October 15, 2015 - 3:05 PM
We don’t endorse any single candidate. Our comments on these answers are an assessment of whether the candidate gave a candid answer as we asked for (REAL) or relied on party platforms, leadership or attacks on rivals for their answers (PUPPET).
To understand this post, please read this first.
OUR TAKE: While Dan Albas has been quite capable of representing the riding in the past, here he shows he bleeds Tory Blue. By offering nothing substantial about his own values in favour of Conservative talking points in five of seven questions, he won’t help you decide how to vote. If you have Conservatives in mind, go straight to the Conservative's platform.
1. The number one concern I hear from voters is:
Central-Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola is a very large and diverse riding and that is also reflective of what I am hearing from citizens in different communities to the extent it would not be fair to boil it down to a singular topic. In some areas the potential for a National Park is one I hear about often and in other areas topics can range from support for a highway by-pass to concerns over bio-solids. Resource communities are particularly concerned over the impacts of taxation increases if there is a change of government and how that might lead to job losses. In many communities I hear from seniors who support income splitting and are worried if other parties refuse to support income splitting for families will they continue to support it for seniors? Ultimately I think the fact that so many citizens are engaged and asking questions and sharing their concerns is a positive and I hope people take the time to look at the different platforms and get out and vote on October 19th.
OUR TAKE: Too many Conservative party buzzwords and platforms. PUPPET
2. As an MP, what could you do to ensure zebra/quagga mussels stay out of B.C. water systems?
I have worked with the Okanagan Basin Water Board and my Conservative colleague Ron Cannan to take action on this importance concern in Ottawa. The new Federal AIS (Invasive Species Regulations) were in fact introduced here in Kelowna and further action in Ottawa was taken to expedite the coming into force date has created protections at Federal border crossings that are now in place. These are important steps however we must also work with the Provincial Government at the B.C.-Alberta border crossings as well as to support vessel inspection stations. I am also open to exploring fines and other actions against boat owners who do not take measures to properly de-contaminate infested boats. In my view part of responsible boat ownership means protecting our freshwater lakes against invasive species that would threaten them.
OUR TAKE: The Canada-U.S. border is but one problem. Understanding the issue of provincial borders is another. Candidate seems to have a grasp on local issues. Though the candidate hasn't explored what he could do individually or as an opposition MP, he's already worked on the file. REAL
3. Do you personally believe in criminal penalties for recreational marijuana use?
In my time as a Member of Parliament I have not come across a situation where a recreational marijuana user has faced criminal charges for recreational marijuana use. What I have come across is drug dealers and those possessing large amounts of marijuana facing criminal action that may result in fines or a suspended sentence. In fact recently a citizen with a 60 plant illegal marijuana grow operation was given a fine with a suspended sentence and community service hours. I believe our current approach allows RCMP officers discretion with respect to enforcement in addition crown counsel also has discretion with respect to charges going forward and judges ultimately serve as the final measure to determine the outcome of situation involving marijuana. I believe there is enough discretion in our current system that provides flexibility to determine those who are recreational marijuana users as opposed to those who are criminals illegally profiting from the drug trade.
OUR TAKE: The candidate has entirely avoided the question. PUPPET
4. Name one example of an issue you disagree with your party on. How would you reconcile that disagreement?
Our Prime Minister made a commitment that if our Conservative Party was elected to Government we would not revisit that debate regarding the termination of a pregnancy. While I have my own personal thoughts and concerns on this subject, ultimately I believe in accountability and the importance of elected officials keeping commitments made to citizens like I have and will continue to vote against private members motions and or bills that in my view would be contrary to this commitment from our Prime Minister.
OUR TAKE: This is about as political an answer as you can get; We have to decipher his indiscernable answer to the question. PUPPET
5. Do you believe the federal government is doing enough to deal with mental health in our communities, in our courts and in our prisons? What can it do better?
I fully support efforts that all levels of Government including Federal can undertake to help those who suffer from mental health related challenges. This is an important concern in our society and one that we all need to increase our knowledge and understanding about so we can work towards finding solutions.
OUR TAKE: Pretty simple question with no answer. PUPPET
6. Do you believe the federal government is doing enough to help veterans? What can it do better?
Shortly before the former Liberal Government left office they created and passed a bill known as the New Veterans Charter. This is not a finger pointing exercise as the New Veterans Charter was also supported by both the NDP and Conservative MPs in the House of Commons at that time. Unfortunately as we now know the New Veterans Charter has proven to have had many short comings and gaps that needed to be filled. For the past four years our Government has been working aggressively to fill those gaps and based on the comments I have heard from veterans I have met with, progress is being made. What can be done better? The process still needs to be simplified and better communicated to veterans. In some cases veterans may not be aware of what benefits they are entitled to receive and in other cases the process to access those benefits may not be as easy or as timely as it needs to be. I will say that I am extremely encouraged at the work that Veterans Minister O’Toole has undertaken to improve communications and help speed up and simplify the process. I believe all Canadians support that regardless of party politics.
OUR TAKE: Despite the obvious attempt to pat his government on the back, we'll give it to him for the answer. REAL
7. Do you believe a minority government can be effective?
This is an excellent question. For example citizens may recall during the minority Government years both the Liberals and NDP consistently demanded increased spending as a condition of supporting the minority Government budget to pass. The Liberals would then oppose the budget but would not send enough Liberal MPs into the House of Commons to vote against the budget so it would pass and then later Liberals could complain it was a deficit budget. Keep in mind this was back when Liberals opposed and criticized deficit budgets before they decided deficit budgets are now a good thing and promise to deliver more of them. Was that effective? That will be up for Canadians to decide on October 19th.
OUR TAKE: Standard deflection without giving any kind of answer. PUPPET
BONUS QUESTION Will you declare your support for increasing openness and transparency in government and commit to interviews by the news media once elected? Yes or No.
Absolutely yes. Over the past four years I have served as the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla I participated in countless interviews with local, provincial and national media. I also write a weekly MP report I send to all media contacts and have been recognized as one of the top ten Members of Parliament for engaging in social media. If re-elected I will continue all of these activities including personally returning citizens phone calls on a timely basis.
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