The Candidates Talk: economic diversity and the long gun registry

Welcome back to The Candidates Talk, A special section of the Golden Star during the weeks leading up to the federal election.
In an effort to get to know each candidate and learn about their policies and priorities, the Golden Star will ask each candidate one or two question(s) a week that deal with either a local or federal issue. The questions are written in an email and answered the same way.
If you have a question(s) that you would like answered, please send it/them to me by email, reporter@thegoldenstar.net.
We appreciate your input.
This week’s questions are: How do you plan on helping rural communities in our riding work on economic diversity?
What are your views on the long-gun registry?

  • Mon Apr 18th, 2011 7:00am
  • News

Welcome back to The Candidates Talk, A special section of the Golden Star  during the  weeks leading up to the federal election.

In an effort to get to know each candidate and learn about their policies and priorities, the Golden Star  will ask each candidate one or two question(s) a week that deal with either a local or federal issue. The questions are written in an email and answered the same way.

If you have a question(s) that you would like answered, please send it/them to me by email, reporter@thegoldenstar.net.

We appreciate your input.

This week’s questions  are: How do you plan on helping rural communities in our riding work on economic diversity?

What are your views on the long-gun registry?

David Wilks, Conservative Party

1. Economic Diversity

Building a future of hope and opportunity for our children and grandchildren is what they deserve. The Conservative Party is committed to supporting individual rural regions and their unique challenges and aspirations. CPC policy will ensure the success of traditional industries, and diversify local economies. Our Economic Action Plan helped rural communities diversify by upgrading local sewer and water services. The Conservative Party has a long term commitment to municipalities and regional districts to deliver substantial, predictable revenue from the federal gas tax for investments in local infrastructure. In co-operation with BC, the Build Canada Fund has delivered hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading the Trans Canada Highway.

The Conservative Party provided over $170 million to support diversification and innovation in the forestry sector, and established a $1 billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program. We also provided $44 billion in financial services to Canada-based forestry companies through Export Development Canada, to help increase their long-term competitiveness. We re-established and extended the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit and streamlined regulatory reviews for new mining and energy projects, to create jobs in the mining industry. Conservatives have made investments in broadband, new technologies, and green technologies, helping to diversify local economies.

2.Long gun registry

The Conservative party has strongly and consistently opposed the Liberal’s $2 billion long gun registry. The long-gun needlessly and unfairly targets law-abiding Canadians, but does nothing to reduce crime or strengthen efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Unfortunately, the NDP oppose our efforts to scrap the long gun registry and oppose our efforts to crack down on criminals who use guns. Instead, the NDP insist on heaping penalties on farmers, duck hunters, and law abiding rural Canadians. I will support a majority Conservative government’s legislation to end the long-gun registry once and for all. However, the only way the long gun registry will be abolished is if we get a Conservative majority government. Otherwise, the opposition coalition will vote to keep the long gun registry.

Mark Shmigelsky, NDP

1. Economic Diversity

My platform promotes small business as the key to economic growth  in our riding.

We will shift the small business tax rate from 11 to 9 per cent. We will also move the income corporate tax rate to 2008 levels, which is still well below the American corporate tax rate.

On a more personal level, I want to work with all the stakeholders – everyone from the Chamber of Commerce to various environmental groups- in Golden to further  economic opportunity in your community. I want to work with everyone and anyone to help us get back on track.

We need to look at the question of what Golden needs, and nobody knows better than the people who live in your community.

2.Long gun registry

This issue has been going on for so long. I believe the vote doesn’t belong to me or my party, but to the people in our riding.

I would like to create a small committee of groups both for and against the registry. We would then find a way of distributing the info in a  fair way, and finding an appropriate position our riding wants to take on the issue.

Either you believe in democracy or not, and this, to me, is the most democratic way of going about it.

Betty Aitchison, Liberal Party

1. Economic Diversity

Economic diversity is a huge challenge for any region of this country, and a particular challenge in a riding such as Kootenay Columbia. What people did here 100 years ago to provide for themselves, their families and the communities that they established, is in many cases no longer a way to make a living. In some cases the same is true of what people in Kootenay Columbia did 50 years ago, or 30, and even as recently as 10 years ago.

This, for good and for bad, is a part of evolution and change. And we can dig in our heels and drag our feet and resist this with all our might, though we can be pretty certain just where that will leave us. Or we can face these hard questions with the same pragmatism and the same determination that we have faced challenges in the past, and we can find a way to make this work. And find work for ourselves in the process.

I am no expert on this-I do not pretend to be and cannot possibly become one in the amount of time we need answers to these questions. I do know that experts exist, and that they are among us in the cities and communities of Kootenay Columbia. And I am willing to find both time and resources to bring these people together and listen to what they have to say and suggest on how to create a diverse economic region that has jobs for today, as well as for many tomorrows to come.

2.Long gun registry

Licensed users of licensed long guns have nothing to fear from any Liberal long gun registry. The Liberal Party of Canada is strongly in favour of the responsible and safe use of guns by law-abiding citizens throughout this country. Truth be told, the only people who do have anything to fear from such a registry are the very people whom all Canadians wish to see prevented from possessing long guns.

These are the people who are utilizing these weapons to commit crime, to threaten and to do harm to others.

And research and feedback from groups such as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police tell us that these are policies that they want to see, that they can enforce, to ensure that citizens are safe, and that these policies will be an effective tool in the apprehension of weapons and criminals before crimes and acts of violence are committed.

Bill Green, Green Party

1. Economic Diversity

This is, for me, one of the most important issues in our riding particularly as it pertains to young people and their opportunities for employment and small business opportunities that can provide family-supporting incomes.  There are three foundations for the Green Party platform: Smart Economy, Strong Communities, True Democracy.  The ‘Smart Economy’ is a ‘green’ economy.

The Green Party will shift taxes:  increasing them on activities that are harmful to the environment and provide tax incentives and direct rebates to businesses and individuals investing in the low-carbon economy (e.g. installing solar hot water systems, refitting homes and businesses to conserve energy.)

We will establish a federally-funded Green Venture Capital Fund to support viable small local green business start ups.

We wish to re-establish Canada’s ‘National Dream’ by reinvesting in our national rail systems, realizing the low carbon footprint of rail transport compared to trucks and cars.

We are proposing six Municipal Superfunds of $500 million per year per fund.  This funding will be available to rural (and urban) communities to invest in green community infrastructure like water and waste treatment, cycling and pedestrian routes, building energy efficient affordable housing.

2.Long gun registry

My views on the long gun registry are consistent with those of the Green Party.  Police associations across the country support the long gun registry and assert that it helps them keep law and order and save lives.  We should keep the long gun registry but reduce the paperwork and bureaucratic burden for people in remote areas, aboriginal people, and hunters and marksmen with no criminal history.

We register many things in our lives; registration does not take away any rights, indeed it affirms and protects those rights.  I strongly believe that it is time to get past the long gun registry debate which is being kept alive for partisan political purposes.  We have other significant challenges with respect to gun control that need to be addressed: (i) increased support for efforts to reduce gun smuggling; (ii) prosecute gun smugglers as a gun crime of the highest order rather than a customs violation.

Brent Bush, Independent

1. Economic Diversity

The importance of economic diversification for small rural communities can’t be stressed enough. A tourism based economy is not enough. I fully support Community Futures and the work they do in helping small businesses plan and grow for the future. Keeping small business taxes low also helps. When the Conservative and Liberal Parties whipped their MPs to vote for the HST, they were not helping small business and rural communities.

2.Long gun registry

After campaigning during three federal elections, it is my belief that the constituents of rural Kootenay-Columbia do not support the long gun registry. I too do not support the registry because I believe the program is wasteful and unnecessary. I left the NDP because the Party would not give me a straight answer on this issue. Jack Layton’s position on the long gun registry was not passed by the Party membership at national convention.