ELECTION 2015: Raucous crowd quizzes candidates

Kelowna-Lake Country candidates questioned on infrastructure, aging workforce, oil, recession, business and more

  • Oct. 11, 2015 5:00 p.m.

kevin parnell

Black Press

More money for infrastructure projects, an aging workforce, Canada’s reliance on the oil industry, a recession, deficits and investing in small and medium-size businesses.

All of those topics and more were raised by the three candidates running for federal office in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding as they answered questions about the economy in front of a boisterous crowd of about 200 citizens in Lake Country on Wednesday night.

When asked about the three most pressing issues facing the Canadian economy, the candidates had a variety of responses.

Incumbent Conservative MP Ron Cannan told the crowd that one of the biggest issues facing Canada is the aging workforce and the need for partnerships to continue to grow our nation’s skilled labour pool.

“There was a study done that said in the valley by 2020 there is going to be a need for 100,000 jobs and they anticipate only having about half of those filled so we need to ensure we are working with Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan to ensure students have the skills that are going to be needed,” said Cannan, who also said the Conservatives have an $80 billion infrastructure program to help communities deal with things like aging roads.

“The government doesn’t create jobs, entrepreneurs create jobs, so we have to make sure the money is there for entrepreneurs to take their idea to market.”

Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr hammered away at Canada’s current job creation and economic growth and said a Liberal plan would put $125 billion towards helping Canadian cities deal with infrastructure shortages.

“We are in a recession and a deficit,” he said. “We have the worst economic growth record since the 1930s and the worst job creation record since World War II. We’re going to invest money from the ground up. We’re going to put more into the pockets of Canadians with more generous tax free child benefit and a lower middle income tax bracket. To create jobs you invest in infrastructure. That’s the most cost-effective way that you create jobs.”

NDP candidate Norah Bowman said the first thing Canada must do is cut its reliance on the oil industry and invest money in alternative energy and innovation.

“We need an oil industry in Canada, we need to keep it going, but we also need to diversify so the NDP is proposing to stop subsidizing the oil companies to the degree they are subsidized and use some of that money to invest in alternative energy and innovation,” said Bowman. “The economy is driven by families and people going to work and school so we’re going to create one million child care spaces at no more than 15 dollars a day.”

The economy was just one of several topics the candidates touched on during the all-candidates forum, which had pre-submitted questions, allowing the candidates to answer each query without follow up questions from a moderator or the audience.

Other topics included questions about the chronic shortage of doctors, how the parties would help promote the agriculture industry as well as the legalization of marijuanna, one of the few topics the parties were split on.

Bowman said the NDP would decriminalize marijuanna immediately upon election allowing them to start the process of taking the control of pot out of the hands of organized crime. Fuhr said the Liberals will legalize marijuanna but said there are more pressing issues such as the economy. Cannan said he thinks the issue needs an adult discussion but is uncomfortable with either legalization or decriminalization, saying its a poor message to kids to make it available the same way alcohol is.

The federal election is Oct. 19.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Vernon man's faith in humanity has been restored since his lost wallet was returned, credit cards, cash and all, to the RCMP station. (Contributed)
Good Samaritan turns in cash-filled wallet to Vernon Mounties

Owner’s faith in humanity restored following a tough few weeks

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read