Your election, your choice

Local organizations ask candidates the tough questions

Local organizations ask candidates the tough questions

Plenty of tough issues rest on this election, which is why Monday decided to ask some of our favourite organizations to grill the candidates with questions pertinent to their cause.


Environment“In many ecosystems of B.C., old-growth forest is incredibly scarce — 91 per cent of valley bottom ancient forest growth on the southern coast has been logged of the classic monumental trees. Are you willing to commit to fully ending old-growth logging in any regions or ecosystems of B.C.?”Ken Wu , Executive Director, Ancient Forest Alliance

Jane Sterk, Green: Yes. It is a policy of BC Greens that we stop all old-growth logging in B.C.

Carole James, NDP: The BC NDP is committed to protecting our province’s environment and coasts and will take measures to protect significant ecological areas including wetlands, estuaries and valuable old-growth forests.

Karen Bill, Liberal: Old-growth forests are not disappearing. There are more than 25 million hectares of old-growth forests in B.C. About 4.5 million hectares are fully protected, representing an area larger than Vancouver Island. Conserving old growth is an important part of long-term resource management. By law, forests that reflect the working definition of old growth must be retained in ecological units to meet biodiversity needs.

John Shaw, BC Communist Party: Yes, all regions of the province containing old-growth forests should be protected and maintained. The provincial government must ban raw log exports, and legislate the processing of timber locally for export as lumber or value-added products under public ownership and control.


Health + Social Services“What will you do to move forward on the implementation of safer consumption services in places of high need, like Victoria?”Katrina Jensen, Executive Director, AIDS Vancouver Island

“What investment will your party make to help end homelessness?”Alan Rycroft, Community Relations, Victoria CoolAid Society

Jane Sterk, Green: BC Greens support the use of evidence-based harm-reduction practices such as needle-exchanges, substitution treatments and safe consumption sites. Our drug policies would be ensured in all regions.

We will commit one per cent of B.C.’s budget to solving the housing crisis. We will mandate BC Housing to purchase existing units in stalled projects to provide an immediate pool of housing and support the development of new, non-profit co-operatives.

Carole James, NDP: We believe harm reduction is the best approach to the use of illegal drugs. A supervised injection site is regulated under the federal government. We would discuss the need for a site if an application came forward with the support of the community.

A $210-million B.C. Family Bonus is part of our plan to lift 8,000 families out of poverty. Other steps: cutting child-care cost by $2,000 for parents of toddlers; indexing increase to income assistance to CPI and building 1,500 units of affordable housing.

Karen Bill, Liberal: BC Liberals believe in a continuum of supports and programs to address challenges people with addiction issues face.  Harm reduction is one of the approaches supported. We have funded and continue to fund a number of harm-reduction initiatives.

We will continue to work with partners to address homelessness in the region. Our government has and will continue to invest significant capital dollars into new and renovated supportive housing.

John Shaw, BC Communist Party: I am in favour of establishing safer injection sites in places of high need, and I would work to counteract any campaigns in the media against these sites with a program of public and community education involving neighbourhood associations, advocacy groups and local levels of government, etc.

The Communist Party would commit to the construction of 5,000 new social housing units annually in the province. It would extend support to co-op and other non-profit housing alternatives.


Civil Liberties“What are you prepared to do to increase police accountability and respond to the ongoing tragedy of murdered and missing women, and the shocking Human Rights Watch Report on the crisis of policing with respect to aboriginal girls and women in Northern British Columbia?”Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, B.C. Civil Liberties Association

Jane Sterk, Green: Greens believe we need to restore confidence in law enforcement; law enforcement must be subject to reasonable limits and undergo periodic reviews. We will establish a provincial police service with a citizen’s assembly to make recommendation on policing and law enforcement.

Carole James, NDP: A BC NDP government will address the recommendations made by the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. We will also introduce measures to reduce poverty, establish a Ministry of Women’s Equality, and enhance support services for women and children.

Karen Bill, Liberal: Today’s BC Liberals are committed to improving the safety of vulnerable women. The Honourable Steven Point, former lieutenant governor of B.C., has been selected to chair a new advisory committee on the safety and security of vulnerable women. He will work with government as it implements the recommendations from the Missing Women’s Inquiry report.

John Shaw, BC Communist Party: I would favour the appointment of a fully public inquiry into the conduct of the police with respect to the scandalous breaches of duty and application of justice. The Communist Party would put all necessary resources into solving the cases of missing women across B.C.


Economics“What is your plan for Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums — do you have a tangible way to freeze or reduce them? And would you, in the next four years, introduce a fat or sugar tax in B.C.? How will you deal with issues of obesity?”Jordan Bateman, B.C. Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Jane Sterk, Green: BC Greens will phase out MSP premiums and fund the public health system from general revenue. We also see that a significant part of the problem is a lack of preventative care and action. Greens would increase tobacco taxes and institute a “junk food tax.” We support local economies, which includes reinvesting in our agriculture and eating more local produce.

Carole James, NDP: Since 2001, the Liberals have increased MSP rates eight times. Reversing those increases would cost about $1 billion per year, and that is not possible at this time. We believe that issues of obesity are important and will promote a healthy lifestyle for all British Columbians through increased health education.

Karen Bill, Liberal: Today’s BC Liberals are committed to providing British Columbians with a health care system that meets the demands of a population that is both changing and aging. Any changes to MSP rates would require a commensurate tax increase in other areas. We have no plans to implement a tax of this nature.

John Shaw, BC Communist Party: Abolish MSP premiums and other regressive user fees.  Finance the removal of MSP premiums with the restoration or pre-2001 tax rates on the wealthy and the corporations to add $2 billion annually to provincial revenues.  Establishment of public health education program designed to prevent obesity by developing,  high-fibre, low-fat, well-balanced diets requiring less meat.  Promote the consumption of local, organically grown, non-GMO veggies, fruits and whole grains. M

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

Just Posted

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Tudyk stars as Alien Harry Vanderspeigel in the new series Resident Alien (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
Resident Alien brings Vancouver Island to the small screen with January premiere

Quirky series shot in Ladysmith will air every Wednesday on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Joy Sharpe holds a picture of her late husband Ray while posing for a photograph with the Sybil Andrews painting ‘hauling’ before donating it to the Campbell River Hospice Society. (Submitted photo)
$6 painting turned into $10,000 charity windfall

A 1952 original Sybil Andrews painting donation fetches Campbell River Hospice Society a nice return

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Western Edge Theatre artistic director Brian March and local theatre artists Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas (from left) make up Western Edge’s new team of “artistic associates.” (News Bulletin file photos/Courtney Harder)
Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team

Western Edge hopes new ‘artistic associates’ will help form new ideas, reach new audiences

Sara Lopez Assu says she’s relatively happy with how the Campbell River Art Gallery team managed to weather the storm that was 2020. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River Art Gallery director reflects on ‘maybe our hardest year ever’

‘It would be easy to look back and be disappointed … but that’s not going to get us anywhere’

Jean Crowder, former MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, is the CVPAG honourary chair. (Submitted)
Art gallery group becomes registered charity in step towards realizing Duncan dream

Becoming a registered charity enables the CVPAG to greatly expand its potential donor base

From left to right; Jessica Kelly; Allaina Moore; Ben Rosnau; and Isaiah McAleese. Members of the ECHO Players Youth Group after they performed ‘Words, Words, Words’ by David Ives, in May 2019. (submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach youth theatre group looks at more livestream performances in 2021

Members stay active during pandemic with playwriting competitions and online play readings

Nanaimo artist Shawnda Wilson’s Jacana No. 1 is among the paintings she’ll have on display in her upcoming show at the Nanaimo Musuem. (Photo courtesy Shawnda Wilson)
Painting exhibit inspired by long-toed birds and jazz coming to Nanaimo Museum

Nanaimo artist Shawnda Wilson’s show ‘When Charles Speaks’ opens next week

Most Read