The North Delta Reporter sent all six candidates running to represent Delta in Parliament five questions submitted by readers to gauge their positions on some of the big issues for voters in the 2021 federal election. Candidates were given a limit of 1,250 words total to answer your questions. Here’s what Liberal candidate Carla Qualtrough had to say:
1) Why are you running to be Delta’s MP? Why should voters choose you to be their representative in Parliament?
I have been honoured to be the member of Parliament for Delta and a cabinet minister since 2015. I have enjoyed working with Delta families, non-profits, businesses, and other levels of government. We have successfully worked together on big projects like the North Delta track and the Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue interchange. We have brought good jobs to Delta — over 400 hundred this year alone through Canada Summer Jobs. We have brought in support for veterans and seniors and local food banks.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been part of the core cabinet team that created the supports Canadians needed to get through this once-in-a-generation crisis. I am proud of my role bringing in programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, one-time payments for seniors and persons with disabilities, and enhancements to the EI system to support more workers. And I am proud to have been part of the team that secured enough vaccines for every Canadian, months ahead of schedule.
We have accomplished a lot together — and at the same time there is a lot more to do.
I entered politics to serve my community and make a positive difference in people’s lives.
I bring my values of integrity, hard work, and community-mindedness to work every day as an MP and cabinet minister. I also bring the experience, discipline and passion for fairness and equity I developed as a Paralympic medalist and human rights lawyer. Most importantly, I bring the perspectives of a mother, a person with a disability, and someone who loves our community.
If re-elected, I promise to continue to work hard for Delta and for Canada every day. You deserve nothing less.
2) What are your top priorities if you are elected on Sept. 20?
If re-elected on Sept. 20, my top priorities will be addressing affordability issues, fighting climate change and helping businesses and farmers.
Time and time again I hear from families in Delta that they cannot afford to buy a house, that there is no affordable childcare, and that there is insufficient public transit. If re-elected I will work with local partners to address the lack of housing options in our community and to address the diversity of housing needs that are currently unmet. Delta will benefit from our Liberal $10/day childcare plan, which will save families in Delta $948 per month per child. I will also advocate for further investments in public transit in Delta.
Climate action is also top of my list. Deltans want to see more of our nature and coastlines protected. They are sick of plastics polluting our parks, rivers, and ocean. They want to buy and be able to charge zero-emission vehicles, and to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. They are worried about flooding and wildfires. They want us to protect Pacific salmon and Southern Resident killer whales. And they do not want Canada to continue to export thermal coal. These are my issues as well.
And finally, I will prioritize supporting businesses and farmers through the recovery. We need to help businesses grow and get the workers they need, including foreign workers. We need to ensure that sectors that have yet to recover are supported. We need to invest in training and help workers find jobs.
I am excited that all these issues are addressed in our Liberal platform.
3) The top issue raised by readers was housing affordability, both for owners and renters. If elected, what will you/your party do to bring down home prices, ensure fair home-buying availability and opportunity for Canadians, and make rents more affordable and commensurate with average wages and overall cost of living?
If re-elected, I will continue to work in Delta with all levels of government, developers, non-profits, and advocates to improve housing options and address the diversity of housing needs in our community.
A re-elected Liberal government will address homelessness; build temporary and emergency housing; build more new homes and rental units; and repair our existing housing supply. We will implement a multi-generational home tax credit so families can live together.
We will make it easier to buy a home through initiatives such as a new rent-to-own program, a new tax-free home savings account, a more flexible First-Time Buyers’ tax incentive, lower closing costs, and reduced mortgage monthly costs.
We will make renting and buying fairer through measures that deter unfair rent increases, curb speculation and house-flipping, eliminate practices such as blind bidding, and require banks to defer mortgage payments for up to six months for certain life events.
4) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned that global temperature rise was reaching a “code red” for humanity, and an Angus Reid poll found climate change was the top issue identified by voters in driving their ballot choice this election. How do you/your party plan to address climate change?
Delta cares very deeply about the environment and nature. So do I. I am proud of the work our Liberal government has done over the past six years, but I recognize that there is much more to do.
Our Liberal platform puts forth an ambitious plan that aligns with science to address the climate crisis with the urgency it demands. We have put into law a commitment to reduce emissions by 40-45 per cent by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050. We have a plan to get there. We will tackle emissions from every sector of the economy, in every region of the country. This includes a cap on oil and gas emissions.
And our Liberal plan addresses the climate issues and concerns that Delta care about, including banning the export of thermal coal from and through Canada; eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2023; advancing the Pacific Salmon Strategy, achieving zero plastic waste, building charging stations and accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles restoring and enhancing wetlands, and implementing a Fresh Water Strategy that will restore the Fraser River Estuary.
Climate economists around the country have weighed in and concluded that our climate plan is the most ambitious of any party, and that our targets can be reached.
5) Do you support the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Expansion? Why/why not?
I recognize the key role that Deltaport plays in our economy and global trade. We need to ensure that our port can support the competitiveness of our economy while at the same time ensuring that the environment is protected.
The 2020 Environmental Review Panel concluded that RBT2 would have significant adverse cumulative impacts on fish, fish habitat, Dungeness crab, Southern Resident killer whales, wetlands, barn owls, and the traditional use of Indigenous lands and resources. In August of 2020 the environment minister wrote to the port requesting further information on how they would mitigate these impacts. The response has not yet been received.
I have been worried and unconvinced about the ability of the port to mitigate these serious environmental impacts. I remain so. But I am open-minded and await the port’s responses. If re-elected and at the cabinet table when this decision is made, my approach will be to convey what I am hearing from Deltans and to assess any new info objectively — to consider the science and expert advice. And weigh in accordingly.
Election day is Monday, Sept. 20.