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North Okanagan-Shuswap: Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
October 15, 2015 - 3:02 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: Go ahead, move along, not much to see here, folks. If you're thinking of voting Liberal, Cindy Derkaz is happy to give you links and quote the platform like it's scripture. We're probably overly generous in counting two of her answers as 'real,' and in her own words. She has very little to add in helping you decide.

1. The number one concern I hear from voters is:

The weak economy. We need local jobs so that people do not have to leave town to find work.
Liberals will grow the economy and create jobs by smart investment in infrastructure, including social and green infrastructure. Every dollar spent on public infrastructure grows and makes our economy more competitive, while also creating jobs, strengthening our cities and communities.
Social infrastructure spending priorities include investment in affordable housing and seniors facilities, early learning and child care and cultural or recreational facilities. Funds will provide provinces, territories and municipalities with long term predictability in funding.
(Please read the full plan at:

OUR TAKE: Sounds a lot like the candidate is doing most of the talking/selling with local constituents and not a lot of listening. That she included links to the party platform makes this pretty simple. PUPPET

2. As a MP, what could you do to ensure zebra/quagga mussels stay out of BC water systems?

Recently, Interior Chambers of Commerce passed a resolution calling on the provincial and federal governments to take greater action to prevent zebra and quagga mussels from entering BC lakes and waterways, including establishing inspection and prevention efforts focussed at the entry points into BC.
I support this resolution. A Liberal government will work with the provinces and our American partners to prevent the spread of invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels. As MP, I will ensure this issue receives attention in Ottawa.
In addition, we will also undertake science-based initiatives to better understand and manage invasive species, water levels and clean-up of contamination. We will restore $1.5 million in federal funding for freshwater research and make new investments in Canada’s world-leading Experimental Lakes Area.

OUR TAKE: The candidate seems to understand the issue and some of the ways to combat it, while managing to avoid over-touting her party and bashing rivals. REAL

3. Do you personally believe in criminal penalties for recreational marijuana use?

No. Criminal penalties profoundly affect a person’s life including the ability to find employment and travel. The criminalization of recreational marijuana use has resulted in organized crime and gang activity right here in the North Okanagan Shuswap. I support the legalization, regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana as has been done in some American states. It would be a regulated product like alcohol and not available to minors.

OUR TAKE: Clearly stated answer and a personal opinion. REAL

4. Name one example of an issue you disagree with your party on. How would you reconcile that disagreement?

This was the hardest question to answer. I am very excited about the Liberal platform for Real Change including the sweeping changes to restore our democracy; e.g. making every vote count; unmuzzling scientists; bringing back the long form census; reforming the senate; and much more (see: A Fair and Open Government ).
However one commitment which may be difficult to fulfill is that a Liberal Cabinet will have an equal number of women and men. I believe that it is important that person best skilled for a cabinet position be named and that while gender balance is a good goal, it may not always be possible.
Mr. Trudeau is a leader, not a boss. He is inclusive and collaborative. When we talk, he listens and we discuss concerns – that is how I would deal with any disagreement I may have in the future.

OUR TAKE: Oh, come on now. Can we go ahead and presume the Kool-Aid is red? PUPPET

5. Do you believe that 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?

Canadians with mental health issues have not had the support and services they need from the Harper Conservative government. In fact it has been over a decade since a Prime Minister sat down with the provinces to discuss health care. We will change that.
A Liberal government will increase the availability of high-quality mental health services for Canadians. This includes implementing an integrated approach to ensure access to acute services, tertiary care referrals, housing, primary care, and community and multidisciplinary team management. We will establish a pan-Canadian Expert Advisory Council on Mental Health, particularly to advise on the implementation of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s recommendations. We will create new centres of excellence that will specialize in mental health, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and related issues for both veterans and first responders.

OUR TAKE: The question could have been taken several ways, but the candidate chose the opportunity to bash a rival and tout her party's playbook. Nothing real here. PUPPET

6. Do you believe that the federal government is doing enough to help veterans? What can it do better?

No, the federal government is not doing enough to help veterans.
For a decade the Harper government has not been truthful to, or respectful of, our veterans. Over the past year I have talked to many veterans in North Okanagan Shuswap who are having trouble getting services. The Conservatives have laid off hundreds of frontline support workers and closed nine local service offices. The Auditor General has criticized the support system for veterans as “complex and time-consuming”. Veterans who need crucial mental health services are waiting months, even years, to get help. And the $2B budget surplus for 2014-15 fiscal year was achieved, in part, by not spending $1B budgeted for veterans services.
Veterans deserve better.
A Liberal government will:

  • re-establish lifelong pensions for injured veterans;
  • invest $25 million to expand access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance;
  • invest $40 million to increase Earnings Loss benefit to 90% of pre-release salary;
  • provide better education and training opportunities for veterans;
  • provide enhanced support for veterans’ families;
  • provide better services, including re-opening the nine closed offices; hiring 400 new service delivery staff including much-needed case workers;
  • create 2 centres of excellence in veterans’ care including one which will specialize in mental health, PTSD and related issues for both veterans and first responders.

(For more details see ).
The Liberal Platform is fully costed: please see

OUR TAKE: Right. Liberal platform this, Liberal platform that.... What do we need a candidate for? PUPPET

7. Do you believe a minority government can be effective?

Yes, Canada has had some very effective minority governments. The most recent example of an effective minority government is the Paul Martin government from 2003 to 2006.
That government produced some very strong legislation for Canadians including the National Child Care agreements in 2005 obtained by Social Development Minister Ken Dryden. All provinces signed early-learning and child care deals and money was budgeted and committed to flow to the provinces (and there was a $13B budget surplus).
The Martin minority government also produced the Kelowna Accord.
When Jack Layton’s NDP joined with Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to defeat the Martin government, they killed these initiatives.

OUR TAKE: Ooooh... so close. We really wanted to give credit for this one, but your red cape got in the way. PUPPET

Bonus: 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.

It is a sad comment on the current government that this question needs to be posed.

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