Victoria votes 2012: Federal byelection candidates Q & A

News readers get a glimpse into the minds of the six men vying to become Victoria’s next Member of Parliament

2012 Victoria federal byelection candidates.

Voters in Victoria, Oak Bay and south Saanich are eligible to participate in the 2012 federal byelection for the Victoria riding on Monday, Nov. 26.

The News presents a snapshot into the life experience and views of the six candidates on some key issues in the Capital Region.

If you’re unsure where to vote or have lost your voters card, visit elections.ca and click on 2012 byelections to find your local polling station.

Donald Galloway (Green)

Age — 60

Occupation — Law professor

Previous elected political experience — None

What is your opinion on sewage treatment being revisited or delayed? — It should be delayed, but we will need secondary sewage treatment in the future. The next step should be for the Victoria MP to approach relevant departments (Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, DND) to assess their flexibility. With so much money at stake, we need to be sure that the plan we have is the best available.

What are your priorities for transit? — Municipal transit choices should be based on decision-making by local voices. The federal government should not prescribe conditions. That said, there should be a national transit strategy that emphasizes and supports high-efficiency, low-carbon solutions. I’m a big fan of trains and bikes.

How would you bring the federal government to your constituents? — Two-way communication is essential. An MP should have a close relationship with the active and committed social organizations of civil society. Their assistance in identifying local needs is indispensable. An MP should also be a keen listener to individual interests and needs. The regular town hall meeting is an effective device, as is an open and experienced constituency office. It will also be important for the MP to be a tenacious advocate of local interests in Ottawa.

What is your regular mode of transportation? — a) Bus to work (fall/winter) b) Recumbent trike to work (spring/summer; sold just before the campaign) c) Car

 

Dale Gann (Conservative)

Age — 44

Occupation — President, Vancouver Island Technology Park and Marine Technology Centre.

Previous elected political experience — None

What is your opinion on sewage treatment being revisited or delayed? — I have heard a clear message from Victorians: they do not want to pollute our coastal waters; and they have serious concerns with the CRD plan. I have also heard a clear message from marine scientists: there is no current scientific evidence showing any damage to the coastal waters of B.C. Therefore, I favour regular monitoring of pollution levels in our oceans to determine if and when action should be taken.

What are your priorities for transit? — We need an integrated, regional transit system involving rail, rapid transit, airports and seaports. At present, our transportation system is fragmented and the municipal, provincial and federal governments are not co-operating in finding solutions. The absence of a regional transportation strategy is costing this community in many ways: the added costs of doing business, disruption of family life, poorer quality of life and the difficulty in attracting workers to Victoria.

How would you bring the federal government to your constituents? — My philosophy is to “listen and lead.” By that, I mean I will listen to Victorians and take their concerns to the table in Ottawa. Victoria needs a powerful and influential voice in Ottawa. This city, where I was born and raised and where I have chosen to raise my family, has enormous potential. Let’s work together to fulfill its promise.

What is your regular mode of transportation? — Automobile to and from work

 

Art Lowe (Libertarian)

Age — 52

Occupation — Not provided

Previous elected political experience — None

What is your opinion on sewage treatment being revisited or delayed? — We are not supporting it. A perfect sewage treatment plant does exactly what the ocean outfall currently does with our sewage. This whole billon-dollar public relations exercise and nightmare is wasteful, harmful and dangerous to families in Victoria. Keep it based on real science, not myth and emotions that are pulling on the heartstrings of the public. Families in Victoria will not be able to afford the extra hundreds of dollars a year that will be added to local property tax bills.

What are your priorities for transit? — We prefer to see it privatized, as too much money is being wasted by government.

How would you bring the federal government to your constituents? — As part of the Government of Canada, I will be working for you to reduce the size of government to a minimum, protect your personal liberty and rights, eliminate personal income tax and bring in a user-pay system for services.

What is your regular mode of transportation? — I walk or take the bus service, or use alternate ways to get around.

 

Philip Ney (Christian Heritage)

Age — 77

Occupation — Physician

Previous elected political experience — Two terms on the Greater Victoria School Board (chaired curriculum committee)

What is your opinion on sewage treatment being revisited or delayed? — Primary treatment can be most effectively and cheaply accomplished with modern septic tanks for homes and apartments (subsidized). Sterile solids, pumped out every two to three years, could be fertilizer. No one can afford any increase in taxes from sewage treatment. Therefore scrap the current plans.

What are your priorities for transit? — Walking and cycling promote health and cut health-care costs. Distances can be moderate if the city is progressively decentralized, as in Europe. With modern communication it isn’t necessary to be physically close to co-workers or competitors. Work done in homes is better for families. Home working parents can concentrate better because they are not constantly worrying about their precious baby in the daycare.

How would you bring the federal government to your constituents? — Victorians can frequently communicate their opinions on problems and proposals at small cost. Their opinions, using analogue scales, can be used as a mini-referendum.Island MPs can meet in local public discussions to form and forward regional legislation. This can decrease discussion time in Parliament and shorten delays of implementation. It will reduce lobbying and travelling.

What is your regular mode of transportation? — Living in Sooke, I drive a small SUV, but try to use the bus whenever possible.

 

Murray Rankin (New Democrat)

Age — 62

Occupation — Environmental lawyer

Previous elected political experience — None

What is your opinion on sewage treatment being revisited or delayed? — I don’t believe that we should pump sewage into the ocean for another generation. We shouldn’t saddle our children with a burden that will only be more expensive in the future. We are one of the only major cities on the Pacific Coast without secondary sewage treatment. Both the B.C. Liberals and federal Conservatives have ordered clean-up – it’s time to move forward.

What are your priorities for transit? — I support Olivia Chow’s National Transportation Strategy Act (C-305). Canada is the only G8 country without dedicated federal transit funding and a national plan. Efficient, affordable transit can be a major economic driver and an easy way to manage our carbon emissions. However, to develop these kinds of transit systems there needs to be federal funding and a cohesive strategy.

How would you bring the federal government to your constituents? — I believe that our MP should represent Victoria’s interests in Ottawa, and not the other way around. I will follow in Denise Savoie’s footsteps in representing all of Victoria, not just those who vote for me. I promise to stand up for my city and my region and work with all parties to best meet Victoria’s needs.

What is your regular mode of transportation? — Most often I ride my bike, but I do use my car and transit as well.

 

Paul Summerville (Liberal)

Age — 55

Occupation — Adjunct professor at the Peter Gustavson School of Business (on leave)

Previous elected political experience — None

What is your opinion on sewage treatment being revisited or delayed? — The current proposals will provide no net environmental benefit, according to UVic ocean scientists and public health officials. We need to delay the project and revisit the proposed solution to implement a 21st-century technology that will provide us with real improvements, not a 19th-century solution that will cost $1 billion with no improvement.

What are your priorities for transit? — We need to look at creating a 21st-century transportation infrastructure that will allow people to take transit, walk and cycle safely and efficiently. Instead of investing $1 billion in sewage infrastructure that will provide no net benefit, we should look at investing that infrastructure money in transportation solutions.

How would you bring the federal government to your constituents? — As your Member of Parliament, I would maintain an office in the riding to serve the citizens of Victoria. But I would also look at ways to use new technologies in innovative ways to provide information and services to my constituents. Telephone town halls, Internet-based video conferencing and social media should all be employed to better communicate with people in Victoria.

What is your regular mode of transportation? — Car

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