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On October 21, 2019, Canadians will head to the polls for the 43rd Federal Election. Those in Merritt and throughout the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola will have five candidates vying for their vote.

The incumbent is Conservative Dan Albas, and he’ll be challenged by the Liberal’s Mary Ann Murphy, Green candidate Robert Mellalieu, the NDP’s Joan Phillip and Allan Duncan from the People’s Party of Canada.

In the lead up to voting day, Q101 will be posting ‘COSN Votes’ articles with each candidate’s thoughts on issues facing Merritt, British Columbia, and Canada.

This week the candidates shared their thoughts on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

*Candidates are listed in alphabetic order

*All candidates were asked the same questions

*For full policy information visit their websites

Dan Albas, Conservative Party of Canada (Incumbent)

“We believe in responsible resource development. We also know that even though the oil sands in Alberta stand to benefit, every province and territory receives work from that and there are taxes that benefit everyone. If we want to see social programs funded, we need to have good things happening here in Canada, and so Trans Mountain is one project.

These things have to go through an environmental assessment, they have to go through proper consultation. We need to see these projects go forward, we want to see them done in private hands, it shouldn’t be up to the taxpayers to pay any shortfalls. We can do responsible resource development, in a way that helps the economy, funds our social programs and helps First Nation communities develop their economy.”  

Allan Duncan, People’s Party of Canada

“We’re for the pipeline, we’re pro-pipeline. We have said in our platform that we would repeal bill C-48 and also repeal bill C-69, the tanker ban. We want to proceed with that pipeline. I think one of the things happening is for sure local interests have been working on it, but I don’t think in Ottawa they’ve been working on getting that pipeline through, it’s kind of been stagnated. There could be a large platoon of lawyers working on it, and I’m not sure that’s happening. 

So, we would approve pipelines, and counter any anti-oil or anti-pipeline propaganda that’s going out there. And find a private buyer for Trans Mountain."

Robert Mellalieu, Green Party of Canada

“It’s sunk money, that $4-billion for buying it and we aren’t going to spend the $14-billion making it. If that $14-billion really exists we’ll put it into wind turbines and solar panels, 21st-century technology is where we’re going to be headed. There will be plenty of jobs in Merritt to build all that stuff. It’s not like getting rid of the pipeline means we get rid of the jobs. We’re going to need way more jobs to attack the climate crisis than we will ever need for building a pipeline.

We don’t want to get rid of any pipelines, we just don’t want to increase pipelines. Eventually, we’ll stop using them, it’s not that we’ll have to stop using them, we’re going to get rid of the need for them. We switch to electric vehicles, electric transportation, mass transportation, there won’t be a need for oil. We will be able to transition completely off oil by 2050.”

Mary Ann Murphy, Liberal Party of Canada

“The Liberal Government was behind purchasing the pipeline and has said to move ahead with all deliberate speed. With respect to the court decision, we’ve been asked to pause again and repeat and improve some of the indigenous consultations that were involved in the last court case. Certainly, it sounds like there are some dividend opinions within your own community.

I think it would have been unfair to presume aboriginal groups would of all been on the same page because we certainly wouldn’t expect that with any other group. This will have to work itself out in the courts. We know that they’re ready to go and that there have been some tremendous developments on the industrial side to make a safer double-twined pipeline and to get that oil to the coast where we would get a fair Canadian price.”

Joan Phillip, NDP

“Yes, the NDP plans to scrap the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. One of the important aspects of this is bands are the collective of a Nation, and it’s the Nation that holds the aboriginal title. It’s the Nation that holds title and not an individual band.

I was the lands manager for the Penticton Indian Band for 20 years, and my responsibility stops at the reserve's border. The moment we step of the reserve I refer the matter to the nation itself.”

Next week the candidates will share their thoughts on the forestry crisis in BC’s interior.

Last week they discussed reconciliation, that article can be found here


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