ELECTION 2015: Q&A with the South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates

What issue takes top priority for you in this riding?

  • Sep. 15, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Richard Cannings, NDP

The top priorities in this riding are as diverse as our geography and population, but the overarching concern is affordability — creating more jobs in our region and reducing the cost of living, particularly in housing. We must pay attention to seniors care, sustainable economic development and the creation of well-paying jobs for young families and the youth of our communities. Tom Mulcair and the NDP will address this through:

• Encouraging job growth here and across Canada by reducing the small business tax from 11 to 9 per cent.

• The NDP will create additional employment opportunities in our region by providing municipalities more funds to make badly-needed infrastructure improvements.

• Re-engaging the federal government in affordable housing, through an Affordable Housing Act that will create 10,000 more affordable units.

• Providing the long-term, stable funding to deliver quality health care and seniors’ care. We will invest in home care for an additional 41,000 seniors that offers patient-focused care from their own homes, and help provinces build 5,000 more nursing home beds.

• An investment of $200 million to support paid internships, youth employment and skills training through co-op work programs.

• On a recent visit to Penticton, Tom Mulcair pledged $30 million to support the promotion of tourism in Canada, directly benefiting the economy of the South Okanagan and West Kootenay.


Connie Denesiuk, Liberal

During the past 16 months I have been asking that same question on doorsteps, at kitchen tables, in coffee shops and around campfires.   This is what I have heard:

The economy and the environment are the two top priorities — people expect their government to do better with both!

A Liberal government will do better, starting with the economy.

Harper’s failed fiscal policy has resulted in another recession, a $150 billion additional debt, and no balanced budgets in the past eight years.

A Liberal government will kick start job creation and economic growth by nearly doubling our federal infrastructure investment to $125 billion over the next decade.  This investment will include:

• Green infrastructure projects that our riding’s communities desperately need – such as climate resilient infrastructure and renewable energy projects.

• Social infrastructure projects such as affordable housing, seniors housing and early learning facilities.

• Transportation infrastructure, to get our goods to market, and our people to and from work.

When the middle class does well, Canada’s economy does well. A Liberal government will cut taxes for the middle class, so those Canadians can keep more of their paycheques. We will also create a new tax-free monthly benefit for families with children. It will be bigger, easier to access and, above all, exclusively for the people who actually need it. Nine out of 10 families will be better off under the Liberal plan.


Brian Gray, Independent

Presenting policy to avert the threat of thermonuclear war and informing Canadians of this very real possibility is my top priority in this federal campaign.

The troubling events in the Ukraine and Syria, while far from the boundaries of our riding, nevertheless represent the most important issue for me. The “regime change” campaigns initiated by the U.S. along with British and NATO support compelled me to campaign in this election.

I could not accept Stephen Harper and former Foreign Affairs minister James Baird morally, ideologically, militarily and financially supporting an illegal and patently fascist nazi junta in Kiev, with not one peep of dissent from Mulcair or Trudeau nor any sitting member of this parliament.

This frightening and escalating geo-political mess can be very simply explained. Ongoing NATO expansion has nothing to do with Russian aggression. The insolvent London/Wall Street financial system is finished and this impending collapse coupled with the emergence of the BRICS nations’ new credit mechanisms, presents a threat to the desperate British/US/NATO waning global hegemony.

The modernization of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, the already established U.S. missile defence systems in Eastern Europe, and NATO’s first-strike doctrine all permit no other conclusion than a preparation for war. Russia and China have in turn reacted with the modernization of their own nuclear capabilities and the development of supersonic missiles. We must return to negotiation and diplomacy. We must return to the ideals of peacekeeper that this nation was once proud of. Withdrawing Canadian military from NATO would send a powerful message to the world.

Marshall Neufeld, Conservative

My number one priority is the economy.

Local businesses are the engine of our economy in South Okanagan West Kootenay.

As we all know, these are unstable global economic times and we cannot afford Thomas Mulcair and the NDP`s reckless spending or careless planning.

Unlike the NDP, keeping taxes low, supporting families, creating and protecting jobs is a top priority for me. Our Conservative government will lower the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to 9 per cent over the next four years – providing $2.7 billion in tax relief to small businesses across the riding and around the country.

We plan to cut payroll taxes by over 20 per cent in 2017 which will enable hardworking constituents to see their take-home pay increase and will allow businesses to create new jobs and invest in their employees.

The local economy will also benefit from continued expansion and improvements to the Penticton airport.  I am committed to advocating for the funding of this.

The Okanagan and Creston Valleys have seen a $20 million annual boost to the economy from the signing of the free trade agreement with China on the export of cherries.  If elected I will work with industry and government to continue finding new markets for local farmers and businesses.

Thanks to the prudent economic management of the Harper Government, hardworking constituents and small businesses are enjoying the lowest federal tax burden in more than 50 years. As a result, our economy is growing and moving forward despite global economic turmoil.


Doug Pederson, Independent

It is not about the budget,  it is about where Canada is heading.

On our watch the stellar economy and employment prospects of the mid 1970s have disappeared.

We were almost self sufficient back then. China’s current goal is self sufficiency. Why not us.

Our goal should be to reverse this decline and identify those laws and lobbyists that allowed for the outsourcing.

We all know who sold us out.


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