Meet Your Candidates: Victoria hopefuls outline the issues facing the riding and nation

Advance voting opens Oct. 11, ahead of the Oct. 21 election

Ahead of 43rd federal election, Victoria News asked your candidates what they believe the biggest issues are facing the Victoria riding and Canada as a nation. Here are their responses.

Richard Caron (Conservative)

Richard Caron

The number one issue for Victoria is affordability. Two-thirds of Canadians feel that they either can’t pay their bills – or feel that they have nothing left over at the end of the month after they do. Almost half of all Canadian households report being less than $200 a month away from insolvency at month’s end. Gasoline. Groceries. Home heating. Real estate. Debt. Everything keeps getting more expensive. Andrew Scheer has a positive vision for Canada’s economy. A Conservative government will live within our means and leave more money in your pocket so you can get ahead.

The Conservatives will:

-Remove the GST off home heating bills and home energy costs.

-Make maternity benefits tax-free.

-Provide a Universal Tax Cut to all hard working taxpayers.

-Make transit passes more affordable by implementing the Green Tax Credit for Public Transit.

– Implement a Children’s Fitness Tax Credit.

-Implement a Children’s Arts and Learning Tax Credit.

-Boost the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

-Cancel $1.5B in corporate welfare and redirect savings to Canadians.

-Help homeowners pay for energy-saving renovations through the Green Homes Tax Credit (GHTC).

A vote for the NDP and the Greens is a vote for the Liberals. Only the Conservatives can defeat Justin Trudeau. We can’t afford another four years.

Laurel Collins (NDP)

Laurel Collins

When I talk to people in our community, they tell me they’re worried. They’re worried about the climate crisis, the high cost of housing, and about what this means for their families. It doesn’t have to be this way. After years of successive Liberal and Conservative governments who work for those at the top, it’s time Canadians had a government that was in it for them.

The NDP has a proven track record of standing up for the issues that matter most. We understand that social inequality and the climate crisis are interconnected and, if we want to address these issues, we have to address them together.

The NDP has a bold plan to tackle the climate crisis by immediately ending fossil fuel subsidies and investing $15 billion to rapidly transition to a low-carbon reality. We’ll build 500,000 new units of affordable housing so that people don’t need to worry about having a roof over their head, and we’ll invest in our healthcare system so people can access the services they count on. This is a bold plan that will truly leave no one behind.

Alyson Culbert (PPC)

Alyson Culbert

I believe the biggest issue facing Victoria is the opioid crisis. It is widely understood that trauma, depression and/or mental health issues lead to opioid use. Opioid use leads to homelessness and crime.

We must follow the proven successes of Portugal and Switzerland in not only decriminalizing but legalizing these drugs. Criminals must not be in control of the supply. Regulating means controlling how and where drugs are used, it destigmatizes individuals and encourages them to seek help.

Currently, police are acting as front line mental health workers. We would not only save tens of thousands on policing but most importantly, we would save lives. Downtown is becoming less safe and our young people are dying at an alarming rate. The status quo is not working.

This isn’t just happening in Victoria. It’s happening in cities across Canada. We have to look at the economic realities of our young adults and ask why are these people losing hope in their future.

They need job security, affordable housing and community if they are to aspire to reach their goals. We don’t need another politician in Ottawa, we need someone who is going to be a true voice for Victoria.

Robert Duncan (Communist Party)

Racelle Kooy (Green Party)

Many of us in Victoria are worried about the high cost of living – from housing, to prescription medicines, to childcare and education. To address affordability, we need progressive, fair social safety protections that support our community.

Racelle Kooy

As Victoria’s Green MP, I will work for:

-Secure, affordable housing by expanding new, rental and co-op stock, and rental assistance while reducing speculation

-Comprehensive health care, including Universal Pharmacare

-Affordable childcare and post-secondary education

-Pension protections

-Guaranteed livable income to provide basic income security for all

In Canada and around the world, incremental action won’t meet the climate challenge. We need uncompromising climate leadership.

Scientists are clear – by 2030, we must reduce emissions by more than half. The Green Party is the only party with a plan to meet that target.

As your Green MP, I will work together with Elizabeth May to hold our government to account on taking real climate action while ensuring a just transition to a clean economy with stable, good-paying jobs.

This is our moment to elect leaders with political courage.

I’m asking for your vote so I can work hard for this community and together, we can face these challenges with bold action.

Nikki Macdonald (Liberal)

Niki Macdonald

Canada’s national and local priorities are similar.

We need to double down on fighting climate change. The UN says we have 10 to 12 years to turn things around. We must get behind the science and treat this like a crisis, because it is. The Liberals have made strides, including through a price on carbon pollution, but more must be done. If re-elected, our government will get Canada to net zero emissions by 2050, including through legally-binding, five-year milestones.

We need to expand oceans protection. This is where I have focused my recent career and big part of what makes Victoria an amazing place to live. The Liberals are already protecting approximately 14 per cent of Canada’s coast and marine areas. This is good for our local economy and environment and I will work to make even more happen.

Finally, we need sustained funding and programming to make housing affordable while addressing the specific housing needs of seniors, people with disabilities, First Nations, and women and children fleeing violence. The Liberals launched a $40 billion National Housing Strategy to improve affordability; I would work with local stakeholders to begin to address Victoria’s needs through this and other programs.

Jordan Reichert (Animal Protection Party of Canada)

Jordan Reichert

The fundamental issues we face locally are climate breakdown, lack of adequate mental health and addictions services, cost of living, and a lack of safe affordable housing.

The fundamental issues we face as a nation are climate breakdown, the destruction of nature, the exploitation of animals, a failing economic structure, lack of respect for Indigenous self-determination, and status-quo politics that will not take these issues seriously enough to address the social and ecological crisis we face.

We need our politics to be about empowering people to create a world we can live in. We need to uproot our economic structure and shake out the dead weight of neo-liberal market-based solutions. The climate crisis we face will not be solved by a system that wants infinite growth in a world of finite resources. We will not house people with the crumbs of a commodified real estate market that sees housing as a place to maximize profit, not as a human right. We certainly will not learn to respect nature and value animals if we continue to subsidize the cruel animal agriculture system.

The Animal Protection Party of Canada will address these issues by giving equal consideration to people, animals, and the environment.

Keith Rosenberg (Veterans Coalition Party of Canada)

Keith Rosenberg

I am running as a candidate in the Victoria riding, which encompasses some financially varied areas. The people that live in my riding run the gamut from being well-established homeowners in secure jobs, to those having to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet, to those who – for one reason or another – are homeless and/or jobless.

I believe that there are two big issues facing my riding right now, and also Canada as a nation, that go hand in hand: excessive taxation and the lack of affordable housing. Canadians are being taxed so excessively that their paycheques dwindle before they can even use the money. People are having to pay out more in taxes each year, whether it’s the carbon tax, sin taxes (dining out, liquor, tobacco, etc.), or additional taxation on their CPP contributions, among others.

Excessive taxes are robbing people blind. Even if there were more affordable housing, many of those in my riding (and nationally) would still be working themselves to the bone just to make ends meet.

David Shebib (Independent)

David Shebib

The elections are a complete fraud. There all no all-candidates meetings, it’s a joke, a cruel joke, and how dare these ridiculous politicians try to push another illusion over the public and the voters being just a programmed electorate. I’m totally opposed to these elections, I’m totally opposed to these candidates and I don’t honour their process or their rule.

Election day is Oct. 21 with advance polls open Oct. 11 to 14. Find more information on how to vote by clicking on the link below.

READ ALSO: Here’s how to cast your ballot in Greater Victoria

READ MORE: Meet your candidates

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