The four candidates hoping to win the seat for the federal Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Riding provided answers to the following questions:
1. Will you hold annual town-hall meetings in 100 Mile House to hear your constituents’ comments and concerns? If not, how will learn what is on their minds?
2. What is the single most important thing your party would do for rural Canadians?
3. Does Canada have adequate gun control?
1. From the moment Elizabeth May was elected, she started working to lead by example.
She regularly posted her full itemized office expenses on her website years before the Senate spending or Duffy scandals ever saw the light of day, and called on other MPs to do the same. She worked to minimize her travel budget by flying economy class if at all, not because her office would get extra money that way (it doesn’t), but just because it would save the taxpayers’ money instead.
And she began holding a town-hall meeting in a different part of her riding every month, including on each of the Gulf Islands in turn.
Though these common-sense practices never occurred to the Conservative MP who held the seat for 14 years prior to her election, or even to many running nationally for re-election today, I would be proud to follow her example.
2. Rural regions need support more than ever: adapting to climate change (especially droughts), rebuilding and improving long-neglected infrastructure, emphasizing local community economic development that builds on regional strengths, ensuring food security by supporting local food markets and the continued viability of agricultural enterprises at all scales big and small, supporting aging populations and reversing the ongoing degradation of rural healthcare services, working to rebuild trust and co-operation with local First Nations, and more.
Under the Harper Conservatives, not only have all these problems worsened, the demise of the long-form census means that many rural communities no longer register on the statistical map for policy-makers to even consider! (See Maclean’s article “Vanishing Canada” online for much more on that.)
While Greens have detailed plans to address every one of those issues, I couldn’t choose just one, but would consult with communities to find out their top priorities in turn.
3. Regarding long guns, Canada currently has common-sense gun regulations that the United States can only dream of, and the only party talking about more gun regulation – by trying to scare people about it – is the Conservative Party.
And yet, just ask the National Firearms Association (NFA) how committed the Conservatives really are to gun-owners (or look up the story online). The NFA was preparing to testify against C-51 when the government convinced them not to in exchange for several amendments to C-42.
And yet, once C-51 was safely passed, they were disinvited from presenting those amendments at all, with senior staffer Kory Teneycke telling the president that the “NFA had been played, and that the government saw no need to honour its commitment on C-42.”
This Conservative Party has a long history of taking its base for granted.
Will you reward them for doing it yet again?