Kelly Fehr questions federal candidates at Independent Living Vernon’s forum Tuesday at the People Place.

Kelly Fehr questions federal candidates at Independent Living Vernon’s forum Tuesday at the People Place.

ELECTION 2015: Candidates square off

Independent Living Vernon held a federal forum at the People Place Tuesday evening.

Residents living in poverty, and advocates tired of declining support, shared their frustrations with Okanagan-Shuswap MP candidates Tuesday.

And candidates, except Conservative Mel Arnold who declined to attend, shared their plans at the inaugural Independent Living Vernon forum at the People Place Tuesday evening.

A guaranteed livable income of $20,000 for every person over 18 is the Green plan.

“Poverty is the root and we need to strike it,” said Chris George, Green party candidate.

A 10 per cent increase to the guaranteed income supplement (including seniors) and a child benefit lifting 315,000 kids out of poverty is a Liberal promise.

“This isn’t pie in the sky stuff,” said Cindy Derkaz, Liberal candidate.

Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and getting funds out of the hands of the upper class and into the lower class by raising the corporate tax rate by two per cent is the New Democrat Party plan.

“The cost of living is going up and the amount that people are asked to live on stays and in some cases is decreasing,” said Jacqui Gingras.

Affordable housing was another hot topic.

“We not only like to take care of people, we like to take care of where they live,” said Gingras, whose party would adopt a national housing strategy and help low-income households become more energy-efficient.

Derkaz says the Liberals have a plan to build infrastructure with one-third of the money going into social infrastructure.

“Affordable housing is key to good health, key to good mental health and it also gets jobs rolling,” she said.”

George says the Greens have a plan to get funds directly to municipalities as part of its national housing strategy, which also plans to raise the corporate tax rate by four per cent.

“You also need the programs that allow people to stay in their homes comfortably.”