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 it appears Bill Sundhu actually wrote his own answers — rare for the NDP in this questionnaire — this is definitely a party candidate. He's a party puppet on five of seven questions, and we're probably being generous here. Will he represent your concerns to the party or party concerns to you? Who knows? If you're inclined to vote NDP, your vote is for Tom Mulcair.
1. The number one concern I hear from voters is:
The lack of good jobs and fair economy. After a decade of Stephen Harper, finding a good, secure job has become a challenge for Canadians of all ages. People are having a harder time making ends meet. The Conservatives have favoured Canada’s wealthiest while the middle class, seniors, youth and immigrants are being left behind. Families and middle class are working harder and not getting ahead. Income inequality is growing and the social safety net is being eroded.
OUR TAKE: Pretty simple question. We didn't ask for a diatribe about Stephen Harper. PUPPET
2. As an MP, what could you do to ensure zebra/quagga mussels stay out of B.C. water systems?
Sustainable development is the long term solution; Stephen Harper has gutted environmental laws, cut research and prevention programs and muzzled scientists. We must restore the integrity of science, research and ensure stable funding to address problems of invasive species.
OUR TAKE: Sustainable development? Muzzled scientists? What exactly are you talking about? PUPPET
3. Do you personally believe in criminal penalties for recreational marijuana use?
OUR TAKE: All righty. REAL
4. Name one example of an issue you disagree with your party on. How would you reconcile that disagreement?
There are party programs that will be explained and revealed further as the campaign unfolds. As MP, I would ensure that I am well-prepared, actively involved and heard in Ottawa so as to bring an informed voice to policy development as concerns and issues may arise. I will be guided by evidence-based policy and law development, combined with principles of human rights and fairness.
OUR TAKE: That is precisely zero examples of issues you disagree with your party on. And we still don't know what you're talking about. 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?
No, I do not. The Harper Conservatives have resorted to a punitive and inadequate approach to mental health issues in our communities, courts and prisons. It is estimated that 30% of incarcerated persons suffer from mental illness.
The federal government needs to work with provincial governments to support programs and services to treat mental health in our communities. Federal budget slashes to health transfers, started under the Liberal governments of Chretien and Martin have become more severe under Stephen Harper. These cuts have forced provinces to cut mental health services in our communities putting added pressure on our courts and penal system.
As a first step, an NDP government will stop the unilateral cuts in health transfers imposed by Stephen Harper ($36B over 10 years). We will sit down with the provinces to support provincial governments in health initiatives. Tom Mulcair recently announced a national program and funding of a mental health program aimed at the one million Canadian youths that are unable to access proper mental health services.
OUR TAKE: OK, we get it: NDP good, everyone else bad. But at least the candidate seems to understand the issue. REAL
6. Do you believe the federal government is doing enough to help veterans? What can it do better?
The Conservatives cut more than 900 jobs from Veterans Affairs since 2009, that’s 23 percent of the workforce. At the same time, Stephen Harper cut back disability benefits from Veterans pensions. A total of $1.13 Billion of the Veterans Affairs budget that was supposed to assist Veterans went unspent. The Harper government awarded bonuses to bureaucrats for holding monies back from Veterans. Veterans have fought back but PM Harper has spent $750,000 to fight Veterans in court.
Tom Mulcair will re-open Veterans offices closed by the Conservatives so that Veterans can access vital services for themselves and their families. An NDP government will fix the Veterans Review and Appeal Board to ensure all Veterans are treated with equality and respect and have access to the health care and vital supports they need.
An NDP government will support Canadian veterans and their families with a $454 million investment over four years to provide better treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress and mental health issues; enhance long-term care and expand the Veterans Independence Program; as well as increase survivors’ pensions and ensure funding is in place to support dignified funerals for veterans through the Last Post Program.
OUR TAKE: We were generous with the last question. This one's straight out of the NDP platform. PUPPET
7. Do you believe a minority government can be effective?
We’re in this election to form a majority government. Tom Mulcair has said he will work with any Party for the betterment of all Canadians.
OUR TAKE: That's exactly what we expected candidates 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.
Yes. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have taken lack of openness, secretiveness, and lack of transparency to unprecedented levels that are not in conformity with a modern and open democracy. This must be reversed. Canadians deserve better, much better.