investment agreement in history is not what it seems. You will hear much about the importance of the TPP for “free trade”. The reality is that this is an agreement to manage its members’ trade and investment relations — and to do so on behalf of each country’s most powerful business lobbies. Make no mistake: It is evident from the main outstanding issues, over which negotiators are still haggling, that the TPP is not about “free” trade.”

–          Joseph Stiglitz, October 4th, 2015

“The CVMA will examine the terms of the agreement in principle once the final language is released but it is concerned to learn of a significant differentiation in the negotiated tariff transitions achieved by Canada and the United States.”

–          Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA), October 5, 2015

“The big losers in the #TPP are patients and treatment providers in developing countries. RIP #accesstomedicines”

–          Stephen Cornish, Executive Director, MSF Canada

“#TPP will kill #Pharmacare! And, Canada will also lose thousands of jobs in manufacturing and dairy!”

–          Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario

“I sure hope Canadian voters get some real information, rather than all this cheerleading, before Oct 19”

–          Jim Stanford, Economist for UNIFOR, October 5, 2015 

I join the New Democrats to stand by our commitment to protect Canadian jobs, to protect Internet freedom, to protect the dairy farmers, to protect our access to inexpensive medicine, and to protect Canadian sovereignty.

Question #15

Your final pitch: What else would you like voters to know about you in order to cast their vote?

I would first like to thank Tim Lavery for providing the time and energy to this important forum for the sharing of perspectives concerning the federal election. I appreciate your efforts very much. It has been an incredible and uplifting campaign and so many are engaged in the process, which bodes well for democracy in Canada.

On Election Day, October 19th, Canadians across the country will go to the polls to vote. It’s certainly a civic duty to get out and vote. Voting is an expression of our value system, voting is about realizing our dreams for the future of our country.

For too long, Canadian politics have been clouded in cynicism. We have Liberal and Conservative expense scandals, we have senate scandals, we have sponsorship scandals.  Time and time again we see our politicians make earnest commitments to us only to find that while we turn our heads for a moment they let all their friends eat at the trough. 

It’s no wonder that voter turnout has diminished. It’s no wonder that Canadians have lost interest. Politicians now avoid public debate and discussion, they avoid talking about real issues with real people and instead send out mass produced press releases announcing that from henceforth, government will do less.

No wonder we’re cynical. No wonder we’ve lost the belief that elections matter and that politics matter. We think that they’re all the same – and they have been. 

For me, the decision to run has been the most important in my life. I watched the political system and felt disempowered and frustrated, wishing that things were different, wishing that the people who ran our country had integrity, and spoke honestly about real problems. Finally, it dawned on me that I couldn’t look to others to take responsibility for our country, and for the failures of the system. I realized that it was time for me to do my part.

I’ve been campaigning for well over a year now as a New Democrat, meeting with as many people in our riding as I can and I’ve heard a lot.

I’ve heard that people wish that our government would protect our beautiful lakes and rivers.

I’ve heard that people are concerned about our food system and believe that the government needs to be proactive and make sure that the foods we eat are safe.

I’ve heard that people are angry that our government muzzles and silences our scientists.

I’ve heard that people want a federal government that understands the dire consequences of climate change and is willing to be part of a global solution not actively deny climate change is even occurring.

I’ve heard that people are deeply saddened that Indigenous People in this country are treated poorly by a government unwilling to build a respectful partnership. 

I’ve heard that people want fewer jails and more programs to help the disadvantaged.

I’ve heard that people need good and affordable childcare.

I’ve heard people speak from their hearts on these issues. These issues are all of national significance they have a profound impact on how we live our lives. Despite all of the struggles we have faced with successive Liberal and Conservative governments, the heart of Canadian democracy beats strong because we know that we have a choice. It is time to vote for a party of the people.

In this election, I ask for your vote so that I can represent the things that matter to you. I ask for your vote as a vote for national unity, ethics, choice, and optimism. These are the values I bring as your next Member of Parliament.

It’s time. It’s time to make our country better.

Author: Tim Lavery

Aim High Salmon Arm It matters

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s