Federal MP hopefuls speak out on issues

Four candidates for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca race talk of local issues

Each of the candidates running in the federal election on May 2 and vying to be the MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca was asked the following question:

What do you think are the biggest issues facing residents in the Juan de Fuca and specifically for the area from Beecher Bay to Port Renfrew?

The candidates’ responses are in alphabetical order.

 

Troy DeSouza

Conservative Party

An important issue is making sure that our recreational fishermen have fair and balanced access to our halibut fisheries. It also means that commercial fishermen who rightfully hold quota should receive reasonable compensation. A more fair allocation for recreational fishers will help them plan and have a more successful fishing season.

For the riding as a whole, transportation is my number one issue and one of the key concerns of residents in this riding.

Families shouldn’t be wasting time stuck in the Colwood crawl. Building a McKenzie overpass is a vital, first step in a long-term plan to improve the commute for residents in Greater Victoria. Currently, commuters can idle in their vehicles, bumper-to-bumper, for upwards of two hours a day as they try to squeeze through the McKenzie interchange. This blockage is not only bad for businesses and families but it is detrimental to the environment.

We need to fix this problem in order to help seniors get to their medical appointments, workers get to their jobs and families to get home for dinner.

campaign@troydesouza.ca

 

Randall Garrison

New Democratic Party

Healthcare is top of mind in this riding. Jack Layton’s plan to hire 1,200 doctors and 6,000 nurses provides some hope for the hundreds of families in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca who don’t have a family doctor, and for the people on wait lists who need better access to health care.

And with critical healthcare negotiations immediately following the election, Canadians need MPs they can trust. New Democrats will take concrete steps to train more family doctors, improve homecare and make prescription medicines a little more affordable.

One of our biggest issues in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca is a crippling lack of childcare space. It’s long past time for a national childcare strategy that creates affordable, childcare spaces in our communities.

We have wait lists for infant care running to 18 months and private care is incredibly expensive. One of my top priorities in Ottawa will be to make childcare and education more accessible to everyone.

The cost of living here is very high, and we have seniors living below the poverty line. Our plan to increase the GIS immediately will ensure that no senior is living in poverty. By eliminating clawbacks to the OAS and GIS, seniors will be able to better keep up with cost of living. Our improvements to the Canada Pension Plan will make everyone’s retirement income more secure by doubling benefits paid after only seven years.

There was a lot of public support when I raised the motion at Esquimalt Council to support the ban on tanker traffic. We were the first municipality to do that and it made a strong statement about our community’s commitment to the environment. People throughout Esquimalt Juan de Fuca riding want to protect our fragile coastline from oil tanker spills.

They also want a government that will take real action on climate change. In this riding that means support for transportation alternatives that will allow people to get out of their cars.  This can be achieved through expanded bike paths and development of commuter rail services.

randallgarrison@ndp.ca

 

Shaunna Salsman

Green Party

Muir Creek, Avatar Grove, Jordon River, Juan de Fuca Trail, we know that the environment has been front and centre  in our community and the Green Party of Canada will make sure these issues are addressed. We need to ensure Canadian ownership of our natural resources so Canadians remain in control of the future of Canada, reap the benefits of Canadian resources, and retain the right to determine their use.

We can reap better economic, environmental and social benefits from our forests. We must improve our logging practices and become a world leader in sustainable management of this potentially fully renewable resource. We must extract more economic value from every tree cut and move quickly towards eliminating raw log exports.

As a result of decades of federal government mismanagement we have seen our fisheries decline. We need protection of our fish habitat from stream to ocean. We must do the right thing today to protect our fisheries for future generations. I believe that Canada can restore its wild fish populations as well as protect Canadian fishermen by stiffening logging policy around salmon bearing streams, ratifying the global treaty to ban bottom-trawling and allowing fishermen to have a greater role in managing fisheries through co-management provisions.

Income splitting supports the decisions of parents whom choose to stay home with their children. The Green Party is also committed to a high-quality, federally-funded childcare program in Canada, accessible to any family that would like to place children into early childhood education.

I have seen and felt the effects of bad government; I want a government that will empower individuals, families and communities. I believe improvements can be made immediately while recognizing that sustainability is essential for future generations.

shaunna.salsman@greenparty.ca

 

Lillian Szpak

Liberal Party

I’ve been talking to people throughout the riding, and I hear the same issues coming up again and again: people want a strong economy with secure jobs, quality healthcare that’s available when it’s needed, and support for families. In this part of the riding, residents have told me that jobs, the environment, tourism, local fishing and logging, and transportation are high on their list of priorities.

Jobs such as farming, fishing and forestry can mean some uncertainty for workers and their families. People want to know that there will be support for them if it’s needed, but through smart planning and policy, we can help strengthen these industries.

Preserving natural areas such as Avatar Grove and the Juan de Fuca Trail are important for our environment, but it also ultimately helps stabilize forestry and fisheries – enhancement of salmon habitat at Charters Creek, for example, helps ensure strong salmon catches in the future. Encouraging value-added jobs in fishing and logging, as well as developing tourism that capitalizes on the area’s natural beauty, could add new jobs to the area.

More and more young families are choosing to make their home in the riding, bringing a need for more schools, recreation facilities and child-care services. The increase in population also puts pressure on roads – especially since the area is served by only one major road. Providing a secondary route in and out of the area is a priority. For those who commute to Victoria or the Western Communities, addressing traffic flow is key.

But really, the job of an MP is to represent your concerns, so I hope you’ll let me know what you think. I can be reached at team@lillianszpak.ca.

One other candidate came forward stating he was running. Louis “S.O.S.” Lesosky said he was running for the Human Race Party 2011. We received no response to our question.

An all-candidates forum is scheduled for April 28 at the Sooke Community Hall didndign Room. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. To date, three candidates have confirmed attendance.