Q&A with the candidates

With the 41st federal election just days away, The Observer sent the following four questions to the six candidates in this riding. Those who responded were Liberal Diane Janzen, Conservative Mark Strahl, Dorothy-Jean O'Donnell from Marxist Leninist Party, Clive Edwards from Western Block and Gwen O'Mahony, NDP. Green Party candidate Jamie Hoskins did not respond.

With the 41st federal election just days away, The Observer sent the following four questions to the six candidates in this riding.  Those who responded were Liberal Diane Janzen, Conservative Mark Strahl, Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell from Marxist Leninist Party, Clive Edwards from Western Block and Gwen O’Mahony, NDP. Green Party candidate Jamie Hoskins did not respond.

The following are their answers:

What do you feel are the main election issues facing the residents of Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs?

Diane Janzen:

The main issues that have been raised with me at the many doors I have canvassed in Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs are as follows:  Health Care is the number one issue with concern about access to doctors and medical services and support for those who are taking care of sick loved ones as the population ages and the “sandwich generation” supports both parents and children. There is concern over the economy and ensuring jobs for families and local infrastructure.  The third is a concern over Parliament not working well and ensuring access to the Local Member of Parliament.

Mark Strahl:

I think the economy and crime are main issues across the riding, however, in Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs, I believe that there are major concerns about the Species at Risk Act (SARA), DFO ditch maintenance policies and how both affect agriculture and the economy going forward.

 

Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell:

We stand for an Anti-War Government. The bombing of Lybia is a violation of international law. Canada should get out of NATO and Afghanistan, and be a factor for peace in the world.

We need a new direction in the economy. Defend public services and restrict monopoly right. No more export of raw logs. Stop the embridge pipeline. For Light Rail Transit in the Fraser Valley.

For democratic renewal of the political process. Fund the process not the parties. Empower the people.

 

Clive Edwards:

The main issues facing all Canadians, including residents of Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs are being studiously ignored by all the other parties including the Greens. Our growing integration with the United States includes the recently signed Perimeter Security Agreement, public details of which are slim but indicate we may be subject to the American Patriot Act and their Homeland Security police state. The Americans have been plotting for years to undermine our Supply Market Management system as it relates to agricultural products. NAFTA is the main tool in this endeavour.  We need to abrogate NAFTA and get out of the World Trade Organization as the first steps in reclaiming our sovereignty.

Of course as long as the shots are called by Ottawa it doesn’t matter which party wins the election, Canada will be steered on the Globalist course our hijacked ship of state is headed for.

Foreign banks and global corporations dictate our taxes, our expenditures (on fighter jets we don’t need, for example) and on increasing the size of our police and prison system when the reality is we need fewer laws and more freedoms not less.

The Western Block Party is the only federal political party that has as its main plank increasing individual freedom and allowing individuals to take responsibility for how we want to live our lives.

 

Gwen O’Mahony:

Jobs and the environment.

 

How will you ensure that these issues will be addressed by the federal government?

Janzen:

We have committed to addressing access health care by introducing a Family Care Plan which will provide financial support for those who are taking care of sick loves ones and by bringing 1,500 new doctors and nurses to rural areas by providing loan forgiveness for those practicing in rural Canada and by offering more rural training. As far as the economy I am committed to working with Agassiz to address local infrastructure issues, to work with Chambers of Commerce to grow business, promoting key economic sectors including, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing and by working with First Nations on economic development. I am committed to being a strong local representative and being fully accessible to Agassiz by having specific constituency days, attending events and using technology to connect me with constituents.

 

Strahl:

When the former Liberal government passed the SARA legislation, Conservatives said that it was unworkable and put farmers and communities at risk. That is exactly what has happened as we have seen with the Salish Sucker problem. SARA will be reviewed in the near future, and I will be working with my Conservative colleagues to make sure that the next version of SARA allows for a common sense approach to environmental concerns, as opposed to the unworkable system currently in place.

 

O’Donnell:

An active and informed citizenry is the key element in ensuring that issues of concern are addressed. We need a Workers’ Opposition in the Parliament and within our communities. Workers, youth, seniors need to find ways of getting together to put forward a programme for the riding and ensure that the MP is accountable to the people of the riding.

 

Edwards:

The Western Block Party cannot form a government in this election because we are running only five candidates.  I will remind you, however, that the Reform Party of Canada began their ascent by electing only two MPs.

All Western Block candidates are outsiders to the political process.  We are all just citizens who have had enough and we aren’t going to take it anymore. None of us is beholden to a “back room” group, wielding power while being unaccountable, such as run the other parties.

As such we can tell the truth, the whole truth, about what is going on in Ottawa. We believe Canadians are intelligent enough to make their own decisions based on unbiased information. My job is to see that the federal government doesn’t get away with anything because they have near total control of information and spin.  My job is to work towards a Canada that works for westerners in general and those from Chilliwack – Fraser Canyon in particular.

 

O’Mahony:

Over the next years, popluation growth is expected to be significant in the FVRD. This will place increased pressure on water consumption, on service delivery and the environment.  Now is the time to focus on the task of making our area a leader in the green economy of the future.  With the support of NDP small business tax incentives, small business innovation will drive solutions to local needs.  It all starts with where we place our resources.  In order to safeguard the environment and create a better tomorrow for people, we must stop rewarding multinational corporations that take jobs out of Canada, and start rewarding Canadian companies creating jobs at home.

 

What does your party need to do better?

Janzen:

Ensure that every voter knows that the Liberal Party is the best option to manage tax dollars and our economy. We handed over $13 Billion dollars in surplus to the Conservative Government which now has a deficit of $56 Billion. As a person who has experience in managing tax payer dollars for the last nine years as a City Councillor in Chilliwack and School Trustee with balanced budgets and capital projects done on time and on budget I believe I have the respect for taxpayer dollars that is needed.

 

Strahl:

I believe our party would benefit from a better relationship with the media.

 

O’Donnell:

We need to communicate and work to build citizens committees for democratic renewal. We have a website mlpc.ca and a monthly magazine Worker’s Forum. In a riding so large as this one, I am sure there are many people who do not even know our party exists. One of the things we work for is a level playing field in elections. There are 18 registered political parties federally but we only hear about the big three or four. I look forward to meeting with people both during and after the election to discuss how to build the Workers’ Opposition.

 

Edwards:

We need to build on the hopes and dreams of Western Canadians for a righteous place to live and raise our families.  We need to build a country where government takes our direction and where we do not fear our government, where government serves us, rather than running us as a feed lot for the benefit of global corporations.

The Western Block Party needs to better serve as that lightning rod that can focus the frustrations of westerners on real, effective solutions to our problems, not the BS and compromise we get, if we get anything at all, from the other parties.

 

O’Mahony:

Dispelling and overcoming this nonsense from the Conservatives and Liberals that the NDP is not ready to govern and if elected is going to rain down on us the end of the world as we know it today!  This is complete hogwash. There are dozens of examples of successful social democratic governments in the western world that create prosperity and a thriving economy for their citizens, providing rich social programs to enable citizens to live longer and happier, less stressful lives.  The NDP needs to work hard to dispel the myths and negative labels placed on us for years by the 2 party fear mongers in the conservative and liberal parties.

 

How do you foresee managing an electoral district so large, and diverse in needs?

Janzen:

By setting specific constitutency days in the comunity to be fully accessible, by being present for community functions and events, by working cooperatively with the local municipal governments to address concerns. I have knocked on 1,100 doors to date to learn the issues and I am committed to being connected.

 

Strahl:

Fraser Canyon is 30,000 square kilometers in size.  I will continue the practice of having regular riding tours to meet face to face with constituents in their communities.  I will also use new technologies, such as the telephone town hall meetings that I have already used in this campaign, to reach out to people where they live and to connect the numerous communities in our riding.

 

O’Donnell:

We want to build citizens committees for democratic renewal in each and every community in the riding. I look forward to meeting with and organizing to build forums where people can get togetgher and address the problems they face, locallly, nationally and internationally. The empowerment of the people is needed to hold the MP accountable.

 

Edwards:

Hard work and long hours are not new to me.  I work in film and television, where twelve hour days “on the clock” are the norm and fourteen or fifteen hour days are not unusual.  Commuting from the Chilliwack River Valley where I live on a residential acreage with my wife Sharon to studios in North Vancouver, Vancouver and Burnaby is a standard day for me.  When necessary I have not hesitated to work out of town, in Victoria, or Edmonton, for instance.

I have been a self-employed team leader most of my life, starting as a producer/manager for a theatre company, a marketing manager for a software company, and as a motion picture prop master.

I am a member, firearms chair, past president and past director of the Chilliwack Fish & Game Protective Association.  I am a life member and past director of Canada’s National Firearms Association and was self-defense editor for their national magazine, the Canadian Firearms Journal until their editorial policy became more compromising.  On issues of firearms and self-defence I cannot and will not compromise and I stand up for all my constituents to choose what works best for them.

Yes, the riding of Chilliwack – Fraser Canyon is large and has a spirit to match.  Chilliwack – Fraser Canyon has important contributions to make to the country of Western Canada, and with your support I will work to make it so.

 

O’Mahony:

I have taken the past year to knock on doors and speak with thousands of Chilliwack Fraser Canyon residents familiarizing myself with the various communities.  In order to manage the demands of such a large riding I would work representatives from all levels of government, (municipal, provincial and first nations) as well as local advocacy groups.