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South Okanagan-West Kootenay: Liberal candidate Connie Denesiuk

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.

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OUR TAKE: Connie Denesiuk is more closely tied to her party than our score indicates. We found all but two were real answers to local questions, and the candidate does seem to understand local issues and the important role she is running for; just don't expect her to question her own party. If you are thinking of voting for the Liberals, Denesiuk is a real enough person that you can feel confident in local representation.

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

“Where are the jobs, especially for young people?” and “What will you do about the environment” are the 2 equally important questions I have heard the most.
The Liberal plan outlines new measures to deal with both. Our infrastructure investment plan will create jobs and work towards green initiatives for energy and wastewater technology. We will introduce a Youth Employment Strategy that will provide 40,000 new jobs each year for the next 3 years. Our youth unemployment rate is 13.1% and requires attention - and that is why our plans begin immediately! Our skills training plan involves collaboration with the provinces and territories. And a major goal of the Liberal plan is the re-building of environmental regulations and research capacities which have been destroyed by the Conservatives under Stephen Harper. 

OUR TAKE: This sounds more like the candidate putting forth the agenda, not taking feedback from local constituents. Along with a helping of hyperbole about a rival. PUPPET

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

Our riding contains numerous lakes, rivers and watersheds which must be protected from the spreading phenomenon of quagga and zebra mussels. Quagga mussels, a smaller species similar to the zebra mussel, adversely affect ecosystems, drinking water quality, watersheds and fish stocks. The Liberal platform includes a pledge to restore funding for freshwater research that was cancelled by the Conservatives. The federal government can also help by ensuring that 1) adequate resources are available to enforce regulations, 2) the Province is consulted to determine what additional action is needed from the federal government, and 3) the federal government assists existing joint actions between Canada and the USA to prevent the spread of the mussels. There are organizations and groups in the riding that are making positive strides on this, and I would meet with them to ensure a coordinated, consistent approach.

OUR TAKE: The candidate showed some restraint in her attack while showing an understanding of the issue and local needs, rather than relying on the national platform of the party. REAL

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

I do not personally believe in criminal penalties for recreational marijuana use. A Liberal government will legalize and tax marijuana, enabling the RCMP to direct their efforts and resources towards dealing with organized crime and its associated activities such as fraud, money laundering and gang violence.  As a successful example of this action, the experience in the State of Colorado has been that property crime, theft and motor vehicle deaths have actually decreased following the legalization of marijuana.

OUR TAKE: A well balanced, real and complete personal answer that happens to coincide her party's platform. REAL

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

There is really no issue with which I disagree. I am comfortable with the Liberal platform because it reflects my values and priorities. The development of our platform involved collaboration with party members over the past several months, and I appreciate that everyone had a chance to add input on the issues. Liberal MPs will have free votes on most issues. There will be dissent, but I’ve learned as a Board member that varying views are an important  part of arriving at the best solutions to large and complex problems. It’s not all about “the leader” in the Liberal party, as it is with some others. That being said, if there is a time when I disagree with my party - as I reflect the priorities and perspectives of my constituents - I will not hesitate to clearly state my disagreement.

OUR TAKE: The Liberal platform has literally hundreds of points. You can't find one to disagree with? Most religions are rarely so devout. 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 federal government is not doing enough to deal with mental health issues in communities, the court system, or in prisons. Communities need help with homelessness, including homelessness resulting from mental illness. Prisons should not serve as “holding facilities” for those who find themselves in trouble due to untreated mental illness.
A Liberal Government will make high-quality mental health services more available to Canadians who need them, including our veterans and first responders. When Canadians are in good physical and mental health, they function better in all situations, are more productive at work and contribute more fully to our economy while leading healthier, happier lives.
Canada’s universal health care system is a source of pride for Canadians and a pillar of economic security for the middle class and those working hard to join it. A Liberal government will sit down with provincial and territorial Premiers to strengthen the program and ensure that it meets current needs and the challenges that accompany an aging population. We’ll restart that important conversation that’s been absent during the Harper decade. With the provinces and territories we’ll negotiate a new Health Accord, including a long-term funding agreement.

OUR TAKE: The candidate seems to understand the issue, responded in her own words and largely looked forward to solutions instead of pointing out mistakes in the past. REAL

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

A Liberal government will do more to support veterans and their families.
1. We will give veterans more compensation, more choice and more support in planning their financial future.
2. We will make it easier for veterans to access services, including mental health services. New career opportunities for our veterans will be provided via a new Veterans Education Benefit.
3.  We’ll provide better education, counseling and training for the families of veterans who live with physical or mental health issues resulting from their service.  And we also pledge to end the time limit for surviving spouses to apply for vocational rehabilitation and assistance services.
4.  We will re-open veterans offices that were closed under the Harper Conservatives.

OUR TAKE: We'd prefer something more personal, but at least the answer is in her own words and avoids rival bashing. REAL

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

Yes. Canada has actually experienced thirteen minority governments. One of the most successful was a Liberal minority government, elected in 1963 and led by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. It was a positive working relationship between the Liberal and New Democratic parties that produced Canada’s health care system, the Canada Pension Plan, and the Canadian flag. A 1965 election produced a similar, productive, three year alliance between the elected Liberal minority government and the NDP. As a school trustee I am experienced at bringing people together to achieve a common goal. If I am elected to a parliament that turns out to have a minority government, I would do my utmost to make that cooperative atmosphere flourish. That being said, a red surge is happening across our country as Canadians take a close look at our platform. A Liberal majority is within reach as undecided voters choose the sensible plan for real change.

OUR TAKE: Heavy on the Liberal propaganda but nice to see a little personality in there as well. We'll give it to her. REAL

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.

Yes to both questions. As one who has held elected office as a school trustee I have always supported openness and transparency. And note that Justin Trudeau does not avoid debates or questions from the media, unlike Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Harper.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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