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October 27, 2017 5:44 pm

Q & A with Candidates – Part Four

Thursday, May 4, 2017 @ 5:59 AM

250News sent  a series of 9 questions to each of the candidates running in the two Prince George ridings.The questions were  emailed to the candidates on April 13th, with  instructions that responses were to be received  by a deadline  of 1 p.m.  on Friday April 21st.

Candidates were asked that if their responses  included a funding component, that the source of that funding be identified.

Prince George – Valemount  candidate  Nan Kendy (Green) missed the deadline for responses.

250News published the first  segment of this series on Monday, April 24th ( click here )  Part Two  ran on Thursday April 27th (click here) and Part Three ran Monday May 1st ( click here).

All questions  and responses are being published in their entirety.

Question #7

The middle class is feeling pressure because of rising costs, how do you propose to ease that burden?

Prince George- Valemount:

Liberal Candidate Shirley Bond:

We want to make life more affordable for middle class families by reducing Medical Service Premiums.  Although two million British Columbians are already exempt from MSP, two million more will see their premiums cut by 50% in January, this as a first step to the complete elimination of MSP. A family of four earning less than $120,000 will save $900 per year in 2018.
We have also introduced the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit, which can save families up to $660 a year for each child under six. There will be a Children’s Fitness Equipment Tax Credit and a $500 Childrens Fitness and Arts Tax Credit.
We will freeze all personal income taxes for the next four years and maintain our carbon tax freeze until 2021. We believe that British Columbians are in the best position to determine how to spend their money, not government. We will maintain our focus on controlling spending , prudent fiscal management and work to build on our record of having one of the lowest overall tax burdens in Canada so that people can keep more of their hard earned money where it should be – in their pockets.

NDP Candidate Natalie Fletcher:

Working British Columbians are feeling the squeeze, and part of that is the wide range of fees and taxes she’s increased in her term: MSP fees, ICBC premiums, Hydro rates, Ferry fares, and even costs to visit parks have gone up thanks to Christy Clark. None of these things bother Christy Clark or her rich donor friends, because they can afford the increases. But the dollar earned by working people doesn’t go nearly as far as it used to, and half of British Columbian workers live paycheque to paycheque. The Clark economic record of growing part-time jobs – leaving people having to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet – is leaving too many people behind.

John Horgan cares about people, and wants to bridge the affordability gap.

We’ll freeze Hydro rates, to stop Christy Clark’s 42-per-cent increase. We’ll get a handle on ICBC premiums and we’ll eliminate the MSP by the end of our first term in office. The MSP is the most unfair tax in BC, with people who make $40,000 paying the same amount as someone who makes $400,000.

The BC NDP plan helps people where they live. We will offer a $400 annual rebate for renters, and will build 114,000 units of affordable housing, which will make life easier for working people in this province.

Prince George-Mackenzie:

Green Party Candidate Hilary Crowley:.

The Green party believes that public education is of utmost importance and we also believe in co-op programs. We will help the educational facilities to equip young people with the appropriate tools for successful employment in these changing times.

NDP Candidate Bobby Deepak:

The affordability crisis is Christy Clark’s economic legacy. Half of all working people feel like they’re one missed pay cheque away from being homeless. And BC has the worst-performing economy for young people in Canada.

Part of the reason is the host of additional fees Christy Clark has levied on British Columbians, things John Horgan and the New Democrats have committed to reverse. We’d put a halt on Christy Clark’s 42-per-cent increase in ICBC rates. We’d get ICBC rates under control. And although Christy Clark has promised to cut MSP premiums – after doubling them – we would eliminate MSP fees, the most unfair tax British Columbians pay.

We also have plans to offer a $400 annual rebate for renters, and our plan to build 114,000 units of affordable housing would benefit families all across BC. That would also be part of our plan to create 96,000 jobs in building BC.

For northerners who like to travel to the coast, we are going to get rising BC Ferry fares under control and freeze Hydro rates, which is important for northerners.

Liberal Candidate Mike Morris:

Our province already enjoys one of the lowest overall tax burdens in Canada. Personal income tax has been reduced by 37% since we formed government. Because of BC’s fiscal stability, government was able to provide a billion-dollar tax cut by reducing the MSP premiums by 50% commencing January 2018. Government also recently announced the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program where first time home buyers are able to access a
repayable down payment loan up to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price of the house. In addition, first time home buyers may also qualify for a reduced or fully eliminated property transfer tax. Our focus going forward will be to ensure BC has an abundance of well-paying jobs for British Columbians and training opportunities for those seeking higher paying jobs.

Question #8:

Resource development has been critical to the Northern Economy. What is your stand on supporting further development?

Prince George-Valemount:

Liberal Candidate Shirley Bond:

I believe strongly that sustainable resource development is critical to Northern BC and the entire province. Natural resource development done in an environmentally responsible way creates jobs and grows the economy. It is not a matter of looking at either the economy or the environment, it is a matter of how we consider both. British Columbia has demonstrated that you can grow the resource sector and not diminish our robust environmental standards.
We will continue to stand up for forest dependent communities as Canada negotiates a new Softwood Lumber Agreement. We will promote the use of wood and advanced manufacturing while continuing to target expansion of the mining industry in the province.
Our Rural Economic Development Strategy recognizes that rural communities are the backbone of our economy and identifies key areas for action including increased capacity so that we can attract new investment and take advantage of opportunities in rural and northern communities.

NDP Candidate Natalie Fletcher:

Christy Clark’s record on resource economy doesn’t meet with her rhetoric. Under the Liberals 30,000 forestry jobs have vanished. And despite promising eight new mines before 2017, six mines have closed or been suspended since the 2013 election. And people who hear Ms. Clark talk about jobs should remember three letters: LNG. She said there would be 100,000 LNG jobs. None of those jobs have materialized.

And while she was preoccupied with LNG, other industries couldn’t get her attention. So while she’s been asleep at the switch, 1,300 mining jobs were lost in those six mines.

Our platform supports mining. We will properly resource the approvals process to make sure approvals get done in a timely manner.  We also plan to have a mining jobs task force and expand the role of the BC Geological Survey use better data to inform land-use planning, to get the best out of our resource.

This is in addition to our aggressive plan to bring back the 30,000 jobs lost under the Liberals in the forest industry by requiring public buildings to be built with wood and incenting builders to use wood more and more efficiently in their projects.

And we are going to support agriculture, an industry that predates our province, by requiring public facilities that serve food to buy food from BC (which has the added benefits of reducing carbon emissions on food procurement and of being way healthier for the schools, hospitals and other facilities that serve meals).

Prince George-Mackenzie:

Green Candidate Hilary Crowley:

Resource development must be done responsibly, always looking to the future and ensuring that future generations will also be able to enjoy the wealth of our natural resources. We will continue to rely on resource development but we must also diversify our economy to enable small communities to be resilient.

NDP Candidate Bobby Deepak:

When Christy Clark ran in 2013, she promised eight new mines before 2017. What did she deliver? Well, six mines closed or suspended operations in that time, resulting in the loss of 1,300 jobs.

She also promised 100,000 jobs in LNG, bringing in a trillion dollars in revenue. What has she delivered? Exactly one job in LNG – and that was for Gordon Wilson, who got a $150,000/year job to travel around and promote an industry he criticized in 2013.

In fact, it’s her preoccupation with LNG that has been most damaging to other resource industries, who didn’t get the attention they deserved.

A New Democrat government would support mining, with improved, properly resourced approvals process, a mining jobs task force to work with the industry and communities to make jobs secure, and expand the role of the BC Geological Survey use better data to inform land-use planning, to get the best out of our resource.

And we’d continue the mining flow-through tax credit and the mineral exploration tax credit, and will remove PST from electricity used in mining, all to encourage long-term investment in mining.

This is all in addition to the forestry plan that will encourage more building with wood and reduce the loss of jobs due to raw log exports.

Liberal Candidate Mike Morris:

BC is blessed with a variety of natural resources.
The world cannot operate without the minerals, natural gas and the abundance of light crude oil in the North East part of BC and across our great province.
Electricity from WAC Bennet/Peace Canyon dams supplied to Greater Vancouver and throughout the province travels through thousands of kilometers of copper wire (Mount Milligan/Highland Valley Copper) supported by thousands of steel towers (metallurgic coal from Tumbler Ridge). Natural gas used to heat the majority of urban BC homes travels from North East BC and across the province in steel pipes (there ’s that metallurgic coal again), water from the reservoirs in all our major cities and communities flows to homes and businesses through polypropylene pipe (polypropylene is manufactured from liquids from natural gas). I was recently told a typical cell phone contains 62 elements.
Do I support resource development – you bet! We have the opportunity to develop the most up-to-date modern resource extraction and manufacturing facilities in the world.
250News will publish  the  response to the final question on Monday May 8th.


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