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: We made sure we asked candidates to respond personally to our questionnaire. What we got from Jacqui Gingras was a smoking gun. The text of the emailed response came in three different colours, black, (NDP) orange and blue. Looks a lot like the candidate at the very least had plenty of help and well beyond simple editing. If you are considering voting NDP, go ahead and check the platform and the website. Jacqui Gingras offers nothing here to instill confidence you have a good local candidate. We scored all but one of her answers as pure party puppet and we can probably take the last one away as well.
1. The number one concern I hear from voters is:
There have been numerous concerns raised during my extensive travels throughout this area, and feedback from my campaign offices. A majority of the expressed concerns could and should have been addressed by the Conservatives, long ago. Several concerns are so numerous and emphatic they could be deemed as shouting. Yet, despite the volume, voters feel they are just talking to air. The NDP is listening, seriously considering, where appropriate keen to act, and most importantly, - resolve.
Probably the greatest shouting relates to health care. Libby Davies, the well-respected outgoing Vancouver East NDP MP for the past 18 years, recently stated “I would say the number one issue is seniors care. And the whole issue of drug coverage.” This is consistent with my discussions throughout the riding and feedback from my offices. The NDP is ahead of the game on this, and related constituent concerns.
The New Democrats have spent the past four years consulting with the public to produce the report Health Care: Now it’s Time. That report, consolidating input and thought from multiple sources, will serve as a guide for a NDP government health-care policy. While direct health care is a provincial, rather than a federally delivered responsibly, Ottawa pays a large share of the costs through transfer payments to the provinces. The NDP is already actioning this highly voiced concern, influencing the provinces, and development of national health care resources.
OUR TAKE: Perhaps we should have sent this question to Libby Davies then? We want to hear from the local candidate about local issues. PUPPET
2. As an MP, what could you do to ensure zebra/quagga mussels stay out of B.C. water systems?
This is related to a major concern, in different forms, across this nation, regarding invasive species, threating our total environment. Specifically, to save our waterways, NDP will restore the Navigable Waters Protection Act, strengthen and reinstate the Environmental Assessment Act. We will reinstate portions of the Fisheries Act the research and enforcement powers that have been stripped away, while and working with the provinces, territories and other levels of government, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, civil society groups, scientists, and concerned Canadians to ensuring our long-term waterways viability of our waterways and keeping out invasive species.
On a more localized level, quality of our waterways is a major concern of hundreds of shore homeowners on both Shuswap and Okanagan Lakes, along with the massive tourist industry. Given the number of boats launched each year in our lakes originating from US and Canadian waterways, the threat presented from mussels and other foreign entities puts at high risk economic viability of a high proportion of local families. Local government, provincial agencies, recreation groups, and provincial and federal governments, must work in a coordinated attack on this risk to our economy. NDP will actively share leadership and direction protecting our valuable resources.
OUR TAKE: The candidate understands gravity and specifics of the local issue. We're giving her this one, though our initial concerns stand. REAL
3. Do you personally believe in criminal penalties for recreational marijuana use?
New Democrats have long said that no one should be going to jail or be stuck with a criminal record for possession of marijuana for personal use. We have pledged to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana immediately. When it comes to marijuana, we need an approach that focuses on health promotion, public education, and safety. It’s been 40 years since the LeDain Commission looked into the non-medical use of drugs and successive Liberal and Conservative governments have done nothing to update the government’s understanding of marijuana use in Canada today.
OUR TAKE: That's a nice little history (and jab at opponents) but we're looking for a personal answer here. PUPPET
4. Name one example of an issue you disagree with your party on. How would you reconcile that disagreement?
My main priority is to represent my constituents. It is their views that are of utmost importance and as their MP, I will insure that I provide diverse means for them to convey those views to me.
OUR TAKE: The candidate completely avoided 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?
The Conservatives have not done enough to deal with mental health in our communities. We need a federal government that is willing to work with the provinces and territories, and will ensure long-term investment that will bring our public health care system into the 21st Century. The economic cost of mental health in Canada is at least $50 billion in lost productivity per year. This is due to the fragmented mental health services available across Canada—resulting in many Canadians not receiving the appropriate treatment.
New Democrats want to make sure Canadians can get the public health care they need, wherever they live, and that cost is never a barrier. We support the Mental Health Strategy of Canada that was prepared by the Mental Health Commission of Canada through wide consultations. The Mental Health Strategy of Canada is a landmark vision that sets strategic directions—strategic directions like the need for leadership and greater collaboration, better promotion of mental health, fostering recovery, ensuring access and reducing disparities to treatment, and working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to address their mental health needs.
Tom Mulcair and the NDP will work with the provinces and territories to improve access to mental health care services for Canadians.
· We will establish a $100 million Mental Health Innovation Fund for Children and Youth to improve care for children and youth. This four-year fund will contribute:
· $15 million annually for healthcare providers and community mental health associations to implement best practices that reduce wait times and provide appropriate care;
· $10 million annually for research and sharing information among healthcare providers across the country.
· Working with the provinces, this Fund will prioritize high-risk populations, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, Canadians in rural and remote communities, and youth transitioning out of foster care.
· We will work with the provinces and territories to better integrate mental health services into primary care, building on the community-based clinic model.
OUR TAKE: Great! Straight from the NDP platform. Why ask a local candidate when we can find it there? PUPPET
6. Do you believe the federal government is doing enough to help veterans? What can it do better?
Veterans shouldn’t have to fight their own government for the benefits they’ve earned. Tom Mulcair and the NDP will re-open offices and treat veterans fairly. Too many veterans are living in poverty or even homelessness.
While the government clawed back disability benefits from veterans receiving pensions, leaving them in poverty, and spent $750,000 to fight the veterans in court, $1.13 billion of the Veterans Affairs budget went unspent.
The Liberals made it harder for families to quality for the Last Post Fund and ensure impoverished veterans receive a dignified burial. TAnd they left the Veterans Affairs file a mess, leading the Conservatives to revamp the Veteran’s Charter. Liberals talk about supporting veterans, but their record shows they just weren’t committed to making life better for veterans.
Tom Mulcair and the NDP will re-open veterans offices closed by the Harper Conservatives and expand health services for all veterans and their families. New Democrats will review, update and improve the New Veterans Charter. It is critical to fix the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, ensure all veterans are treated with equality and respect while having access to the healthcare and vital supports they need.
OUR TAKE: The candidate managed to take swipes at both Conservatives and Liberals while repeating NDP policy and offering nothing unique from a local perspective. PUPPET
7. Do you believe a minority government can be effective?
We are campaigning to win a majority Government, and we're the party best placed to do it. We have finished first in 103 ridings in 2011 and second in 123 ridings, including the North Okanagan-Shuswap. Once we form government, we will bring in electoral reform, so people have a better voting system. Proportional representation is a healthy approach to governing and one that is being used in many different countries worldwide. Many people in this riding are eager to see the voting system change so their votes count. We will make 2015 the last unfair election.
OUR TAKE: That's exactly what we expected party puppets to say. 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.
I believe the media is essential communicating issues, encouraging discussion and forming an active bridge to Ottawa. I appreciate the attention and efforts of media disseminating details and stimulating discussion throughout the region.