ELECTION 2015: Candidates make final plea

What do you think is the No. 1 issue for North Okanagan-Shuswap voters?

Editor’s Note: North Okanagan-Shuswap candidates were given one last chance to reach out to voters prior to Monday’s election by answering the following question: What do you think is the No. 1 issue for North Okanagan-Shuswap voters and why should they elect you to represent them in the House of Commons in Ottawa?

Mel Arnold – The number one issue is – maintaining a strong economy while growing jobs and keeping Canadians safe. Regardless of the age or the background, this is the mantra I hear in coffee shops, on doorsteps and in the street.

We have and will continue to balance the budget; we have and will continue to grow jobs through our pledge to small business regarding the reduction of red tape, reduction of taxes, and our tax incentives. Our support of students, training, and apprenticeship programs will ensure that Canada has a skilled Canadian workforce ready for Canadian jobs.

We have just signed on to the Trans Pacific Partnership, which will provide 800 million new customers for Canadian businesses. Since one in every five Canadian jobs depends on exports, I have no doubt we will reach our goal of 1.3 million new jobs by 2020.

The mandate of a member of Parliament is to represent all constituents in a riding, regardless of their financial standing, the organizations to which they belong, their background or their needs.  I will be that person who champions on behalf of every member of this riding.

For fairness and accountability, vote Mel Arnold Oct. 19.

Cindy Derkaz – The major issues for us in the North Okanagan-Shuswap are the economy and jobs. This election is a choice between jobs and growth or austerity and cuts.  We all understand the real needs our communities face around job creation and keeping our young people gainfully employed in our communities. The Liberal plan will nearly double federal infrastructure investment to almost $125 billion – from the current $65 billion – over the next decade.

This will address the issues we face by providing dedicated funding for social infrastructure,  prioritizing affordable housing and seniors facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural or recreational facilities;

Helping build more housing units, refurbishing existing ones, renewing existing co-operative agreements, and providing funding support for municipalities.

Providing dedicated funding to invest in local water and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure and clean energy projects.

As a country, we must build ambitiously once again if we want to modernize our transportation systems, create affordable housing, and adapt to climate change.

I will be a strong advocate for the residents of North Okanagan-Shuswap. The Liberal Party is rising in the polls. Voters need to decide whether they want to elect a member of government caucus or opposition.

Chris George – The number one issue for North Okanagan-Shuswap voters is leadership.

We have seen and heard the representatives of the mainstream parties here in our riding. They all speak of what their leaders will do, as if it were the leader that matters most. There may be something to that perspective, given the concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office over the past 30 years. But choosing a leader or choosing a party is not what Canadian federal elections are about. They are about choosing a representative, someone to serve all of the people of the riding by bringing their concerns to Ottawa. Pushing back against party discipline is not something that any of the other candidates can be realistically expected to do, and it is something that is often required when it comes to making good decisions.

North Okanagan-Shuswap doesn’t need another compliant back bencher. We need a maverick, someone with gumption who is unafraid of party and leader to truly represent the diverse interests of this riding. By choosing to not whip their candidates or their MPs, the Green Party shows that they trust my judgement. I ask that you extend me that trust as well. I will not disappoint you.

Jacqui Gingras – I have a vision that is shared by many Canadians.  On the doorstep, of course, people ask me about jobs, health care, and the environment.  But there is something much more significant at play for Canadians.  Our vision for Canada resides in respect for democracy, our historical status as peacekeepers on the world stage, our understanding that we share this small planet with billions of others, all that must be nurtured and protected.

Despite the last nine years of the Conservative government which has eroded the health and protection of the environment and the people who live in it, I remain remarkably optimistic.  We know that we have a choice about the future of our country.  At our core, we know that there is still hope for a better Canada.

The spirit of this campaign lies in my desire to connect with you, to let you know that you are being heard, and that your voice matters.

As people flocked to the advance polls there is a growing sense of the possible, of our purpose, of a re-dedication to the core of what matters – each other.

As your next MP, I commit to honouring you, to listening to you, and to being fair and open to what is possible for our communities. And, I pledge to keep close to my heart the vision of Canada as a vibrant and thriving democracy.  It’s time.