ELECTION 2015: Q&A – Why should people vote for you?

Last in a series of question and answers with the South Okanagan - West Kootenay candidates.

  • Oct. 15, 2015 9:00 a.m.

Q: Why should we vote for you?

Richard Cannings, NDP

As I’ve talked to people across this big new riding for the past two years, the overwhelming message I hear is “It’s time for change.”  And their choice for change in this riding is the NDP — the only party that can defeat the Conservatives here.

An NDP government would create a strong economy by supporting small businesses — the real job creators — with a two per cent tax break.  We would make big corporations pay 2 per cent more, since the big tax cuts the Liberals and Conservatives have been giving them over the past 15 years have done nothing to create business investment, and have taken billions of dollars out of our pockets each year.

We would repair the environmental protections that the Conservatives gutted through their omnibus bills, and redirect subsidies now paid to the oil and gas sector to innovative industries and renewable energy.  Our climate change targets are the strongest of all the parties, and will transition Canada to a low-carbon future while creating good jobs across the country.

The NDP will bring affordable childcare to Canada, helping young families struggling to make ends meet. We would protect pension income-splitting for seniors and would lift thousands out of poverty through a $400-million boost to the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

I have worked throughout this region and across Canada with scientific colleagues, community advocates and top CEOs; I have the experience and energy to work effectively for you. It’s time for change! Together, we can build a fairer, greener more prosperous Canada.


Connie Denesiuk, Liberal

The Liberal party has now taken the lead in the polls, with a well-endorsed plan for immediate, positive change.  Stephen Harper is desperately using fear and division to distract voters away from his dismal economic, social and environmental record; and Thomas Mulcair will have to delay NDP action plans because of his balanced budget promise.

Below are some of the reasons that I believe make me the best choice to represent the electorate in our riding:

1 – The South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding will benefit most from having their Member of Parliament be part of the governing party.

2 – In my past school board and other roles I successfully advocated for my constituents at local, provincial and federal levels. Voters demonstrated their trust in me by ensuring I topped the polls in every election in which I’ve run.

3– I’m action and goal oriented. Every group and board I have brought together or joined has been geared towards positive and constructive action.

4 – I’m approachable. I’ve traveled to all areas of the riding throughout the past 18 months, talking with residents with to learn about the issues that are most important to them.

5 – I will work hard. I grew up with a sign posted on my father’s office door that read: “The harder I work the luckier I get.” I believe that my own commitment to work hard on behalf of South Okanagan–West Kootenay citizens will help to improve our riding’s economic, social and environmental circumstances.


Brian Gray, Independent

For many months prior to and over the course of this lengthy campaign I have presented policy which will ensure a progressive and prosperous future for Canada and for our country to play a positive role as a truly independent sovereign nation in our world’s challenging future.

None of the other candidates’ platforms reflect this much needed policy change. None address the immediate need to restore Canada’s version of Glass Steagall, the “Four Pillars” banking regulations which will protect our economy from the $23 trillion of useless derivative gambling debt held by Canadian charted banks.

None of the other candidates are calling for the re-institution of the Bank of Canada to issue our nation’s own credit to finance infrastructure projects of grand design like high-speed rail, major water management programs and the sustainable and high technological development of our Canadian Arctic. No other candidate is calling for the restoration of our nuclear industry to meet our own energy needs and for global development.

Sane nation states around the world are committed to nuclear energy production. No other candidate even mentions the need for Canada to re-vitalize our space program. Not one other candidate has called for the dissolution of NATO. Nobody seems concerned that the Harper government has been spending $67 million each day for Canada’s participation in NATO’s unwarranted and unprovoked aggression.

None of the other candidates have called for eliminating the exorbitant budgets of the British monarchy. These are considerable amounts of tax dollars we foolishly waste to maintain our status as a British colony.

Canadians need to have a voice for real change in Ottawa.


Marshall Neufeld, Conservative

The Conservatives have the right policy and I have the ability and experience to be an effective representative for this riding.

Having spent over two years working on Parliament Hill for former MP Stockwell Day, I understand how both Parliament and Government work. I will be able to start advocating for this riding on day one. The communities in this large riding are diverse, as are their needs. I have the experience, the ability and the energy to represent this beautiful but vast riding.

Only the Conservatives are committed to not raising your taxes. The NDP want to raise payroll taxes on every working Canadian, by $1,500 for the average employee. In contrast, the Conservatives will reduce EI premiums by 20 per cent by 2017.

Only the Conservatives will fight for increased trade through increasing our access to global markets. The Trans-Pacific Partnership will mean the removal of tariffs as high as 56 per cent on Okanagan icewine, 30 per cent on cherries and 50 per cent on beef.

Only the Conservatives have a responsible foreign policy. No other party would have led the charge to remove Russia from the G8 after they invaded Ukraine. For the crisis in Syria and Iraq, no other party would have followed a responsible, multi-pronged approach which includes a military response, providing food and water to millions in Western Syria and bringing thousands of refugees to Canada in a responsible manner — keeping the appropriate focus on security.

I ask for your vote on Oct.19.


Samantha Troy, Green

People should vote for me because I am representing the best vision which will provide our constituents with a positive future.

Canada is at a critical crossroads in history. We can choose to “stay the course” and delve further into a world governed by apathy, fear, greed and international isolation. A world where the very rich get richer and the rest of us do not.

Alternatively we can embrace the actual evidence- based challenges which our society is experiencing and we can all become active participants in adapting and prospering. The Green Party platform is smart, sustainable and fair for all Canadians. It was the first of the national parties platforms to be released and, while imitation is indeed a form of flattery, it is noteworthy that both the NDP and Liberal platforms have subsequently borrowed much from the Green vision.

The Conservatives, on the other hand, have offered little beyond more wealth shifting to benefit the very few. They are not the party of the future and Canadians will be paying for their $182 billion worth of indebted choices for some time yet.

Canadians want confidence that their jobs, homes and families will have a healthy, prosperous and secure future. Investing in education, health care, infrastructure and adaptive technology to facilitate our changing climate is crucial to our prosperity, as is reforming our electoral system so that all Canadian voices can be heard.

The Green Party offers fully costed and substantiated solutions which will carry Canada past this historical crossroads and into a progressive future. Voting for a Green Party MP signals a commitment to wanting to be on the right side of history and a confidence in the fact that you are electing a federal representative who will maintain integrity, transparency and accountability to the shared values which we all want to bequeath upon our grandchildren. It is a vote which you can be proud of casting.