BC Green Party candidate Amanda Poon (left) and BC Liberal Party candidate Renee Merrifield (right). (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

BC Green Party candidate Amanda Poon (left) and BC Liberal Party candidate Renee Merrifield (right). (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

B.C. Votes: Kelowna-Mission candidates discuss the issues

Two of the riding’s three candidates showed up to a forum

Two of the three Kelowna-Mission candidates vying for votes in the 2020 B.C. election took the stage at an electoral forum on Tuesday afternoon, giving the electorate a taste of what to expect if they earn the seat in the legislature.

The BC Greens’ Amanda Poon and The BC Liberals’ Renee Merrifield faced off for nearly 90 minutes tackling several issues, both at the local and provincial levels. The BC NDP candidate for the riding, Krystal Smith, declined to participate in the forum.

READ MORE: Meet the cadidates: Kelowna-Mission — Renee Merrifield (Liberal)

READ MORE: Meet the candidates: Kelowna-Mission – Amanda Poon (Green)

READ MORE: Meet the candidates: Kelowna-Mission — Krystal Smith (NDP)

The event, hosted by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, saw candidates given 90 seconds to answer questions posed to them before the other was allowed 60 seconds to respond.

Discussing taxation, both acknowledged the tough times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemics and elaborated on how they and their respective parties would address the struggles of individuals and small businesses.

Merrifield, as the owner of local developer Troika, said she has felt the “pinch” and says the BC Liberals are committed to making that better through across-the-board tax cuts. Merrifield said her party would remove the small business tax, which currently sits at two per cent, in addition to their campaign promise to suspend PST.

“Governments don’t bring back economies, consumers do,” she said.

READ MORE: Top issues raised during Kelowna-West candidates forum

Poon retorted by saying B.C.’s economy is very sophisticated and the cuts proposed by the Liberals would do more harm than good to the local economy, adding that the PST cut would cost $11 billion over two years. Her party, rather, is proposing specific, targeted tax cuts, where they’re deemed most necessary.

“This is not a dollar store,” she said. “When we just slash and discount — and discount the value of the labour of our workers; discount the value of our precious resources — that has unintended costs.

“What we get a deal on today, we pay for tomorrow.”

Speaking on affordable housing, a significant issue across the metro portion of the Kelowna-Mission riding, agreed that changes need to be made with regards to housing, but not on what those changes should be.

“This affordability problem isn’t going to be solved by having cheaper cabinets in your mansion in Kettle Valley,” said Poon. “Our party isn’t looking at making life easier for folks at the very top and hoping it’ll trickle down. We know that never happens.”

She suggested moving towards co-op housing and implementing housing policies that are inclusive of all families, not just those with two-incomes.

Merrifield said the issue again comes to taxes and tackling the “layering effect” that certain taxes have. She also mentioned the need to focus on the economy and the effect that the struggling forestry industry has had on home prices.

“In the last 30 days, housing prices have increased by $30,000 per home because of lumber (costs).”

A question about tourism resulted in a conversation largely about the balance between helping businesses survive the turmoil brought about by the pandemic and adhering to public health advice on the matter.

Poon, who is an analyst for the Interior Health Authority, mentioned the importance of the work she and her colleagues have done through the pandemic but acknowledged tourism and hospitality needs to be bolstered to allow businesses to make it through the winter, adding that the season is already a tough time for local businesses. Her party is in support of grants to assist those businesses.

However, Poon noted businesses have found innovative ways to continue operating while staying safe thus far in the pandemic. She said she wants to listen to local entrepreneurs and support similar initiatives at a governmental level.

Merrifield said an economic plan is needed to move businesses forward. She said she believes in the resiliency of local businesses, as exemplified by the local company which broadcasted the forum, SW Events Technology.

“We’re sitting in a facility today, that was created out of necessity — created out of a disruption,” Merrifield said. She believes that type of innovation needs to be looked at by other companies, allowing for larger events to continue even amid the pandemic.

“We need to support our tourism and restaurant industries right now.”

If you’d like to watch the full forum, the Chamber of Commerce plans to upload a video of the broadcast to its YouTube channel.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Google Maps)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Quigley Elementary School

Interior Health (IH) has asked the school community to self-monitor for symptoms

Kelowna firefighters on scene of an apartment fire on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
Firefighters tend to apartment blaze along Gordon Drive

Two dogs were found safe inside the unit

Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
November temperatures warmer than average in Kelowna

Kelowna won’t see much in the way of rain or snow until around Dec. 10

A rendering of the proposed development at the intersection of Leon Avenue and Water Street. (Contributed)
Massive Leon Ave development coming back to Kelowna council

The towers would stand at 24, 28 and 42 storeys, the largest of which would be the tallest building in the city

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

RCMP are investigating after a witness reported seeing two individuals breaking into and removing items from a mailbox in Armstrong Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Thieves break into, steal items from North Okanagan mailbox

Police investigating after items were taken from a community mailbox on Van Kleeck Avenue Thursday

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Tim Hortons in Lake Country banded together to help raise more than $4,700 for the local food bank through its Smile Cookie campaign. (Photo submitted)
Lake Country Tim Hortons brings smiles to food bank

Annual Smile Cookie campaign raises $4,735

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Most Read