Saanich South candidate Q&A

Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green candidates and one Independent for Saanich South give their thoughts on local and provincial issues

Joshua Galbraith – B.C. Conservative Party

joshua2013bc@gmail.com

What is the most important issue in this election?

From talking with people within the riding, there is a lot of environmental awareness in this riding, and also a lot of desire for fiscal responsibility. I do not believe that these two issues need to be mutually exclusive. I would like to see smart environmental policies that find ways to grow the economy as well. The other thing I would note is that there are a lot of people who are fed up with the current two-party system.

What specific priorities would you focus on in your riding?

Saanich South is very diverse. We have urban areas and we have rural areas. We have farmers and we have businessmen. We have university students and we have seniors. My priority would be to make sure that my office is able to hear all of these issues and represent them in the Legislature. There is often a lot of voter apathy towards the political process due to people not believing that their vote matters. This needs to change.

Do you support regional sewage treatment? Why or why not?

The responsibility for regional sewage treatment will fall heavily on the backs of the regional district politicians. Therefore, I feel that their recommendations should be weighed. I have heard a lot of back and forth over the current sewage treatment plan and I would say that any finalized plan would have to make environmental sense. If the plant is creating more long term environmental problems than our current set-up then there is no reason to go through with it.

What direction should B.C. go in terms of its energy policy? Oil and gas? Renewables?

B.C. should be willing to be diverse in its energy policy. We have a tremendous hydro-electrical sector, and great potential in our oil and gas sector. When we look at policies we should examine what makes the most sense, not just in the short term but in the long term as well. We want to leave the province better than how we found it for the next generation.

BlackBerry or iPhone?

I admit, I may be a bit of an odd person but I only have a cheap phone that I got off kijiji when my last phone died. Although BlackBerrys tend to have an actual keyboard. So if I was forced to choose I would probably lean in that direction.

Peter Kappel – Independent

popsi@shaw.ca

What is the most important issue in this election?

To me the most important issue in this election is that democracy is reinstated, and that we are governed by a competent premier elected by the representatives of the people. We are all Canadians and should not be subject to the dictates of one party.

What specific priorities would you focus on in your constituency?

Represent the people of my riding in their endeavor to be heard.

Do you support regional sewage treatment? Why or why not?

On sewage treatment, my stand is with the many experts that say we don’t need it, as we are fortunate to live in a place where nature does a good job disposing of it.

What direction should B.C. go in terms of its energy policy? Oil and gas? Renewables?

Electricity is the cleanest energy we have, especially produced by hydro stations. Let the railway, buses and cars be electric, and the heating and appliances. That will be a green world then.

Branko Mustafovic – B.C. Green Party

greensaanich.ca

What is the most important issue in this election?

Citizen disengagement. This is the result of people knowing that it doesn’t matter what they say to their MLA, their voices mean nothing against party discipline about voting. By electing an MLA who can speak freely – and vote on his or her constituents’ behalf – voters will start to understand the concept of “People First, Party Second.” That will definitely be a significant step in the right direction.

What specific priorities would you focus on in your riding?

Saanich South has a diverse population, with a large proportion of seniors. I would focus on better ways to address seniors’ needs, and on bringing them back into the mainstream, rather than isolating them. Marginalizing any group is not healthy –  for them or for our society.

Transportation is another issue that needs attention and creative alternatives to relieve traffic congestion, particularly on Mackenzie and Highway 1.

Do you support regional sewage treatment? Why or why not?

I do support sewage treatment. However, I do not support the current plan that’s being proposed. Let’s investigate all the options again, and  carry out a real environmental assessment of any treatment proposal before going forward. One billion dollars is a staggering price tag. We want to be sure it’s being spent wisely, because this is a legacy project that will have to stand the test of time.

What direction should B.C. go in terms of its energy policy? Oil and gas? Renewables?

There is a lot of talk about LNG these days.  Unfortunately, it’s not the salvation people claim. The environmental impacts are too damaging and the product itself is volatile and dangerous.

Renewable energy simply is the only sane route for the future. It’s becoming less  expensive to produce, and BC is ideally situated to become the #1 exporter of clean energy in the world…. if we start putting specialized skills training and building processes in place now.

BlackBerry or iPhone?

IPhone 5 all the way.

Lana Popham (incumbent) – NDP

lanapopham.bcndp.ca

What is the most important issue or issues in this election?

Skills training, economic growth, healthcare, education and the environment. The BC New Democrats have laid out practical steps for how we would address all these issues in our platform. And we have fully costed our commitments and clearly stated how we would generate the necessary revenue.

What specific priorities would you focus on in your riding?

Improve care for seniors, especially home support and community care. Improve skills training and apprenticeship system for students and employers. Ensure completion of safety improvements underway at the Pat Bay & Sayward road intersection. Improve learning condition for our children by hiring new teachers, education assistants, librarians and counsellors. I will continue to advance the issues most strongly advocated for by the residents of Saanich South.

Do you support regional sewage treatment? Why or why not?

Yes. We cannot use the ocean as a dumping ground for raw sewage forever. It is the responsibility of the CRD to develop a plan that addresses environmental concerns, that is cost-effective and efficient – and that earns broad support from the public.

What direction should B.C. go in terms of its energy policy? Oil and gas? Renewables?

The New Democrats understand that our economic well-being is linked to a sustainable and diversified resource economy. We oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipelines because the few benefits to British Columbians are vastly outweighed by the risk to our environment. We support liquefied natural gas (LNG) so long as environmental concerns are addressed. We would also encourage the development of green energy options.

BlackBerry or iPhone?

I’ve used a Blackberry for years and love it because of the physical keyboard.

Rishi Sharma – B.C. Liberal

Rishi Sharma

rishiforsaanich.com

What is the most important issue in this election?

I believe this important election is a stark choice between two visions for the future of BC: a clear one, and a murky one. While other parties have hesitated to release their plans and how they’ll pay for them, Today’s BC Liberals have put forth clear, fully-costed plans for prosperity. That’s the type of leadership that has helped BC maintain a stable economy despite trying economic times. We can’t afford to go off track now.

What specific priorities would you focus on in your riding?

Most of the people I’ve talked to say the economy is the biggest issue, and I tend to agree with them—but to me, it’s important that we grow the economy while protecting our environment. I also want to bring the notion of customer service back to Saanich South. On the doorsteps, residents are telling me they feel ignored. Taxpayers pay my salary; I want to be the loud, local voice they’re looking for.

Do you support regional sewage treatment? Why or why not?

The province has already committed its share of funding for this project, believing it’s better to treat sewage instead of dumping it into the ocean. I agree, but understand the concerns people have around the facility’s cost, location, and other factors. Emotions are high on this issue, and perhaps we need more consultation for those who feel their voices haven’t been heard. We need to make sure we do this right and address the concerns of the communities involved.

What direction should B.C. go in terms of its energy policy? Oil and gas? Renewables?

I think our focus should be on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity it presents. With regards to heavy oil, Today’s BC Liberals have been very clear. We have five strict conditions around the environmental assessment process, spill prevention and response, and the benefits to BC and First Nations. These conditions must be met before any pipeline could ever be approved.

BlackBerry or iPhone?

Blackberry– my campaign team finds it hard to wrestle it out of my hands some days! I like the functionality. And as someone who’s done a lot of work with folks in the tech industry, I’m compelled to support a Canadian company.