Conservative candidate John Martin (left) and NDP Gwen O'Mahoney listen as Liberal Laurie Throness answers a question during an all-candidates meeting at the Best Western yesterday.

Differences clear at all-candidates meeting

Rotary is all about fellowship, but the differences between byelection candidates were drawn out by Chilliwack Rotarians Wednesday.

The Rotary Club is all about fellowship, but the differences between byelection candidates were quickly drawn out by questions posed by Chilliwack Fraser Rotarians Wednesday.

Asked about splitting the conservative vote, BC Conservative candidate John Martin said his party is “earning the vote” rather than splitting it.

He said the BC Liberals “squandered” their once commanding lead in the province by its own policy decisions, driving out party members until “there’s not a safe seat left in the

province.”

“We’re giving those people a home,” he said.

But BC Liberal candidate Laurie Throness said his party is the coalition of conservatives that has “kept the NDP out of power” all these years, and provided a government based on free-enterprise principles.

Throness “appealed to other small-c conservatives” like himself, he said, “to keep that coalition strong.”

NDP candidate Gwen O’Mahony said she is “sick and tired” of hearing the two conservative parties “fear-mongering” while the real issue of the byelection is simply selecting an MLA “who will work for you.”

If voters don’t like what she does as the MLA, she said, they can always vote her out in one year’s time in the next provincial election in May, 2013.

Asked about the teachers’ dispute, Throness described a BC Liberal government that had “held the line” and refused wage demands made by 130 public sector unions in an effort to balance the provincial budget.

There is an “urgent need” to prepare B.C. for the impact of the U.S. debt that has now hit $15 trillion, he warned.

But Martin described the BC Liberal government actions as more child-like.

He said teachers have not always been reasonable, but the government has “the responsibility to be the adult in this relationship and that hasn’t happened.”

He said the government’s track record of “literally tearing up contracts” is “absolutely inexcusable.”

O’Mahony was asked how the “union-friendly” NDP government would pay for wage increases it would presumably approve. She said the party had in fact supported a mediator in the teachers’ dispute, and would leave contract negotiations at the bargaining table.

Throness defended the carbon tax while Martin said a BC Conservative government would scrap it.

O’Mahony said an NDP government would keep the tax, but use it to fund municipal transit.

Throness said if the revenue-neutral tax is scrapped, the government would have to raise taxes in other areas, or make spending cuts, or borrow funds.

“The carbon tax is meant to change behaviour, and that’s all,” he said.

But Martin said “nobody is driving less because of the carbon tax.”

“It’s a particularly punitive tax, especially to rural residents,” he said, because they have no other means of transportation.

“It just doesn’t add up at the end of the day,” he said. “The carbon tax is gone.”

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

Just Posted

Voting in Hope? Here’s what you need to know

Who can vote, what IDs to bring and how the process works in your Oct. 20 municipal election

Fire ignites along Highway 7 between Hope and Agassiz

Nine volunteers doused the flames with what they had before fire crews arrived

Car crashes through front doors at Hope Pharmasave

No one injured as a result of Thursday morning crash, and store is still open despite the damage

Some Hope candidates say it’s high time to lift pot sales prohibition

Mayoral and council candidates weigh in on repealing bylaw amendment 1428

Hope school board candidates talk SOGI, successes and rocky patches of past four years

Six candidates are vying for three Hope trustee positions up for grabs in an Oct. 20 election

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Former B.C. cop sentenced to jail ‘in the community’ after caught in Creep Catchers sting

Dario Devic pleaded guilty after getting caught up in Surrey Creep Catcher sting in Whalley in 2016

5 races to watch in B.C.’s municipal elections this Saturday

This year’s election results across more than 160 cities in B.C. will start pouring in after polls close Saturday at 8 p.m.

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index in September was up 2.2 per cent from a year ago compared with a year-over-year increase of 2.8 per cent in August

Dog deaths in Lower Mainland may be tied to suspected mushroom poisoning: RCMP

Police have received reports in the last month about several dogs becoming ill after visiting a park in North Vancouver

5 to start your day

Man killed in shooting at Abbotsford bank, ex-Surrey cop to appear in court after Creep Catchers sting and more

Record-breaking $113 million Lotto Max jackpot up for grabs

This is Canada’s highest top prize offering ever and includes 53 Max Millions

New interchange, work on Alex Fraser to make ‘easier commutes’ for Delta, province says

Bridge construction will restart next week, while the Highway 91 interchange was finished in August

Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks.

Most Read