Abbotsford South candidates square off on Highway 1, taxation and COVID-19

BC Liberal Bruce Banman, BC Green Aird Flavelle and CHP’s Laura-Lynn Thompson debate on Zoom

Transportation, taxation and the COVID-19 pandemic were three of the biggest issues candidates from the Abbotsford South riding bandied about during an all-candidates meeting conducted via Zoom on Thursday afternoon.

Bruce Banman from the BC Liberal Party, Aird Flavelle of the BC Green Party and Laura-Lynn Thompson from the Christian Heritage Party of BC were the three participants. BC NDP candidate Inder Johal was not present at the event.

The meeting, hosted by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association, opened at noon and saw representatives from those groups and members of the general public submit questions.

Banman, who currently serves as a City of Abbotsford councillor and was a former mayor, stated that he has the necessary local knowledge and experience to take on the role. He said becoming an MLA will allow him to tackle bigger issues like the widening of Highway 1.

Banman and Flavelle sounded remarkably similar on their ideas to fix the gridlock on the highway, with both candidates stating they want more transit options available to commuters. The key difference between the two was that Flavelle only wants lanes opened up for commercial vehicles or buses while Banman wants an expanded highway open to all commuters. Banman previously had worked on an extension of an additional lane of Highway 1 to the Whatcom Road exit.

Thompson also agreed that the highway should be widened, and questioned why the NDP and Liberal parties had not solved this issue after so many years of being in power.

Banman also shared his vision for a rapid rail transit system that he would like to see stretch from Hope to Surrey and connect the region to Metro Vancouver. Despite this dream, Banman also said he would be reluctant to have Abbotsford join TransLink – while Flavelle and Thompson both supported that idea.

The BC Liberal Party’s plan to eliminate the provincial sales tax for one year and then bring it back at a reduced rate the following year was also discussed, with Flavelle questioning how the government would be able to make up that lost taxation revenue.

Banman stated the extra money in the pockets of voters would stimulate the local economy. Thompson said she would hold a referendum on removal of the PST and said health care costs are a bigger financial drain, with taxpayers footing the bill for sex change operations under current governments.

Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was important for all three candidates, with Thompson saying the BC NDP mishandled the lockdown. She said such severe restrictions were not needed. Thompson said COVID-19 doesn’t affect children and added that most people in B.C. don’t know anyone who has had the virus. She said the demand for masks isn’t helpful and we are living in fear.

Banman said he personally knows someone who has died from COVID-19, but agreed that the BC NDP’s reopening plan has been poor. He said parents must be given safe options and more discussion needs to occur. Flavelle said he was flabbergasted that schools have been opened and he is worried about the safety of children in schools.

Thompson added that the shutdown was not necessary and many businesses were hurt by the decisions made by the government. She mentioned that she was in Abbotsford recently and wanted to go to Earls Restaurant, but that, because of the lockdown, the establishment was closed. Banman rebutted, stating that Earls hasn’t been open in Abbotsford for many years and Thompson isn’t aware of that fact because she doesn’t live in the community.

RELATED: Earls to close Abbotsford location

Thompson, who is the leader of the CHP, claimed that her party is free of corruption and urged Abbotsford voters to give her a chance. She said corruption in the established parties runs all the way from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Banman himself, who she said has many people in Abbotsford upset about a casino deal many years ago.

Banman said he wasn’t in power during the casino scandal and reiterated that Thompson does not live here and isn’t sure what she’s talking about.

All three candidates seemed to agree that more can be done to work with First Nations people in B.C. and also that seniors deserve more assistance, especially during the COVID-19 era. All three also blamed the BC NDP for ongoing issues involving landlords and tenants.

This was the final all-candidates meeting scheduled before the election on Oct. 24.

RELATED: Abbotsford West candidates spar on Highway 1, light rail, housing and snap election

RELATED: Infrastructure projects, COVID-19 recovery biggest points of conflict in Abbotsford-Mission debate

abbotsfordAldergroveBC Votes 2020Langley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elections BC has sent out almost 700,000 mail voting packages as of Oct. 14 with just under 3.5 million registered voters. (Black Press Media File)
Abbotsford South and West ridings see more than 16,000 votes cast ahead of election

More than a third of all votes have likely been cast already

Students at Brookswood Secondary participated in Student Vote 2020. (Katie Glover/Special to Langley Advance Times)
PHOTOS: Students cast a ballot for Langley candidates

Brookswood Secondary participated in Student Vote 2020

Voting locations in Langley for the 2020 BC provincial election. (Google)
MAP: Voting locations in Langley

Sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Aldergrove legion Branch 265 president Doug Hadley presents a poppy to Langley Township mayor Jack Froese. (Madeline Roach/Special to the Aldergrove Star)
Poppy sales begin at Aldergrove legion branch #265

Branch president Doug Hadley shared the poem Who is a Veteran to begin the time of remembrance

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Most Read