Questions were selected to address issues not covered in depth during the April 10th all-candidates debate. Candidates have been given 300 words to answer the following questions:
1 • What do you see as the best approach to bring year-round economic activity to the Columbia Valley?
2 • What provincial approach do you advocate on the urban deer issue in the Columbia Valley?
3 • Given the scientific consensus that fossil fuel emissions are driving global climate change, what changes if any would you make to B.C.’s carbon tax?
4 • What would be the next steps you would take on the proposed Jumbo Glacier ski resort development if you were elected?
5 • If elected, what would you do to ensure B.C. has a strong public education system?
Norm Macdonald – New Democratic Party
1. I believe we will build a balanced economy here in the Columbia Valley. Our forest industry is becoming stronger, our tourism industry is
rebounding and there are real opportunities in our agricultural sector. One of the things business needs in order to thrive is a predictable tax structure —no HST surprises. We need policies that support local food production and the use of those local food products in our hospitals, seniors’ homes and schools. It is also important that we have the ability to make decisions, within our community, about the public land that surrounds us.
2. The provincial government must provide resources and regulatory support for the plans that are developed by communities. As always, I believe local communities should have a say in decisions that affect them most. I believe that hazing could play a part in Invermere’s plan, just as it does in jurisdictions outside of B.C.
3. A BC NDP government will not change the carbon tax in the Columbia Valley. The BC NDP has committed to expanding the tax to include venting emissions from oil and gas operations.
4. I have been clear that I respect the wishes of the vast majority of people in the Columbia Valley. A BC NDP government will dismantle this fake resort municipality, which has given control over 6,000 hectares of public land to a small group of BC Liberal Party supporters.
5. I support investments that will provide students with the classroom support they need. This means hiring new teachers, education assistants, librarians and counselors. It is important that we stop playing political games with teachers in this province. We need to respect our educators. Lastly, a BC NDP government will take steps to make post-secondary education and trades training both more available and more affordable.
Doug Clovechok – Liberal
1. A strong economy and a secure tomorrow require effective communication and planning processes. One of the first actions I will take as your MLA will be the establishment of Community Advisory Boards in each of our major centres in the riding. Working directly with me, these boards comprised of a diverse demographic of people including chamber members and economic development officers, will set specific local economic goals and targets accompanied by key performance indicators.
2. As the MLA, I will work with municipal councils seeking whatever provincial supports are available. I support the District of Invermere’s 2011 recommendations that included a trap and cull program and a relocation program that would reduce the deer population to 50 by 2014.
3. British Columbians are proud of the fact that our government has implemented the world’s first broad-based carbon tax on greenhouse emissions. The tax is anticipated to have the equivalent of taking 80,000 cars off our roads. The tax has been supported by 70 leading economists. We have committed to suspend carbon tax rates for five years enabling other political jurisdictions to catch up with B.C.
4. Key to a strong economy is the creation of jobs and as the MLA, I will work closely with the duly and legally appointed Resort Municipality officials to ensure that all conditions of Jumbo Glacier Resorts Master Development Agreement are implemented and adhered to.
5. A strong economy and secure tomorrow begins with an effective public education system and that begins with Early Child Care. We have invested $34.8 million in our Success By 6 program and will be allocating an additional $32 million over three years to support the creation of 2,000 new licensed child care spaces that will make child care easier to find. Early Child care support and services will be a priority for me as your MLA.
To ask me any question prior to election day, I can be reached at email@example.com or at 250-688-1178.
Earl Olsen – Conservative
1. As tourism will always be a seasonal opportunity, we have to encourage other small business growth and development. In conjunction, we should be developing our resources, lumber, mining and encouraging business to develop secondary manufacturing and processing technologies.
2. The decision to control urban deer should be made at the local government level. The manner of control should be humane and inflict no unnecessary trauma or injury to the animals. Hazing with dogs or trapping are barbaric. Provincial wildlife officers should be utilized to ensure that the reduction or removal follows approved guidelines and restrictions.
3. The BC Conservatives will eliminate the carbon tax over a four-year period, starting in rural ridings. The tax is a regressive tax on individuals, businesses, and agriculture. We have few options to replace the use of cars and trucks to cover the distances we have to travel or to heat our homes. Without options of mass transit, the Carbon Tax and Carbon Trust penalizes rural and northern areas.
4. Jumbo has met the approval requirements established by the government. At this time future costs have to be borne by the developer. Eliminating the annual deficit or critical priorities such as twinning the Trans Canada Highway are a greater need. Limited public funds should not be utilized for this type of project in these economic times.
5. Young people are our most critical resource. Educators need to concentrate on educating them, rather than trying to determine what impact the next round of cuts, program funding reductions or school infrastructure needs will have on their teaching efforts. The Conservative party firmly believes that we have to take a leadership role in education, providing multi-year funding to allow schools and teachers to focus on the education.
For a detailed party platform, please visit www.bcconservative.ca or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurel Ralston – Green
1. The Columbia Valley, and the East Kootenays as a whole, has a tremendous amount to offer in terms of natural resources and ecology, arts and heritage, and education.
We also have an amazing wealth of innovative and creative people throughout the region. I think there are great opportunities here for research and development, through the college and affiliated universities – in agriculture, green building, and sports medicine, for example – and creative industries, from fine arts, to media, to architecture and industrial design.
2. Because I think it’s very important that regions and municipalities be quite autonomous when dealing with urban deer and other wildlife issues, I see the role of the province as one of support – providing relevant, accurate research into solutions and best practices, equipment when available, expertise and advice from appropriate ministries, and possibly some degree of funding.
3. B.C.’s carbon tax is a step in the right direction in dealing with fossil fuels, and I support the Green Party’s position that the tax be increased and applied to all greenhouse gas-emitting industries, and that this measure be supplemented with incentives and support for retrofits, among others, for an approach that is not strictly punitive.
4. I am wholeheartedly opposed to the Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal and wasdisappointed, frustrated, and frankly incredulous over the Province’s decision to create a municipality – in spite of strong, long-standing local opposition and ample evidence of potential environmental damage. My next step regarding this issue would be to research, in depth, the policies and laws that now apply to the municipality, and work towards halting the project.
5. Our public education system should foster critical thinking, curiosity, creative problem-solving, compassion, positive self-expression, and lifelong learning skills in students of all abilities. I would review curricula and funding, and support innovative educational approaches and techniques.