As the Oct. 21 federal election approaches, we asked candidates in the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola to respond to several questions.
There are six candidates in this riding, but two People’s Party of Canada candidate Allan Duncan and Libertarian Party candidate Jesse Regier could not be reached.
The candidates who responded are Dan Albas of the Conservative Party of Canada, Mary Ann Murphy of the Liberal Party, Robert Mellalieu of the Green Party and Joan C. Phillip of the New Democratic Party.
The cost of housing can make it hard for some employers to hire workers. How would you combat housing issues in the valley?
“We would start by reviewing the stress test to make sure that it is doing the important work it needs to do to reduce stress to the overall economy, but not at the expense of people that are just starting out. We’d also reintroduce 30-year amortization to first-time homebuyers. Also, we’re talking about a money-laundering inquiry.”
“The cost of housing is a difficult one to combat right now because we have a lot of people who are spending a lot of money on their $500,000 house, and if we bring the housing prices down, we’re going to put a lot of people in bankruptcy. We need to make sure there’s more affordable housing. I don’t think there’s any one magic bullet.”
Mary Ann Murphy
“The Liberal government, in addition to implementing the first national housing strategy in over a decade, is offering a new mortgage option for first-time young homebuyers whereby CMHC will assume 10 per cent of that mortgage, and it will not have to be paid back until the sale of the home.”
“Our party plans on building at least 500,000 affordable housing. We understand how challenging it is. I recall a time when cooperatives were very big. I think we might be looking at that.”
If you are elected but your party does not form government, how will you ensure the needs of your riding are addressed at the federal level?
“It’s important to take the view that any time that we as taxpayers send money to Ottawa, if there’s a national program like infrastructure, that we should be able to access it as well. I’m for a very fair distribution of those infrastructure funds, and we’ve seen that happen here in the valley. I don’t simply want to oppose the government; I want to give them new ideas.”
“One of the things I’ve learned in the Green Party is to get along. Consensus is this word that I’ve learned. As long as you all come with respect and understanding, you can come to a consensus. There’s a common ground in there, and I think right now people don’t search for that common ground.”
Mary Ann Murphy
“Stop the bickering, reach out and work with other politicians of different stripes. If someone has a good idea… sit down and work together for the good of your constituents and their communities.”
“I would introduce independent members’ bills. I would speak out in the house. For the last 152 years, we’ve had both Liberal and Conservative governments, and really they have not worked for people. The top one per cent have gotten wealthier and the rest of us have gotten poorer, and I think that needs to stop.”
What’s your favourite Okanagan fruit?
“Number one would be cherries. I love cherry pie and I love cherries in general. Peaches would be my second.”
“I’ve got an apple tree in my back yard. When we first moved here, we were waiting for all the apples to go red. One branch was just staying green. It had been spliced many times. It actually has five varieties of apples on this apple tree.”
Mary Ann Murphy
“My favourite Okanagan fruit is cherries, because most people don’t realize we produce 80 per cent of the world’s cherries here in the Okanagan. The federal government this past year has announced a major investment through the Summerland and a matching Ontario research station to look at producing also new varietals of apples and pears that are more pest-resistant.”
“Cherries. Cherries are more than just a fruit. They’re good for gout, and I love the jam. I make jams with different spices and different flavours. Actually, berries are excellent because they’re good for diabetics.”
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