Election 2015: All about the candidates for Abbotsford and Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon

Abbotsford: We asked the federal candidates who they are, and what they would do if elected. Here are their answers.

 

The News has sent questionnaires to each of the federal candidates running in the Abbotsford and Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon ridings. Here are their responses.

ABBOTSFORD CANDIDATES:

 

Ed Fast (Conservative, Incumbent)

Age: 60

Education: Law degree from UBC

Occupation: Parliamentarian

Residence: Abbotsford

Community involvement: School board trustee (five years); city councillor and deputy mayor (nine years); MP (10 years); Abbotsford Parks, Recreation & Culture Commission; community boards and committees

Marital Status/Children: Married to Annette Fast, 4 daughters, 2 sons-­in­‐law, 4 grandsons

Website: www.votefast.ca

Email: votefast2015@gmail.com

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

The key issues in our riding are public safety, the economy, affordable housing and transportation infrastructure.

Our Conservative government will continue to put the highest priority on protecting Canadians against crime and terrorism. Over the past 9 years, we have implemented over 50 laws that shift the focus of our justice system back on victims and law‐abiding citizens. Longer mandatory sentences for violent offenders, tougher gun-­, gang­‐ and drug‐related laws, consecutive life sentences for multiple murders, and “life means life” sentencing for the most heinous crimes are some of these reforms. At the same time, we are delivering $6 million for youth gang crime prevention, the largest investment of its kind in our city’s history. We will provide our police and security agencies with 21st‐century tools to prevent terrorist attacks on Canadians, and improve the ability of government agencies to share critical information to prevent such attacks. Sadly, the NDP and Liberals oppose those new tools and would withdraw from Canada’s participation in the global effort to confront Islamic State terrorism.

Our government has reduced the tax burden on Canadians to its lowest in over 50 years. This also applies to our job creators, the small- and medium­‐sized businesses that drive economic growth. We will continue to ensure that Canada has the safest banking system in the world. We are the only major country to return to balanced budgets, allowing our country to better withstand the recent shocks within the global economy (Greece, China, plunge in oil prices). We will ensure that families and seniors can better plan for the future by splitting income and investing in Tax‐Free Savings Accounts. We will continue to support moms and dads with the enriched Universal Child Care Benefit. And unlike the NDP and the Liberals, we will not take these programs away or embark upon a risky plan of high spending, high taxes and high debt.

Since 2006, our government has delivered $16.5 billion to support affordable housing. We recently contributed almost $1 million to the city to assist it in developing housing for the homeless under a “housing first” approach. Over the last 9 years we have also supported local affordable housing projects such as Tabor Village, Cedarhurst, Fernview, Harmony Flex and Spirit Bear Centre housing projects. We will continue to partner with the province to provide housing solutions for those who need them the most.

After 13 years of utter neglect by the previous Liberal government, we have provided funding support for Abbotsford’s critical transportation needs: McCallum and Clearbrook Road interchanges, Abbotsford Airport, and Mission Bridge upgrades. I will work to have our government participate in solving the increased congestion at Vye and Riverside Roads, and in widening Highway 1 out to Abbotsford.

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

Question not answered.

Jen Martel (NDP)

Age: 24

Education: Bachelor of science in biology, certificates in communications and advanced French

Occupation: Professional lifeguard and first aid instructor

Residence: Abbotsford, Clearbrook area

Community involvement:

•     A range of non-profit board experience including the Fraser Valley Irish Dance Association and the Special Olympics Abbotsford Fundraising Committee

•     Vice-president of my union local

•     I was the president of the UFV Biology and Chemistry Student Association and a member of the Student Union Society’s budget committee

•     I was a volunteer swim coach for the Abbotsford Special Olympics swim team and still volunteer as a coach for W.J. Mouat’s school swim team.

Marital Status/Children: Single, no children

Website: jenmartel.ndp.ca

Email: jen.martel@ndp.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jennifermartelndp

Twitter and Instagram: @jenmartel91 / @jenmartel91

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

The key issues in our riding vary slightly depending on the generation of the voter we are speaking with. Our party is working hard to offer services for Canadians at all stages of life.

To help parents get back to work and allow those working to have more money left over after the bills are paid, we are promising an affordable, $15/day childcare program with high-quality childcare spaces.

Canadians of all age groups are struggling to find employment. Our plan will create good, skilled job opportunities in our community by kick-starting manufacturing, helping small businesses, and investing in strong community infrastructure. Those in the workforce can look forward to increased Canadian Pension Plan benefits and returning the retirement age to 65.

We also need to look out for those who gave years of service to the work force. No senior should live in poverty which is why we have a plan to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement. This will help lift 200,000 seniors out of poverty and allow Canadians to retire in dignity.

Finally, while climate change is a national issue, Abbotsford is particularly vulnerable to its effects. Agriculture and farming are some of the main driving forces of our local economy, and climate change could be detrimental to both of these. Strengthened environment laws are crucial to our health in the Valley where pollution is funnelled in from the surrounding areas. Fighting for and protecting our environment is one of the main reasons I am running in this election.

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

While the issues important to Abbotsford resonate throughout our country, I feel the key issues for Canada are the environment and fiscal responsibility. Canadians are realizing that we don’t have to choose between a strong economy and a clean environment. We can have both. It is not the economy or the environment. It is the economy and the environment. The NDP has a plan that ensures sustainable prosperity. It will create jobs, grow Canada’s economy and protect the environment. Our NDP leader has the experience and ability to spearhead this plan to an effect and result that satisfies both conditions. Tom Mulcair served as Quebec’s Environment Minister and successfully passed a bill to amend the province’s charter of rights and freedoms to include the right to live in a healthy environment. This is the Canada I want to see become a reality and will fight for on behalf of all Canadians.

 

Peter Njenga (Liberal)

Name: Peter Njenga

Party: Liberal Party of Canada

Age: 58

Education: PhD (finance), MBA (Strategic Management), BCOM (Accounting), CPA, CGA

Occupation: Accountant

Residency (city/neighbourhood): Surrey

Community involvement: Dr Njenga Foundation Charity helping homeless people, orphans and primary schools in Kenya Africa; Member  of Bethany-Newton United Church in Surrey; Director at large for Liberal Party of BC –South Surrey/Panorama.

Marital Status/Children: Married to Jennifer Kube-Njenga; Have 3 children and 2 step children

Website: www.drnjenga.ca

Email: pnnjenga@drnjenga.ca

Facebook/Twitter/Social Media: @pnnjenga; https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pnnjenga

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

Homelessness and affordable housing: I believe our community is blessed with land and economic resources that if utilized effectively with some federal assistance and policy reforms could substantially create more affordable housing and significantly reduce homelessness and the issues surrounding it.

Crime: Protecting our families and our children is so important to the well-being of our community.  I will work with local agencies and the Federal government to find appropriate solutions to this issue that affects us all.

Immigration: Policies should be revised to ensure that families are reunited.  I have seen mothers being separated from their young children because of current immigration laws that do not put into consideration humanity and the social development and well-being of children.

Agriculture: We all need to support, promote and protect farming in our community because it is the backbone of our economic development and food security in this riding. I will advocate that international trade agreements and outsourcing practices that negatively affect farming be re-examined and revised.

Infrastructure Improvements: Expansion of the Hwy 1 corridor will improve economic expansion to this region and reduce commuting times for residents working outside this area, so they can spend more time with their families, jobs, and businesses.

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

(a) Smart investment in infrastructure, job creation, economic development, reduced tax for middle class, transparent and trusted Senate;

(b) Retaining Senate members who are under investigation; cutting funding on key sectors such as   health, pension, research and education and other critical parameters in order to balance the short run budget.

To me, the key issue affecting Canada to day is about creating sustainable future as opposed to short run balancing of the budget.

 

If elected, I will focus on improving the quality of life for this riding. Among other issues, I will support our Liberal Party of Canada’s  real change plan to ensure that investment in infrastructure promote local community development and job creation. I will advocate for  protecting local agriculture, environment, better immigration policies, reducing taxation on middle class families, door to door mail delivery, as well as maintaining Canada’s healthcare system, and senior’s and veterans’ pensions.

 

Stephen Fowler (Green)

Age: 53

Education: Bachelor of arts, 1996, and graduate of liberal studies, 2010, both from SFU.

Occupation: High school teacher in Abbotsford since 1996

Residence: Abbotsford, South Poplar

Community involvement: As a teacher, much of my extra time is spent working with students individually, chaperoning student events, running clubs (I am in charge of Rick Hansen’s Green Team) or coaching (I have been the coach of the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams). I have recently begun work with the Abbotsford-Mission Nature Club.

Marital Status/Children: Divorced with a 17-year-old son

Website: stephenfowler.ca

Email: stephen.fowler@greenparty.ca

Facebook: Stephen Fowler for Abbotsford – Green Party of Canada, Abbotsford Greens

Twitter: @SFowlerGPC

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

Abbotsford has a large agricultural base, and so from an economic and community perspective, Canada’s supply management policy is very important. It is the Green Party’s belief that a strong, locally sourced food supply must be maintained wherever possible. Greens believe in family over factory farms and in a strong presence of locally sourced food in stores. I would push against increased international trade deals and push for fair trade over free. A second local issue is the need for improvements in commuter transit. Many residents take part in long commutes that lead to their own poverty of time. That is lost time with family and lost time in the community. Improvements in transit for commuters will lead to positive feelings of belonging and empowerment as commuters have the time to contribute and make a difference in their own communities. I would promote the “Rail for the Valley” initiative and vote against more car centered grid creation. The Green Party is the only party that is against all new pipeline ideas, and so the Keystone Pipeline would not receive my support. Finally, it is imperative that we treat housing and homelessness as the UN-supported human right that it is. Every Canadian has the right to affordable, safe and secure housing.

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

The Green Party of Canada recognizes the need for immediate action to deal with climate change. This is an opportunity, through innovation and creativity, to grow economically while also aiding our environment. Like the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century, this is an opportunity for people and economies to grow, but this time we must do so with the environment in mind. Healthcare continues to be a major national problem. It is not enough to just keep throwing more money at this system in crisis. A healthier environment and the consumption of healthier food will lead to a healthier population. Social justice is a major element of the Green Party platform. First Nations, women, the homeless, immigrants and new Canadians, the LGBQT community and students must all be treated in ways that are more equitable with documents such as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the UN declaration of rights. We are also the party that sees economic capital in our artistic community. People feel good when they take part in or are audience to an artistic performance or showing. The arts bring Canadians together, and so it is the Green Party’s intent to create the right conditions to protect and support Canadian artists.

 

David Mackay (Marxist-Leninist) – Questionnaire to come

 

MISSION-MATSQUI-FRASER CANYON CANDIDATES:

 

Brad Vis (Conservative)

Age: 31

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science (UBC), master’s degree in political science (Carleton)

Occupation: Public Relations/communications/policy development

Residence: Abbotsford

Community involvement: Abilitas Foundation, Cycling4Diversity, Bethesda Christian Association, New Life Church

Marital Status/Children: Married to Kathleen

Website: bradvis.conservative.ca

Email: info@bradvis.ca

Facebook Page: Brad Vis

Twitter: @BradleyVis

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

Since being nominated to be the Conservative candidate I have been door knocking almost everyday. This is what the people of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon have told me:

1.    Families are concerned about paying their bills, staying ahead every month and making sure they have jobs to support their children.

2.    Citizens are concerned about keeping their streets and community safe. Parents want neighbourhoods where their children can play on the street and in the park across the road in a safe and clean environment free from drugs (i.e. dirty needles), gang violence and marijuana grow ops.

As the Member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon I will begin my career as a backbencher. This means the best way I will be able to advocate for the communities in this riding will be through detailed committee work and direct intervention with the executive branch of government and my parliamentary caucus. I will regularly provide the community with updates on these files and the steps I have taken on these matters in a transparent fashion.

Fraser River management issues like flood protection infrastructure and erosion are also big concerns. I will advocate for increased infrastructure investment through the Building Canada Fund and other government programs to support such developments in the riding.

I also promise to be a strong advocate for the agricultural sector – promoting our local and world-class food products will bring more jobs and economic growth to this region!

Finally, I promise to visit every single secondary school as my first priority as an elected representative. I want youth to be properly informed about our democratic processes, which make Canada a global leader!

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

Jobs, the economy and taxes. The Conservatives have a strong track record in supporting job development, a steady hand in managing Canada’s economy, and a commitment to keeping taxes low, while providing significant tax credits. These are the issues Canadians care about the most and the Conservative Party is moving in the right direction for the country. In uncertain times the last thing families need are increased taxes or the government clawing back solid policies like the Universal Child Care Benefit or Income-Splitting, as the Opposition parties have promised to do. I hear this every night on the doorsteps of hard-working Canadian families and I will protect these benefits, which make such a difference in the lives of hard-working families.

Dennis Adamson (NDP)

Age: 57

Education: Georgian College in Barrie, Ryerson Polytechnic Institute

Occupation: Electoral Area B Director for Fraser Valley Regional District since 2008.

Residence: Been living for 10 years in Yale – a B.C. rural community of about 200 residents.

Community involvement: I was a Yale and District volunteer firefighter, a member of the Yale Ratepayers and assistant leader of the 1st Hope Scouts until I was elected to Fraser Valley Regional District. Currently, I am a board member of the Hope/Fraser Canyon Better at Home local advisory committee and a director of the Citizens Advancing Soilless Horticulture Society.

Marital Status/Children: Married with two daughters.

Website: dennisadamson.ndp.ca

Email: dennis.adamson@ndp.ca

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

I have been knocking on hundreds of doors in the riding and I’ve been hearing that residents of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon are worried about how their incomes are dropping, household debt is rising and unemployment is increasing. An NDP government will cut the small business tax rate from 11 to nine per cent to kick start the local economy.

Residents are also worried about the air we breathe and the water we drink. The NDP has a concrete plan reduce reliance on fossil fuels and support energy efficiency and conservation. I have the experience, working as the Electoral Area B Regional Director for the Fraser Valley Regional District since 2008, to work with different local organizations to get the job done.

But one of the main things I’ve been hearing on the doorstep is that voters are very disappointed at the Liberals teaming up with the Conservatives to pass Bill C-51, which threatens our privacy. This is why it’s time for change and an NDP government will repeal Bill C-51.

More and more Canadians are putting their trust in the NDP to defeat Stephen Harper and bring change to Ottawa.

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

This election is about change. After ten years of Stephen Harper, middle class families are working harder but just can’t get ahead. Stephen Harper’s plan just isn’t working.

Canadians are also tired of the Senate scandals plaguing Stephen Harper. He promised to clean up the scandals and do things differently—he didn’t. Stephen Harper is the reason Canadians want to change in Ottawa.

Many Canadians gave Justin Trudeau a chance but he just hasn’t lived up to expectations.

One thing is clear this election, only the NDP can defeat Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

Tom Mulcair is a different kind of leader. He was raised on middle class values. He’s principled and experienced. Tom will return the age of eligibility for Old Age Security back to 65 from 67. He will create one million new high quality childcare spaces and cap fees for parents – no more than $15 a day.

Jati Sidhu (Liberal)

Age: 62

Education: BA in political science and economics

Occupation: Farmer and entrepreneur

Residence: Abbotsford

Community involvement:

I’m proud to say I have 30+ years of community involvement and volunteerism, including (but not limited to):

•    Abbotsford Police Board

•    University of the Fraser Valley Board of Governors

•    Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce

•    Rotary Club

•    BC Vegetable Marketing Commission Board

Marital Status/Children: Married, three adult children

Website: jatisidhu.liberal.ca

Email: info@votejatisidhu.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/votejatisidhu

Twitter: @JatiSidhuLPC

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

  • Economic stability, particularly as regards the region’s long-term growth, is crucial. I firmly believe that small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy, and yet they are being held back by lack of labour, red tape and lack of funding. I’ll be pressing for an end to the Conservatives’ annual Employment Insurance premium hikes.
  • Improving relations with First Nations people, and that starts with repealing the antiquated Indian Act. We must move to create modern, collaborative relationships with First Nations communities in this riding, and that starts with meeting with individual Nations and working on a plan based on existing treaties, First Nation rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • I believe everyone should have access to publicly-funded and high-quality health care, and that means collaborating with the provinces and territorial partners to tackle critical needs such as community-based care, elder care and mental health.
  • I’ll be working with my colleagues to make sure a Liberal government enhances the existing Canadian Pension Plan, and we will try and make it easier for many Canadians to save by cutting taxes for the middle class.

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

  • We need to get out from under Mr. Harper’s second recession before it gets worse. We have the most ambitious infrastructure revitalization plan in Canadian history ready to kick-start the economy. I’ll be pushing for a growth agenda that focuses on education, public and social infrastructure and finding new trade partners.
  • It’s beyond embarrassing what Harper and the Conservatives have done to this country’s environmental record. As a farmer I know the importance of sustainability, and I know you can have both a protected environment and a prosperous economy. 

I’ll be asking my party to commit to long-term clean energy tech investment, increase the amount of protected marine and coastal areas and take immediate action on climate change (starting with actually listening to scientists).
  • We must restore faith in our democratic process. I fully support real measures to prove our commitment to accountability including publicly posting MP expenses, removing partisanship from the Senate and passing legislation that entrenches transparency in our government.

 

Arthur Green (Green)

Age:  60

Education: Accounting courses, UBC Summer Institute for Future Legislators,  forest management training with BC Forest Service

Occupation: Motion picture technician

Residence: Hope

Community Involvement: Hope Ratepayer’s Association, Hope and Area Transition Society

Marital Status: Married, one stepson, two stepdaughters

Email: artgreen33@gmail.com

Twitter: @FraserCanyonGPC

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

Homelessness in the region has become epidemic.  We now have homeless camps in our major population areas. This is not only a health concern, but a security risk as well. In all these areas citizens are complaining about theft, trespassing, not to mention the health concerns for those unfortunate individuals, who many suffer from addiction and mental health issues.

In Hope, we’ve adopted a program known as Housing First. This program has proven great success for our community, not only at placing individuals into housing and off the street, but also has proven to be very fiscally responsible, actually saving the community money.  Once these individuals are housed and secure, we can then deal with their issues.

The Fraser River fishery is at extreme jeopardy.  Most of this stress is caused by the warming climate and sea lice from open net fish farms on the west coast of B.C.  You can talk to any fishery official or any fisher, up and down the Fraser, the longest section running through MMFC. The cooling of the Fraser can only happen with a climate action plan, taking place at the federal level.  The problem of sea lice could be remedied by the current federal government living by its own recommendations of the $28 million Cohen Report.  Removing the current open net fish farms, and moving them inland would be a crucial step in saving the Fraser River sockeye, as well as other species of marine life.

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

The Canadian economy has been running consecutive deficits ever since the current federal government was first elected in 2006. They have ramped up our structural deficit another $170 billion, now running at approximately $700 billion. The interest alone is now costing us $92 million a day, or $34 billion a year.  This is unsustainable. This has been basically caused by the federal government trying to finance the country on a one-horse economy, fossil fuel exportation.  Now that the bottom has fallen out of the world price, Canada’s challenges ahead are insurmountable.

The Green Party believes that the biggest economic catalyst of all times lies in the conversion to renewable and clean energy, as well as the conservation of our current energy being wasted through inefficient systems.  We believe shifting our tax incentives from fossil fuels to building renewable systems and correcting what is actually being wasted now, would afford employment opportunities to the majority of Canadians, and lead us toward a real balanced budget.

The issue of security is another convoluted attempt by the current federal government to divert attention from the real issues of the Canadian population.  Their failure of the economy, muzzling scientists, the lack of concern to make their commitments for carbon output and climate change. This list is endless.

The truth of the matter is, everything we’ve done on the pretext of assisting in the Middle East has been a total failure.  Take your pick, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, each and every time North America has entered any of these areas, we’ve only made the matter worse.

As far as ISIL goes, we say follow the money, secure the borders, take away their incentive, and abet the security of the refugee problem. Currently we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars bombing dump trucks, and have done very little to aid in security of our ally governments.  We have a security issue right here at home.  The homeless and addicted trespassing and robbing us in total desperation.  We’d be a lot more secure if we helped them first.

 

Wyatt Scott (Independent)

Age: 38

Education: I attended the University of the Fraser Valley for three years. During my time at the university, I concentrated my studies on political science with an international relations focus. I also studied philosophy, psychology, communications, and agriculture. I hold a journeyman Cooking Certificate. I also hold a Class One Operators License.

Occupation:  Self-employed in the lapidary (stone and gem-cutting) industry

Residence: Mission, B.C. (Near Mr. Pet)

Community involvement: President-elect, Mission Sunrise Rotary club; vice-president, Mission Optimist club; Mission Fest coordinator; Mission Folk Fest coordinator. Mission Friendship center.

Marital Status/Children: Married, Son

Website: wyattscott.ca

Email: Wyatt@wyattscott.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wyattscottMMFC

Twitter: @WyattScott_MMFC

What do you feel are the key issues in your riding?

Two key issues in our riding are the economy and the environment. To grow our local economy, I would promote industries within our riding, like our agricultural industry, by cutting bureaucracy and offering federal incentives to create local jobs that employ Canadian workers. Our agricultural sector is already thriving, but we need to ensure that it is ready to take on the new challenges of the future. Grants and locally developed, federally funded initiatives can help our farms stay current with new technologies. However, we cannot create growth at the expense of the environment; we need to create a more sustainable economy that will be around to provide jobs for our children and grandchildren. As an MP I would help create a framework to make the transition from our fossil fuel, resource-based economy to green energy gradually, allowing time for new industries to develop as we modify the old. Our federal government needs to take on the role of world leader in environmental issues. Grants and tax incentives for developing green technologies would help the people in our riding become pioneers in these industries. We already have hi-tech industries here in Mission; these innovative job creators will develop in conjunction with new energy systems for a whole new economic sector. We also have great opportunities to expand ecotourism and farm tourism in our beautiful region.

What do you feel are the key issues in Canada in this election?

I think most Canadians would agree that the selling of our resources to foreign investors is a key concern in this election. The Canadian Wheat Board is a prime example of how Canadians came together to protect our economy and our heritage, only to be completely dismissed by the federal government. Canadian workers go unemployed; our crude oil is sold to China instead of being refined here in Canada; Canada Post is degraded to the point of being obsolete, all to the detriment of our economy. In addition, our First Nations live below the poverty line and the disappearance of indigenous women is below the notice of the prime minister. We need a government that respects the rights of Canadian citizens, a government that creates a balance between a stable, sustainable economy and social programs that allow all Canadians to live in dignity. Many previous federal programs that helped our citizens have been dropped without explanation. I would bring them back, for a start. I would also give jobs back to Canadian workers to add their incomes to the economy. In a nutshell, this election is about a shift in focus: instead of feeling disillusioned and disenfranchised, Canadians must take back our government and make it work for us.

Elaine Wismer (Marxist-Leninist) – Questionnaire to come