Meet Your Candidates: Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke hopefuls answer the tough questions

Advance voting opens Oct. 11, ahead of the Oct. 21 election

Ahead of 43rd federal election, the Saanich News asked your candidates what they believe the biggest issues are facing the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding and Canada as a nation. Here are their responses.

Randall Garrison (NDP)

As your Member of Parliament for the last eight years, I’ve had the pleasure of addressing the most challenging issues facing residents of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke. This election, I’m asking for your support to continue our fight for a more equal, secure and sustainable society for everyone.

I want to continue to fight for working families and seniors. We can put in place a universal, public, and free pharmacare program. We can build nonmarket housing units that will make quality affordable and secure housing available for young families and seniors.

I want to continue my advocacy for a strong well equipped Canadian military. We must ensure we can defend our sovereignty, protect ourselves in emergency situations, and play a lead role internationally on peacekeeping and nuclear disarmament.

As the candidate in this race with the longest and strongest environmental record, I remain committed to putting in place specific measures to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets necessary to meet the climate crisis while making sure no one is left behind.

With the hope and optimism that comes from working together, we can build a fairer and more inclusive society and a secure future for all in this country we all love.

Fidelia Godron (Independent)

Jeremy Gustafson (PPC)

Jeremy Gustafson

I believe housing affordability, the cost of living, and the environment are the main issues both nationally and locally, and the decline of wild salmon stocks are of grave concern in my riding.

The People’s Party of Canada will reduce demand for housing by reducing immigration from 350,000 per year to 150,000 per year. We will lower income tax providing more money for housing payments. We will eliminate the Capital Gains Tax and Carbon Tax encouraging more investment in housing and, reducing the cost of living across the board. And we will abolish supply management, significantly reducing the cost of milk, cheese, and eggs.

Climate change is a natural phenomenon and Canada is carbon neutral. The PPC’s environmental focus is to clean Canada’s waterways, providing drinkable water to First Nations reserves and improved salmon habitat here on the coast. We would stop shipping our garbage overseas to address plastic pollution.

We will pay for these tax cuts and programs by abolishing corporate welfare and foreign development aid. We will maintain the Canadian tradition of humanitarian assistance, but instead of building infrastructure in Africa and Asia, we’ll build it here in Canada.

Jamie Hammond (Liberal)

Jamie Hammond

I grew up here. I came home after 28 years with the Canadian military. My life was shaped by this place, its people, and its environment, and I’m running to be the next MP to give back.

We need to improve transit options between Island communities and downtown Victoria to ensure folks can get home to their families quickly and safely.

We must protect the Salish Sea that defines us geographically and culturally. We will build on the Liberal Oceans Protection Plan to ensure we have healthy oceans for generations.

We must continue fighting climate change with policies that make polluters pay.

The local perspective on these issues and others must be part of the discussion in government. That’s why I’ve made six commitments to ensure your voices are heard. I’ll establish community panels for transportation, the environment, community health, and local economy. I will work with First Nations governments to come together quarterly, and I will establish a military and veterans liaison position in my community office.

I commit to making sure constituents are listened to, which will allow me to be the most effective advocate possible for our communities.

Louis Lesosky (Independent)

David Merner (Green)

David Merner

Since December, I’ve knocked on 30,000 doors in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke with my canvassing teams. We’ve spoken to over 10,000 people. We ask about their number one issue. By a three to one margin, the answer is “climate change.”

We also hear about affordability. Almost every day I hear from people who have trouble making ends meet due to the high cost of housing, prescription drugs, and tuition for higher education. People are also concerned about traffic and transportation. Folks are tired of the Colwood Crawl and our jammed up roads on south Vancouver Island. We need much better public transit.

But the number one issue – especially for parents and grandparents – is the need to take urgent action on the climate emergency. That requires a new kind of leadership and “leadership” is another huge issue. People are very disappointed by the way Canada is being led by Justin Trudeau and by previous Conservative governments. Every day, I hear folks say that they just don’t trust any politician any more.

We need a new kind of leadership. Young people around the world are calling out for it. It’s time for change. It’s time to elect new, Green, Members of Parliament.

Philip Ney (Independent)

Randall Pewarchuk (Conservative)

Randall Pewarchuk

Canadian families are feeling that it’s harder and harder to make ends meet.

It’s no surprise that tax-and-spend Liberals have raised taxes on working people, recklessly increased government spending, given handouts to their corporate friends, and racked up huge deficits.

As the representative of Canada’s Conservatives, you will hear that I am the only candidate talking about lowering taxes, living within our means, and leaving more of your money in your pocket.

This means reducing income taxes for all Canadians, not just tax breaks for the wealthy. This means making maternity benefits tax-free, reinstating tax credits for children’s after-school activities, and raising the Age Tax Credit to benefit our seniors.

And, it means balancing a strong economy with a healthy, sustainable environment that we can be proud to pass to the next generation.

I am not a career politician. I am a dentist who has served thousands in our community in health care for decades. And now, it is time for me to serve our community in a new way. With integrity and respect that reflects the values of our community, one that I am proud to call my home.

Tyson Strandlund (Communist Party)

Tyson Riel Strandlund

The climate crisis and the cost of living are the two most urgent priorities for constituents in my riding with the globe nearing a vital tipping point in terms of C02 emissions, 50 per cent of Canadians within $200 of bankruptcy, one out of five B.C. children living in poverty, and 39 per cent of Canadians unable to ever retire. The necessary living wage is $21.50, yet the minimum wage is only $13.85.

Despite efforts by politicians and media to blame other countries and racialized peoples, these problems are the direct result of neoliberal policies and the contradictions of capitalism. With another recession on the horizon, Canadians must reject xenophobic and racist rhetoric that scapegoats immigrants and refugees and pins them with the failures of the rich, the corporations, and their political representatives in the big business parties, as well as their drive to war.

The U.S. military, with which Canada’s is intimately involved through NATO, is a larger polluter than as many as 140 countries, and the four main parties have all promised to increase Canada’s own military budget by 73 per cent. We need a democratic energy and job creation plan that puts people before corporate profits. A socialist alternative is urgent and necessary. One solution – revolution!

Josh Steffler (Libertarian Party)

Josh Steffler

I believe that the high cost of living is the biggest issue today. The costs of everything keep going up. This issue stems into all of our lives daily, from the high cost of housing to the increasing costs of food and other essentials. The highest cost the majority of Canadians face today is taxes, it is a little known fact that the average Canadian pays a whopping 42.5 per cent of their income in taxes. This is unacceptable in a free and prosperous nation. I believe Canadians are the best judge of where their money should go, not the federal government. Lower taxes means more money for everyone to essentially “vote with their dollars” to create the Canada we want and the one we truly deserve. The way government funds its projects today is old and antiquated. We need more 21st century solutions to solve our 21st century problems. We need to eliminate the carbon tax, eliminate the income tax, and move to a more voluntary system. The majority of problems today stem from government intervention and the unintended consequences of said intervention. Therefore the solution is not more government, the answer is less government.

Election day is Oct. 21 with advance polls open Oct. 11 to 14. Find more information on how to vote by clicking on the link below.

READ ALSO: Here’s how to cast your ballot in Greater Victoria

READ MORE: Meet your candidates


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