Election 2019: North Okanagan-Shuswap to be swept up in a wave of blue | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Election 2019: North Okanagan-Shuswap to be swept up in a wave of blue

October 16, 2019 - 4:00 PM

With five days left until it's time to cast your ballot, there's still time for undecided voters to make their minds up.

Nationally the election projection from 338canada.com has the polls saying the Liberal Party is set to take the most seats, it also projects the Conservative Party will take the popular vote beating the Liberal's by just over one per cent.

Here in the North Okanagan-Shuswap, projections for the race aren't nearly as close to the national picture.

Currently, 338canada.com forecasts the Tory's to take 36 per cent of the popular vote, putting the odds of them winning at more than 99 per cent.

If the polls are correct, the race for second place will be far closer. The website has the NDP in second place taking 23 per cent and the Liberals at 21 per cent. The Greens sit in fourth position at 16 per cent.

The 338Canada project is a statistical model of electoral projections based on opinion polls, the electoral history of Canadian provinces and demographic data.

Given that there’s still time to decide, we want to offer you a bit more insight into what these candidates have to offer.

With the issue of illicit drugs and addiction a subject that's never far from any of the communities throughout the region, we asked the prospective candidates this question:

Do you believe further decriminalization of illicit substances would help reduce the number of overdose deaths or reduce the crime related to the drug trade?

Conservative incumbent Mel Arnold

Eliminating overdose deaths and reducing criminal activity related to the illicit drug trade are two serious matters that are connected but need to be dealt with separately.

What I have seen and heard is a need for resources to assist people wanting to recover from addiction at the time they are ready, not hours or days or weeks afterward.

Addiction is what drives demand for the drugs and while the Conservative party has additional proposals yet to be announced in this regard, I can say that our focus is getting people off dangerous drugs and not maintaining a lifetime of addiction.

Criminal activity and illicit drug trafficking are the sources of supply of the drugs implicated in overdose deaths. Conservatives are committed to strengthening and equipping Canada’s law enforcement and border agencies to increase their capacities to fight the import and production of these drugs and likewise confront the criminal networks that are trafficking these drugs in Canada.

A Conservative government will co-fund new anti-gang law enforcement initiatives with provinces and territories and will also establish a federal grant for municipal law enforcement agencies to buy new equipment.

Conservatives are also committed to reforming bail regulations that currently allow even the most notorious gang members to be released to ensure that arrested repeat gang offenders will be held without bail.

Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz

I believe that addiction to drugs is primarily a health problem, not a law enforcement issue. The current approach has not worked. We are seeing shocking numbers of overdose deaths and drug charges are clogging the courts. It is time to look for alternatives. I note that BC Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, has called on the BC government to decriminalize drugs, citing the failure of the current system and the incidents of drug-related crime. In Portugal, drugs were decriminalized in 2011 and drug usage did not increase but overdose deaths dropped significantly.
I would support an initiative to explore decriminalization (not legalization) of illicit drugs.

NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu

Addiction is a problem that needs to be dealt with the same as any medical condition. Society stereotypes people with addictions. Because of this, there is a lack of self-worth for people with addictions and being a criminal for having an addiction doesn’t encourage people to come forward and get help.

Gandhi said,” The measure of a civilization is how it treats it’s weakest members.”

We are failing as a civilization. We need to treat addiction like we do any medical condition and support addicts with whatever they need to treat their condition. The real criminals are those that traffic in and profit from the sale of illegal drugs. I support working with all levels of government and experts to end the criminalization and stigma of drug addiction so that people with addiction can get the help they need without fear of arrest.

Yes, it will help as people will have access to safe substances, Portugal has successfully done this, and the results are very positive. This will definitely reduce overdose deaths and will discourage the illegal drug trade.

Green Party candidate Marc Reinarz

I support the Green Party of Canada calling for drug possession to be decriminalized to deal with the devastating toll of the opioid crisis. The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that between January 2016 and September 2018, an estimated 10,300 Canadians died from an apparent opioid-related overdose.

We must stop treating drug addiction as a criminal issue and start treating it as a health-care issue. This is a national health emergency.

The fentanyl contamination of street drugs means that many of the reported deaths are actually poisonings, not overdoses. Decriminalizing drug possession will ensure that people have access to a safe, screened supply and the medical support they need to combat their addictions.

A Green Party government will boost funding to community-based organizations to test drugs and support drug users. It will also ensure that Naloxone kits are widely available to treat overdoses.
We have to abandon old notions of the ‘war on drugs’ and join the battle that really matters – the fight to save Canadian lives.

People's Party candidate Kyle Delfing

There is no decriminalization in Canada that I am aware of. Without data, it is impossible to decide on the issue.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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