Federal election candidates: New Democrat Jacqui Gingras (from left)

ELECTION 2015: Candidates share concerns

North Okanagan-Shuswap: While the environment was the focus, co-operation became a key topic for candidates at SENS forum

While the environment was the focus, co-operation became a key topic as the three opposition party candidates answered to the public Thursday.

The Sustainable Environment Network Society federal election forum drew more than 100 people, except Conservative candidate Mel Arnold. His absence made the Conservatives an easy target for candidates and the crowd who are unhappy with Stephen Harper’s decisions over the past four years.

Liberal Cindy Derkaz, Green Chris George and New Democrat Jacqui Gingras took turns answering questions ranging from nuclear energy, climate change and pharmaceuticals in our water to sustainable agriculture, GMO’s and water protection.

The three managed to agree on a number of topics, including the fact if they are elected Oct. 19, that sometimes they may need to stand up and work across party lines and different levels of government to solve problems.

“It’s absolutely important for resilience and democracy,” said Gingras, who has worked with a renewed democracy group. “We work to actually look at the national approach.”

If a Conservative leadership continues, George says the parties need to sit down and discuss issues.

“The doors are open and we need the best ideas from all parties to make this work,” said George, adding that pre-election co-operation was high on Elizabeth May’s agenda, but that while Justin Trudeau still takes her calls, Tom Mulcair has said no. “Everywhere we’ve been is to provide people with a sense of hope to get them off their couches and vote.”

Collaboration is key to governance, as well as many other areas of life, said Derkaz.

“That is what I do and have done all my life,” she said, noting a similar agenda from the Liberal leader. “I see that Justin Trudeau is a very inclusive and collaborative leader.”

Another hot topic was supporting local producers versus the ability to do so.

“We need to support those (local farmers and businesses) but the issue of poverty is a big one,” said Derkaz.

Food security is a topic near and dear to George, who says while we can’t produce everything, Canada needs to diversify.

“I’m pretty sure none of us would be too happy eating nothing but beef and bread.”

Gingras re-iterates the fact that poverty is an underlying issue.

“If people are poor they are not able to access some of those most basic needs.”

For detailed answers from candidates on some pre-assigned questions from SENS, visit www.sensociety.org

 

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