Candidates from the five parties seeking election in the Kootenay-Columbia riding participated in an online public forum Sept. 10.
As the Sept. 20 federal election approaches, they shared their views on important issues in the riding.
The forum was hosted by Black Press Media and sponsored by the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, 24/7 Petro Canada and Columbia Bookkeeping.
Some questions for the candidates were submitted by the public in advance, and some were asked live at the forum.
The candidates fielding questions at the forum were Sarah Bennett of the People’s Party of Canada, Robin Goldsbury of the Liberal Party, Wayne Stetski of the New Democratic Party, Rob Morrison of the Conservative Party, and Rana Nelson of the Green Party.
Below are summaries of candidates’ answers to the public’s questions.
How do you feel about the pandemic response so far and what would be your priority, if elected?
Rana Nelson (Green): We need to keep the supports going. We’re not out of the pandemic yet.
Sarah Bennet (PPC): There’s no room for any of this segregation or dividing people into vaccinated/unvaccinated camps.
Robin Goldsbury (Liberal): I will always stand with the science…The science is pretty clear: vaccines work.
Wayne Stetski (NDP): We need to keep supporting people at home right now, keep supporting businesses, keep supporting rent, but we absolutely need to start moving to getting people back to work.
Rob Morrison (Conservative): Canadians have the right to make their own health choices, and that’s where we stand. Our priority right now is economic recovery.
In light of the recent devastating fire season, how do you plan on addressing climate change?
Rana Nelson (Green): First of all, it’s summer, not fire season…the first thing we need to do is cut our fossil fuel production, we cannot keep emitting greenhouse gases and expect the climate to improve.
Sarah Bennett (PPC): Climate change is a fact of life: we need a realistic and moderate approach to sustain the Kootenay way of life.
Robin Goldsbury (Liberal): We’re addressing the affects of climate change…the Liberals still have the best plan to fight the climate crisis: it has the most depth, is the most comprehensive and reaches further into the future than any other plan.
Wayne Stetski (NDP): The climate emergency is the number one environmental crisis of our time.
Rob Morrison (Conservative): Once the economy’s going, we will start looking at how we can deliver greener, cleaner energy…we need to move forward with renewables.
What steps would you take to address to address the ongoing housing crisis?
Rana Nelson (Green): The solution to not enough housing is to build more homes. We also need to help people retrofit their old homes.
Sarah Bennett (PPC): Is it housing or a more prosperous economy? It’s a little bit of both…We need to bring money back to a real commodity again.
Robin Goldsbury (Liberal): I want to make sure we have a Kootenay plan… We are committed because I believe everybody deserves a home and a place to call home.
Wayne Stetski (NDP): It’s impacting people personally, but it’s also keeping businesses from operating successfully… our plan is to build 500,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years.
Rob Morrison (Conservative): Even if people could hire someone, there’s no housing for them…I think we really need federal people to step up, we need federal support.
How will you advocate for truth and reconciliation?
Rana Nelson (Green): This isn’t something Canada is doing top down, the Indigenous communities are part of the discussion and leading the discussion and making sure it’s on their terms…I’ve seen first-hand the devastation that colonial practices have wreaked on families.
Sarah Bennett (PPC): We can’t rewrite the past, but we have to find a better way forward. The only way to reconcile is through ongoing dialogue.
Robin Goldsbury (Liberal): I am so grateful I can live and work on enunciated ground… I have a five-year-old grandson and I cannot imagine him being torn away from his home… preserving identity is extremely important.
Wayne Stetski (NDP): We have to do better for Indigenous women and children… we need to understand where Canada has been and of course never go there again.
Rob Morrison (Conservative): The first thing we need to do is implement all the recommendations that came out of the truth and reconciliation report… there’s lots of things we can do but it takes action if you really want reconciliation… our Indigenous people want to see what we are going to do.
With our society seemingly being divided by every issue, how would you heal the rift?
Rana Nelson (Green): We know that with more diverse voices at the table, conditions improve for everybody.
Sarah Bennett (PPC): The vaccine passport is a segregative scheme that’s gotta go. It’s not gonna help anybody, it’s just going to shut us all down. It’s not democratic.
Robin Goldsbury (Liberal): I believe in Liberal values… we are a group of dedicated people who believe in inclusion. Working together, diversity, consulting.
Wayne Stetski (NDP): I think to be a good member of parliament, you have to like and value everyone… and you have to do it in a non-partisan way. We learn by listening to differences of opinions. You need to answer every phone-call, every email, every letter, even if they’re not your partisan people.
Rob Morrison was unable to answer the final question as he had to leave early due to a prior engagement.