The Williams Lake Tribune/Weekend Advisor reached out to federal candidates in the upcoming Oct. 19 election in the Cariboo-Prince George riding.
This is their first answers of five questions posed to candidates, which will be published leading up to the election.
Each candidate was given a 200-word limit per answer.
What do you feel are the top three concerns in our Region that you will take to Ottawa?
Liberal candidate Tracy Calogheros
For far too long we have been ignored by Ottawa because we would not, or could not, elect a representative who would speak on our behalf. People are tired of “top-down” politics, decisions made by strangers that affect our homes and decisions being driven by issues arising in the major urban centres. I live here, I love it here, and I want to help to enrich our lives here.
To be a credible communicator our MP must be a consensus builder. The politics of division is an effective tool which the Conservatives have wielded very well. That must stop. Ottawa must know that our MP speaks for the entire region, and people in our region must know that our MP is in Ottawa to be a forceful and confident advocate for their interests.
We cannot reach consensus on any issue without clear, proven facts on which to base our discussions and our decisions.
Canada cannot continue to intimidate and muzzle its researchers and scientists. Ten years ago we were a world-leader in many fields of science and research, but that’s not the case now. Scientific research and study must be restored to its prominent place in Canada.
Independent candidate Gordon Campbell
The three main issues facing us in the federal election are number one that people do not have that extra option of voting no or none of the above on the ballot. When the results of the election are published the percentages should be based on the total number of eligible voters, not the number of people who voted.
The second biggest issue is the clawing back of pensions that are already low to begin with.
I myself went from receiving $1,700 a month until I turned 65 and then I lost $500 and that is happening to many seniors. Thirdly we deserve full transparency which could be done by illuminating the universal packing codes so all citizens can see where the money goes, what it supports and what it doesn’t support.
Independent candidate Sheldon Clare
The top three concerns in our region are diversifying the economy, restoring public obligations to seniors and veterans, and alleviating student debt.
As an independent another one is to ensure that this is never thought to be a safe seat, Cariboo-Prince George must never be taken for granted.
We cannot continue to put all our economic eggs in one basket — it has led to boom and bust cycles that simply get worse and worse.
Diversifying our economy starts by making sure our young people have the education to innovate and build the economy of the future. Education has to be made accessible by reducing the amount of administrative fees that eat into student grants and ceasing interest charges on student loans.
There are many of veterans and seniors here in the North, and they are being left out in the cold by the current government. Seniors need mail services that include door-to-door delivery, especially in our winters, and veterans deserve specialized services to be made available to them where they live.
Our longest serving citizens deserve better treatment from our government, and I am committed to fighting for them.
Christian Heritage Party candidate Adam De Kroon
Government intrusion into freedom and privacy is one. The government we have had the last four years has been continually supporting measures like Bill C-51 that restrict the freedom and privacy we all enjoy.
Almost everyone I’ve talked to here in the Cariboo is against Bill C-51. And C-51 is not the only such bad bill the Conservatives have supported. As your MP I would champion less government intrusion into our freedoms. Secondly, economic concerns are a big issue for a lot of us right now.
I would speak up in Ottawa for sound economic policies that will create a sustainable future. I support reducing exports of raw resources. If we keep raw resources here and refine them we can keep jobs here. Lastly we need to stop the continual debt and balance the budget. Our current government has been running deficits and it’s time to stop. I would be a voice in Ottawa for fiscal responsibility and a debt-free Canada.
NDP candidate Trent Derrick
Economy: We will promote a healthy middle class by reducing the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent and we will invest in value-added sectors of our economy to create jobs. We will support and promote forestry products in Canada and abroad and provide annual, stable, long-term investment for municipal infrastructure projects.
The NDP is committed to fostering economic diversification for communities hit hard by the destruction of the mountain pine beetle by acting upon the numerous studies already conducted.
We will build a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations to foster and promote sustainable jobs from our resources balanced with our environment and communities.
People: We are committed to improving healthcare, seniors care, and education and skills training. We will re-open front-line offices for veterans and bring back science to help guide our decisions.
Bill C-51: New Democrats know that free societies are safe societies, and we’ll keep fighting for your rights and freedoms.
The Harper Conservatives and the Justin Trudeau Liberals voted in favour of Bill C-51. I do not support Bill C-51 and an NDP led government will get rid of the Bill by repealing it.
Conservative candidate Todd Doherty
My top three concerns are the economy, jobs and opportunities for our families, and working for our region.
I am the only candidate in this riding that has a plan that can be implemented to ensure that our economy grows, that taxes stay low, and that we’re not taking on new debt.
By paying down the public debt, we can ensure that less of your money is being used to pay for interest and that more of it is being used to fund tax breaks and social programs like healthcare.
Our government has created 1.3 million new jobs since the Great Recession, the best record of any G-7 country, including the U.S.
We plan to not only add to this through opening up new opportunities for Canadians, but ensuring that 700,000 more Canadians are homeowners by the end of 2019.
Our representative can’t have an attitude that opposes jobs and opportunities in our region. Our representative has to listen and fight for our region.
I don’t think the NDP and Liberals are being fair to the people of this region when they say they will represent our economic concerns. Their plans would cut jobs and opportunities in this region.
Green Party candidate Richard Jaques
The three concerns most prevalent in the Williams Lake are have been identified as job security, the economy and public safety; The forest industry is the backbone of our local economy, a reliable wood supply is key to our future success.
With the allowable cut being decreased from 5.77 million to less than 3 million, the industry must prepare to tool up to receive large amounts of beetle kill timber.
We do not want a repeat of Burns Lake; Federal monies must be invested in safer technologies to ensure worker safety.