Election 2015: Meet the Candidates — Cloverdale-Langley City

Cloverdale-Langley City — Four candidates in the new federal riding discuss the top issues facing local voters

  • Thu Sep 24th, 2015 6:00pm
  • News

Dean Drysdale — Conservative Party

I am grateful for the opportunity to address the issues that I hear about most often in my conversations with people in our community.

First among these is the economy. People understand that economic growth, job creation, and the sustainability of our health system and other social programs depend on the sound management of our economy.

In this regard, the government’s record speaks for itself. Despite a period of unprecedented global economic instability, Canada has done very well.

Since the global financial crisis in 2008, Canada has posted the strongest economic growth, the strongest job creation numbers (1.2 million net new jobs) and the strongest income growth for the middle class among any of the major developed economies.

We have kept spending under control and this year we have balanced the budget – the only country in the G7 to do so.  Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio is now the lowest among G7 countries, and both the IMF and the OECD expect Canada to have one of the fastest-growing economies in the G7 over the next few years.

This record is particularly impressive considering it has been accomplished while the tax burden on Canadian families has been reduced to its lowest point in over 50 years.

Uncertainty in the global economy persists. I believe the best way to deal with it is to stick with a low-tax, prudent plan that is clearly working instead of gambling on the big spending, high tax, high debt approach which is failing everywhere else.

Consider this: Justin Trudeau would dramatically hike payroll taxes on middle class Canadians.

His tax hike would cost over $1,000 for someone earning $60,000 per year.  He thinks budgets balance themselves. Thomas Mulcair, when asked, did not even know what the business tax rate is in Canada; he just knows he wants to raise it.

Both Trudeau and Mulcair are offering the same high tax, high debt policies that created the type of chaos we see in Greece today. Trudeau and Mulcair think you can spend your way to prosperity, but people in Cloverdale – Langley City know it doesn’t work that way.

The second issue that I hear about most often concerns the safety of our streets.  And little wonder: for over 40 years, our criminal justice system was going in the wrong direction – focused more on the rights of criminals than on the rights of victims.

The Harper Government committed to change things, and has delivered on that commitment. There are tougher laws to crack down on gun and gang crime; violent and repeat offenders; identity theft; violence against seniors; car theft, and street racing – to name a few areas. We have stopped routinely giving convicted criminals two-for-one credit for time served prior to trial. We have ended the practice of paying Old Age Security payments to prisoners. Also, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act allows victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism in a Canadian court, including foreign states listed by the Government.

This election will be an important one for Canada. Canadians will be asked whether they want to continue with the sound economic policies, and get-tough-on-crime agenda of Stephen Harper or whether they want to take a gamble on the risky economic and social experiments promised by Justin Trudeau or Thomas Mulcair.

I would be grateful for the opportunity to represent our community in Parliament and to work on behalf of Cloverdale and Langley City residents to make our community and our country even safer and more prosperous than it is today.

 

Scott Anderson — Green Party

One area of politics that most voters can agree on is that Stephen Harper’s tyranny must end, so that Canada can return to some semblance of democratic rule. The only question is, “how?” As voters decide which non-Harper candidate to support, they should know that a Green Party MP places the interests of constituents ahead of party interests and is prepared to work with other parties for the betterment of Canada. For the people of Cloverdale–Langley City, three local issues will command my attention.

One chronic problem that needs to be address is the lack of adequate public transit. For too long, Langley has been terra incognita as far as TransLink is concerned. We were supposed to have had a SkyTrain line years ago, but instead the politically expedient Millennium and Canada lines were built. The million or so people in the Fraser Valley have just as much right to decent commuter service as those living further west.

As the MP for Cloverdale-Langley City I will work to secure federal funding for a light-rail line between Chilliwack and Surrey. A diesel train service every 20 to 30 minutes along the existing Interurban right of way would cost a mere $500 million, including stations and cars. This compares to $2.4 billion for the Canada Line and $1.4 billion for the Evergreen Line. The tragedy for Cloverdale–Langley City residents is that the benefits of light rail are old news. In 2008, the Gordon Campbell government promised to release a major light-rail study, but that never happened. The Green Party will help put transit policy back on the rails.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of life in Canada is that not everyone has a place to live. As long as I can remember, downtown Langley City has had an acute homeless problem, and there is no sign of it getting better any time soon. Here, as in other cases of public welfare, much of the responsibility for this problem rests with the federal government, which has abandoned both financial and moral responsibility for those in need. Local agencies like churches have had to pick up the slack by default, but these can only do so much. If governments are elected by people, people should not expect governments to ignore them. Even the free-market economist Adam Smith recognized that a government has a moral obligation to care for people’s basic needs.

As a first step, I would work with the provincial government to fund homeless shelters, both to provide safe housing and to take the load off churches. But any long-term solution must address the causes of homelessness, which include drug addiction and unemployment. Ideally, the shelters will provide temporary housing for people until they can support themselves.

As I campaign, many people in Langley City express concerns about crime, such as prostitution, drug dealing and vandalism. Not only are these matters of criminality, but they also ruin public spaces for families and the general public.

Because of the connection between crime and drug trafficking, increased police enforcement should be part of any comprehensive plan to reclaim our public spaces and improve community livability. Toward that end, I will work with mayor and council to strengthen policing and develop effective treatment programs.

I became involved in politics to help my community. As the MP for Cloverdale-Langley City, I’ll do just that.

John Aldag — Liberal Party

A Member of Parliament must listen to constituents’ issues.

I’ve knocked on almost 25,000 doors and walked over 1,000 kilometres to discuss issues that keep constituents awake at night since I began an unpaid leave from my federal government job in December, 2013, in my bid to represent the riding of Cloverdale – Langley City.

To those who kept their door open to me, I listened to their concerns regardless of party affiliation. I want to represent everyone in Langley, not just Liberal supporters.

The top priority raised by residents is the increasing financial pressures that families face — cost of living increases (housing, food, transportation) and the failure of income to keep pace.

To address this economic issue, we need good local jobs with access to affordable, reliable and timely transit. We need programs that benefit all Canadians from youth to seniors and the working families in between. And we need a financially responsible government that spends on Canadians — not promoting itself.

As MP, for Cloverdale-Langley City, I will advocate for financial programs and incentives that benefit our families, seniors and youth.

The tax burden will be lifted through a promised seven per cent cut to the taxes on earnings from $45,000 to $90,000, an income-tested payment plan for child benefits with more for low and medium income families and nothing for income over $200,000, and increased assistance to single and low-income seniors. Youth unemployment rates must also be addressed.

Our riding can lead in the creation of jobs in new and emerging fields in collaboration with existing businesses and educational organizations in our area.

Significant investments in transit, including light rail to Langley, are needed, as are investments in our social infrastructure including affordable housing.

Secondly we must re-establish confidence in our democratic processes. Many Canadians don’t want to vote on Oct. 19 because they have lost faith in all parties to act responsibly and in the public’s interest, not their own.

Our veterans did not fight and die to defend an unresponsive, uncaring and undemocratic government.  As a society, we need to ensure that we uphold the sacred bond that exists between a country and its uniformed men and women. This sacred bond has been broken and must be restored.

I spent over 30 years working in the federal public service.  As a society, we’ve become cynical of the role of government adding value to our lives. Public service must put service above self. We need to restore integrity and honesty to government.

Canada was built on transparent democratic processes, but we’ve lost these through omnibus bills, increased power of the Prime Minister’s Office and decreased powers of Members of Parliament.  I will work to uphold the honour and integrity that voters deserve. The Liberal Party of Canada under Justin Trudeau recognizes these issues and pledged 42 changes to restore the public’s faith in Canada’s democratic processes.

Lastly the federal government must take a strong leadership role both internationally and domestically by embodying the values of Canada as a caring and compassionate country.  We can act on world threats including terrorism by being both smart and compassionate.

We must work with provinces, territories, municipalities and First Nations to deal with the important issues of homelessness, mental health, environment, healthcare, infrastructure deficiencies and others that require multi-party discussions.

I will advocate on Langley’s behalf for the betterment of our communities and of Canada.

I’m proud to be running under the Liberal Party of Canada that has pledged real change to respond to the issues expressed by residents.  See www.realchange.ca for more information.

Rebecca Smith — NDP

I was born and raised in our beautiful province. I grew up in Langley, where my family has lived for over 30 years. I chose to make my home in Cloverdale because I love this community and have dedicated my life to serving it. I want to continue to do so as a strong voice for Cloverdale-Langley City in Ottawa.

I started my career in financial consulting, helping people achieve their dreams and goals — buying a home, preparing to start a family, and saving for a well-deserved and comfortable retirement. After the 10 years of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, it is becoming harder and harder for families. They are working harder than ever yet falling further behind. Every day, on the doorstep and around the community, I hear from families who are struggling just to make ends meet. I hear stories like that of my neighbours: they have two kids, both parents are working hard to provide the best life and future for their children. But they can’t find affordable child care, they are concerned about their rising debt-levels and they spend far too much time stuck in traffic.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Tom Mulcair and the NDP have a concrete plan to help middle class families. Plans like $15 a day quality child care will not only help families, but also help grow the economy. The NDP will be a reliable partner for municipalities in infrastructure, transit and community development. By lowering taxes for small business, and investing in innovation and clean technologies, we will create good-paying middle class jobs.

Through my work with non-profit organizations over the last ten years, I have fought to defend our rights and access to healthcare, mental health services, and safe workplaces. As a cancer survivor, I have first-hand intimate knowledge of the healthcare system from both the provider and patient perspective. I know how important it is to ensure that our healthcare system is improved and protected.

I have worked hard to bring attention to the need for proper care for our seniors so they can live with dignity. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have left too many seniors facing a broken system of supports, forced to spend their final years in poverty, insecurity and isolation. Canadians deserve better. An NDP government will provide long-term stable funding to provinces and territories to deliver quality health care and seniors’ care, including building 5000 more nursing home bed and home care for 41,000 more seniors. The challenges in health and seniors’ care started with the Liberals and were made worse by ten years of a Stephen Harper government. Tom Mulcair and the NDP understand these challenges and will work to repair the damage Harper has done. It was the NDP that brought publicly funded healthcare to Canada – you can trust that an NDP government is committed to protecting and strengthening Medicare.

I believe in the Canada that I grew up in, one that is highly respected internationally for our quality of life, strong values, social justice, unparalleled natural beauty and rich resources. Every day more and more Canadians are putting their trust in Tom Mulcair and the NDP to defeat Stephen Harper and bring change to Ottawa. With your help, we can repair the damage the Conservatives have done and make Canada strong again. I

believe our reputation as a world leader in environmental protection, peace keeping and international relations can be restored. That is why I am proud to stand as part of Tom Mulcair’s NDP team here in Cloverdale-Langley City. Together, we can make history and bring change to Ottawa.