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 Forestry Industry.
*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)
“You had Mr. (John) Horgan when he was in opposition come to this community, look people in the eye and tell them under the NDP there wouldn’t be another mill closure. It’s fine for politicians to come through the area and listen to the industry, that’s important, but listening to the industry means action, that means working on it.
We have had 21 Mayors write a collective letter to the Federal Government, no action. We’ve had opposition MLAs write to the government, no action. We’ve had Minister Doug Donaldson who speaks on behalf of this file gets ignored by the Federal Government. Local MLA Jackie Tegart has said the Federal Government has to come to the table, as have I. I don’t know who to blame more, a Premier who comes to a community and says we won't allow these things to happen or a Prime Minister that will not pick up the phone.”
Allan Duncan, People’s Party of Canada
“Years back I used to work in a factory that was downstream from forestry, and our factory was shutdown. I’d just like to say I can identify with the stress of a shutdown. We’d like to open up as much inter-provincial trade as we can and also work on international deals to expand the buyers of forest products. Get as many options as we can.
Just do whatever we can do to work on international deals that will provide more competition.”
Robert Mellalieu, Green Party of Canada
“There is just no magic bullet for this, we don’t have that ability. The only thing we can do is make sure we have transitional jobs and there will be plenty of those. We know that there is a cannabis facility going in Merritt and that will suck up some of those jobs. If we start doing our climate change transition, there will be many high-tech jobs. The amount of jobs that will be coming down the line if the Green Party is elected will far outweigh what’s lost in the forest industry.
It’s just incredible, the mismanagement of the forest, but it’s that same long-term planning that has been missing with the climate change as well. The forestry industry is an analogy of what we have done to the planet itself.”
Mary Ann Murphy, Liberal Party of Canada
“Let me first express my concern to all those workers that have been dislocated from the forest industry in BC over the past few months and I’m sure workers in Merritt must be feeling quite anxious about the industry.
I know that your Mayor and Council have established a plan to develop a new economic development strategy and diversification strategy for Merritt. I’m hoping in the long run that is something the Federal Government can assist with. We want to see more money available not just to diversify but to retrain workers so that they’re employable in the green economy or any other sector they chose to work in.”
Joan Phillip, NDP
“I know that there’s only so much that the Federal Government can do but reducing the greenhouse gases would dramatically change the landscape with respect to the horrific fires that have been taking place.
Why are they just shipping out raw logs instead of keeping it here and doing value-added? We need to assist in that.
I do know that some time ago with respect to reserve lands, there was an agency that would assist the band in managing forestry on reserve. I don’t see why that can't be applied to the Provinces for that purpose. Assist in conducting inventories and the cleanup and that kind of thing."
Canadians head to the polls on Monday, October 21.
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