Election 2015: Meet the Candidates — Langley Aldergrove

Langley-Aldergrove: Four candidates in the new federal riding discuss the top issues facing local voters

  • Thu Sep 24th, 2015 7:00pm
  • News

Margot Sangster — NDP

After nearly a decade of Stephen Harper, middle class families are working harder than ever, yet falling further behind.

I hear this almost every day out on the doorsteps talking to people in our community.

People in Langley and Aldergrove tell me again and again how hard it is for their family just to make ends meet. They’re worried about their children’s prospects.

Small businesses create eight out every 10 new jobs in Canada and we need a plan to support small business owners in Langley and Aldergrove.

Tom Mulcair and the NDP have committed to reducing the tax rate on small businesses from 11 per cent to nine percent, allowing them to hire new people, buy new equipment, and spend more money in our local economy. Our community’s health depends on having vibrant local businesses create jobs and help people work close to home and spend more time with their families.

Access to quality, affordable childcare is a critical issue in Langley-Aldergrove and right across the country. Tom Mulcair and the NDP are committed to creating one million quality childcare spaces at $15 per day, with 110,000 of those spaces here in British Columbia.

Far too many parents, and they are overwhelmingly women, discover that the cost of childcare eats up most or all of the income they could earn returning to work.

Some are forced to abandon their careers altogether.

This is bad for families, and bad for businesses that have invested in their employees’ training and experience. Giving families in Langley-Aldergrove a quality, affordable childcare option is good for our economy, and good for parents, who can provide a higher standard of living for their children.

Canadian seniors, people who have worked throughout their lives to build this country, deserve to live in dignity and be treated with respect by their government.

I have spoken with many seniors and their families in Langley-Aldergrove, and they are deeply concerned that they won’t be able to access proper home care or find appropriate long-term care. Tom Mulcair and the NDP are committed to working with the provinces and territories to invest in home care, build 5,000 more nursing home beds, and deliver stable, long-term funding for seniors’ care.

New Democrats will return the retirement age to 65 from 67, and provide $400 million in additional funding for the guaranteed income supplement.

These were key priorities for Jack Layton, and a Tom Mulcair government will continue that work and ensure that no Canadian senior has to live in poverty.

 

Leon Jensen — Liberal Party

I’ve found that the many conversations that I have had on doorsteps throughout the riding have touched on a wide variety of issues.

First, people are primarily concerned with the economy and the state of their own personal finances.

This fits in with what we’ve been seeing nationally, as the middle class is feeling the strain of higher costs for their housing, their food and their transportation needs.

While low oil prices have somewhat lessened the impact this summer, there is considerable worry about what will happen if oil prices start to return to their previous levels.

Of course it’s not just the price of transportation that has increased. There are a host of costs that are associated with living in the Lower Mainland and raising a family.

That is why the Liberal Party has focused on bringing fairness back to the middle class, fairness that equates to providing a substantial Universal Child Care Benefit to families with children that is pro-rated to family income.

Fairness that is based on bringing in a new tax bracket of 33 per cent for those making more than $200,000 and lessening the tax burdens to Canadians earning between $44,701 and $89,400 from 22 per cent to 20.5 per cent. These measures only help if you have a steady job that brings in a sufficient income. That’s why our plan calls for immediate investment in infrastructure and green technology, both areas that have a proven record for sustainable job creation.

I have also been frequently asked about the environment and what our plans are to address the ongoing concerns with climate change. These issues go hand in hand and need to be addressed so that they are not simply left for our children and grand-children to resolve.

We need to ensure that all development is environmentally sustainable. We need to ensure that the National Energy Board is robust enough to determine the suitability of projects brought forward for its review.

We need to ensure that our federal government sits as a partner with its provincial counterparts in determining the best way to address environmental concerns at a national level. We will participate at the Paris climate conference and work with our international partners in a co-operative manner in order to reduce our emissions not only in Canada, but also in North America and the world.

We can be world leaders in facing environmental challenges and Langley can be a leader in Canada in advancing green technology industry.

You can see from my background that I have extensive experience with the Canadian Armed Forces as both a part-time and a full-time reservist. I have served with NATO on exercises in Germany in the 1970s while facing the Warsaw Pact and have served in the former Yugoslavia as a member of the United Nations Peacekeeping operation.

Veterans are not just from the generation that served in the Second World War and Korea. They may well be a young reservist that has served in Afghanistan and lives on the same street as you, or the slightly older one that has served in Bosnia, Croatia, Haiti or the Congo. They pledged their service for the nation in an unlimited capacity and for that service, Canada needs to recognize that there is an obligation to look after them and their families.

First responders are also included in our Liberal pledge to look after those that have been scarred by traumatic incidents. They are part of that invaluable team that rush towards danger while others rush away. I am committed to ensuring that we, as a nation, look after them as they have looked after us.

Hopefully, we can generate the conversations necessary to make our democracy thrive and increase the voter turnout on Oct. 19.

 

Mark Warawa — Conservative Party

I believe the priority issues facing Langley and Canada are the economy, safety and security, and the environment.

Since I was elected in 2004 and was given the honour to represent “Beautiful Langley” in Canada’s Parliament, I have worked hard to support jobs and economic growth.

I support our world-leading Conservative Economic Action Plan which includes low taxes, free trade, support for skills-training, immigration reforms, and investments in infrastructure and innovation. The global economic climate remains fragile and uncertain; however our Economic Action Plan is working and includes:

Lowering taxes on families and Canadian businesses including the largest tax cut for small- and medium-sized businesses in nearly 30 years;

Concluding free trade agreements with 39 countries, including the European Union and South Korea, to significantly increase export opportunities for Canadian businesses and create jobs for Canadians;

Providing support to Canadians completing apprenticeships, and establishing the Canada Job Grant to ensure skills-training leads to future employment;

Reforming Canada’s immigration system to ensure that it complements the country’s economic needs;

Launching the longest and largest investment plan for public infrastructure in Canada’s history;

Helping firms invest in new technologies and research and development through targeted tax relief and funding partnerships with Canada’s universities and colleges.

Regarding safety and security, our Conservative government is addressing the ongoing instability in the Middle East and the threat of global terrorism from the barbaric so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria: ISIS. Canada should, along with the other G-7 members, continue to participate in the international coalition against ISIS, to degrade its capabilities to harm Canadians and others. We stand on guard for Canada and honour our shared G-7 commitment to providing humanitarian support in conflict-affected areas.

Over the last 11 years, I have presented legislation that has dealt with justice issues constituents have brought to me…one was the “Safe at Home Bill”.

The courts had sentenced a Langley sex offender to serve his sentence at home, right across the street from his young victim. The mom of the victim asked me, “Why should we have to move from our home, we are the victims?” I agreed and had the Criminal Code of Canada amended so that the courts must ensure a safe distance between the victim and offender.

I have been working on another bill for a local family and all Canadians who have lost a loved ones to a drunk driver. 22year old Kassandra Kaulius was killed by a drunk driver. I want to continue working on Kassandra’s Law to amend Impaired Driving Causing Death legislation. The bill would require mandatory sentencing and change the definition from impaired driving causing death to Vehicular Homicide.

I am an advocate for protecting our environment and believe in sustainable development. based on world-leading science. I am pleased to participate with partners for the annual Langley Environmental Hero awards to acknowledge the incredible environmental work occurring in our community.

Canada is one of the best countries in the world. We live in the new federal riding of Langley-Aldergrove, one of the fastest growing ridings in Canada. I am happy to have played a part in getting Langley an improved border crossing for Aldergrove, numerous new bridges and roads, a new interchange for 216 Street and an improved Bedford Channel in Fort Langley. There is many important things yet for me to do…that is why I am running again. I am honoured to have represented everyone in Langley since 2004, and hope I will be given the privilege of continuing to work hard for everyone in the new riding of Langley-Aldergrove.

 

Simmi Dhillon  — Green Party

Canadians have lost faith in their government. Somewhere, somehow, the voices of our communities have been muted at a federal level.

Be it visible in lack of adequate, meaningful conversations with regard to issues that matter (eg. the proposed twinning of the KM pipeline, senior care, veteran care, universal childcare, etc.)  or lack of proper representation of a constituency.  Entire communities such as the Kwantlen First Nations and our homeless population are ignored.

Peaceful rallies see no presence of our MP.  How can such hot-button topics in a community not illicit a response from its MP?

Because MPs have lost touch with their constituents and instead bow to pressure from special interest groups and from their own parties.  They speak and move as a group.

How does that represent each unique constituency they represent?

The Green Party of Canada is the only party that allows its MPs to speak the mind of their constituents and not that of its party.

The mandate of a Green Party MP is to speak for her constituency as a whole and to ensure that residents’ collective voice is heard in Ottawa.

An MP works for all equally and not only for those who vote for her.

On Oct. 20, we are all one party. That is when the work begins.  We need to work together to repeal Bills such as C-51, which will further mute our voices.  Bill C-51 was introduced to the country as a bill to fight security threats.

Unfortunately, it contained portions that have ramifications on our rights of freedom of speech and peaceful gathering.  We are currently a policed state.  The Green Party is the only party prepared to work towards a full repeal of this ignorant bill.

We will, of course, look into real threats to our nation and its security and make recommendations for changes that are not packaged into an ominous bill.

We will be honest and forthcoming with information so that Canadians can make decisions not having been forced to do so out of fear.

We will make moves to have our voices respected again on an international level in matters pertaining to the environment, our treatment of First Nations peoples, quality of life and humanitarianism.  We live in the birthplace of British Columbia — let’s lead by example and do better because we know better.

It is our job to protect this natural wonder and ensure our waterways, food sources and farmlands are safe.

As a community we will work together to ensure Kinder Morgan does not further jeopardize our well being by way of potential harm to our food and water sources.

Buying local and supporting local small and medium businesses is the best way to develop an economy.  On Oct. 19, please vote for me so that together we can protect our home.