Chilliwack, BC – It was close to a packed house at the HUB International Theatre in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre (capacity 600) for the All Candidates Meeting. All six Federal Candidates were there. That was special as MP Mark Strahl has been a no show to most of these debates. In fact, most Conservatives nation wide have been told to lay low for the bulk of of these gab fests.
This was the one that was marked on the calendars of many, both average voter and media. It was sponsored by the Chilliwack Arts Council and the Cultural Centre and outside of next week’s Chilliwack Chamber debate, it is really the final time all the candidates come together for a bear pit session prior to the October 19th vote.
By the way, if you are following the candidates on Twitter, everyone has been asked to use the hashtag #Chilliwackvotes2015.
Here are the main points of the candidates:
Thomas Cheney (Green Party) While he was not the greatest public speaker, his knowledge of economics and the environment was astounding.
Cheney debunked the economic good news of the recently announced TPP Trans Pacific Partnership, saying the Liberals and Conservatives are not revealing the entire story (many details have yet to be revealed.) He quoted Ronald Regan “Government is good when used properly”. He also stressed that housing concerns have not been addressed by the other major parties as well as recycling. Cradle to Cradle recycling is important.
Liberal Louis De Jaeger , like incumbent MP Mark Strahl held himself as “Parliamentary”. Small business is a keystone in his vision (he is a restaurateur) and knows how to relate and communicate with voters, no different than his customers and other businessmen that he deals with as a member of many business oriented boards including the BIA. Learn to Compromise, think big, create jobs especially through local infrastructure and protect the ALR and First Nations (He is Metis).
He also took a swipe at Canada’s military response in Syria and selling arms to Saudi Arabia. “We need to get back to the philosophy of Lester Pearson and be the peacekeepers we were in the past.” Veterans must be better protected and cared for.
One of the most passionate retorts was a personal blast at Mark Strahl for being a no-show at debates and all candidates meetings.
Alexander Johnson (Libertarian) came off as the angry young man who was dressed not as a politician wanna-be, more like a high school kid who just got out of gym class. He called the Federal Election a mere popularity contest, ignoring the fact that he too, is running for office. He wants a 15% flat income tax with an end to corporate welfare. He confused many in the audience when he pontificated the decriminalization of pot… and alcohol.
He wanted a complete end to foreign aid, have less government and all private health care.
The NDP’s Seonaigh MacPherson at times, seemed to be spouting a love fest for both NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and the Late Jack Layton. The homeless and disenfranchised should have the right to vote in elections and efforts should be made to get them on the voters lists. Climate Change and affordable Child Care are the standard Orange party fare, but she did lose the crowd somewhat when she expounded that Quebec’s voice should not be ignored.
She does not want to see Canada meddling in “Countries that we do not understand” and block arms deals to foreigners (referring to the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia).
The shiny point of the stick was emphasizing that students should have increased access to grants and in fact, more grants for tuition should be made available.
Also, interest on student loans should be forgiven AFTER students graduate.
Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell (Marxist-Lenninist) was not particularly loving of media, accusing the media is ignoring small parties and independent candidates. She is a proponent of Art and Culture, and when into a detailed diatribe on how the political process is broken. She pointed to the 1988 Free Trade Agreement that many Canadians were not fond of, yet the Mulroney Government rammed it through then was re-elected. She took her shots at thr money spent by the Conservatives in their election campaign. “Fund the process, not the parties”.
She also spent time stating that the Canadian Constitution should be trashed a replaced with a new one, noting that First Nations and Quebec have historic rights. The Quebec issue really didn’t garner too much sympathy with the crowd.
She wants an anti-war government and bring all the troops home. We don’t belong in other countries issues (a point including dealing with ISIS which did not set well with Mark Strahl.
MP Mark Strahl – Conservatives. He kept close to the Conservative mantra that the Tories will continue to fight terrorism abroad, lowering taxes, providing more health care funding nd reminding everyone about his long time local roots. He emphasized his list of accomplishments including the new Vedder Bridge, The new RCMP Training Centre at Canada Education Park and the new School of Agriculture at UFV.
His party would continue their crime crackdown and applauded the TPP. “His part will continue to bring common sense of the common People to the House of Commons.”
To no one’s surprise, the other five candidates ganged up on Strahl over the TPP as a bad deal for Dairy Farmers and the Auto Industry.
The final all candidates meeting is October 15 sponsored by the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce at the Coast Chilliwack Hotel.