Chilliwack, BC – The Chilliwack Coast Hotel was the site for Thursday’s last great debate with all six candidates in the Chilliwack-Hope Federal Riding. Sponsored by the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, the event didn’t create fireworks, but there was a slightly strange ending.
While the usual Chamber business people filled the main auditorium, combined with the usual party supporters, it was the crowd of Grade 7 Students from Timothy Christian School who observed from the back of the room. They were not only patient and tuned in…they were watching…listening.
They are the future.
But the luncheon was the highlight for the six candidates. Their last great parade before the October 19 count.
On the question of what are the Priorities for Chilliwack-Hope:
Thomas Cheney of the Green Party, who is ironically looking for work, said that the Valley must have better transit connections to Metro Vancouver for job seekers.
The NDP’s Seonaigh MacPherson stressed that Child Care must be addressed and that Kids and Seniors feel disenfranchised. That has to be rectified.
Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell of the Marxist-Leninist Party stayed away from blaming the media on all political woes (as she did at least weeks gab fest at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre). She says Chilliwack’s priorities are simply Stop Harper and invoke Democratic Renewal.
Liberals Louis De Jaeger says the riding has no relationship with incumbent MP Mark Strahl. No relationship with First Nations and no connection with Ottawa.
MP Conservative Mark Strahl stated that protecting the economy was job number one. He acknowledged small business tax concerns and pretty much stuck to the party platform.
Liberatiran Alexander Johnson simply blurted out that the people have no voice, but really didn’t elaborate.
On the question of missing women, Highway Of Tears and the inquiries:
Strahl – We need more action and not more commissions.
De Jaeger – There is a generational problem that must be addressed and that the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) recommendations ALL be adopted.
MacPherson – Implement all the TRC rulings. She was upset that the niqab became an election issue. There should be more spotlight shone on domestic violence.
On the question of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership):
Cheney – Was skeptical of free trade in general for those programs are for corporations and not the betterment of the country.
Johnson – It’s not free trade, it’s all about control.
Strahl – Obviously towing party line – 800 million potential customers, $28 trillion dollars of economy waiting to be tapped.open market access that will protect farmers in the end.
MacPherson – Too early to say if the TPP is a good thing. small farms may take big hits and she expressed concerns for Eco-tourism. However, the NDP is “not adverse to trade deals”. But questions who would buy New Zealand Butter here in the Fraser Valley for all of BC for that matter.
O’Donnell says the TPP will merely set up the country for international fines for infringing on rules. Canada could be sued in international court for breaking the TPP rules for many reasons.
De Jaeger says the Liberals are pro-trade but the complete details of the TPP should have been made available during the election campaign. The cost of pharmaceuticals for Seniors will rise under the new deal.
The afternoon ended on a strange note as Cheney “excused” himself from the debate, over , what seemed to be, a conflict with the questioning over national security, Syria, ISIS and troops overseas. That left the audience, let alone the media peanut galley (including myself), confused as to his reasoning.