Seniors’ issues take centre stage at candidates forum

When Burga Black’s children bickered she would put them in their room, and the 86-year-old was not shy to point out there was a lot of bickering going on in Ottawa.

Burga Black jots down a question while Lawrence Slind (right) watches the proceedings at the federal all-candidates meeting at the Penticton Seniors Drop-In Centre Tuesday.

Burga Black jots down a question while Lawrence Slind (right) watches the proceedings at the federal all-candidates meeting at the Penticton Seniors Drop-In Centre Tuesday.

When Burga Black’s children bickered she would put them in their room, and the 86-year-old was not shy to point out there was a lot of bickering going on in Ottawa.

The Penticton resident was one of about 80 at the all-candidates forum on Tuesday held at the South Main Seniors Drop-In Centre and sponsored by the South Okanagan Seniors Wellness Society and Penticton Western News.

Green Party candidate Dan Bouchard agreed with Burga, stating there are real challenges in the 21st century including improving health, environment and economy that “cannot wait for the political bickering to sort out.”

“I am here today to help bridge that gap, to show this audience that our age group has so much to offer and are willing to stand up and be counted, that we are articulate, that we are caring. We desire with all our hearts the skill sets necessary to save ourselves and this planet from the imminent hardships we are just beginning to experience.” said Bouchard.

“I am here today to tell you we need you and we can’t do it without you. You are the only group that has the time, money, resources and skill sets to help us turn this thing around. I am here today to offer you a new choice, one that will help bridge the political gaps and provide a co-operative and new vision in the House of Parliament.”

Conservative candidate Dan Albas stressed the importance of his party continuing the work of their economic action plan.

“A strong economy helps us to pay for all the benefits and all the programs. I want to reiterate that a Conservative government will continue to be here for Canada, to be listening to the concerns of the country, to bring all the best ideas forward, presenting them to the House, and continue to stand up for all the things we agree with, without cutting provincial transfers or individual transfers with a low tax environment,” said Albas.

Albas also noted Canada is fortunate to have a strong health care system, and the budget introduced by the Conservatives guaranteed wait times on certain surgeries that are high priority and would continue to implement health care transfer increases of six per cent annually.

When it comes to voting, it is a question of priorities stated NDP candidate David Finnis. He said he is proud to belong to a party with a leader (Jack Layton) who has tried to make Parliament work, share opinions and find long-term environmental solutions instead of one-off programs.

“We in the New Democrat Party want to improve health care, bring in home care, bring in Pharmacare, increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement, strengthen the Canada Pension Plan. We want to deal with the issues of addiction and homelessness, not by putting those people in prison, that has far, far greater costs than using a detox centre,” said Finnis.

Liberal candidate John Kidder asked the crowd to vote for him because he is the most qualified and would be the most effective candidate. He contended that a partisan Conservative government would not be able to unite the country.

“There is a lot of daylight, as we say, between the Conservatives and the Liberals. There is not really very much between us, the NDP and the Greens. Together we can get back to the kind of politics that made this country great,” said Kidder. “We have to come together for Canada, rather than be continuously divided.”

There are three things independent candidate Sean Upshaw said he has heard from the voters while door knocking: they are concerned about the economy, the ethics of the government and seniors issues. While he said he is confident the country has recovered from the economic downturn, he is concerned about the ethics across all platforms.

“The reality is that while we continue to send individuals to Ottawa simply because they are for our party, we will end up sending the wrong people to Ottawa. As a result, we will have this bickering, back-fighting and all the things that take place that stall government and ignore people’s real concerns. The reality is that we need to take stock and look at that and say, ‘hey maybe we need to be sending people to Ottawa, people that actually really care about other people,’” said Upshaw.

Independent candidate Dr. Dietrich Wittel slammed the Conservative government for selling off raw resources to foreign interests that he said caused the Canadian dollar to soar, and in turn negatively effected the Canadian manufacturing sector.

“I want for you to have safe food, safe water and I want you to have resources for your grandchildren and mine too. I am running on my record. I get up when I don’t like things, I fight,” said Wittel.


Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

(Drive BC photo)
Vehicle incident closes Highway 3 east of Osoyoos

Drive BC says to avoid the area until the road is clear

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Most Read