Candidate corner: Cowichan hopefuls talk economic development

Black Press Media reached out to the candidates running in the 2019 federal election and we asked them for brief comments on four topics of interest to constituents in the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford region. Those topics include environment and climate change, economic development, kids and families and health care. This is part two of a four-part series outlining their responses. Today’s topic is Economic Development.

Alistair MacGregor – New Democratic Party

Alistair MacGregor

The New Democratic Party of Canada believes in creating a prosperous Canada where small businesses and families can thrive.

A New Deal for People makes historic investments that will drive economic growth and make life better for everyone. By re-directing public funds towards priorities like community infrastructure and transit, affordable housing, pharmacare, child care, and training, we will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in a first mandate alone.

The heart of any real economic plan needs to address the climate crisis and the impact on our future. We will end subsidies to fossil fuel companies and invest in clean energy initiatives. Our plan builds up made-in-Canada industries, and ensures Canada’s skilled workers are a part of the future clean energy economy.

Small businesses are the backbones of our communities, creating 78 per cent of new jobs. The NDP first proposed lowering small business taxes from 11 per cent to nine per cent, and we pressured the Liberals to keep their campaign promise in 2018. Our plan makes it easier for succession planning to future generations, by ending the unfair tax treatment of small business transfers within families.

For the highest income individuals in Canada (those making over $210,000), we will increase the top marginal tax rate by two points to 35 per cent, raising over half a billion dollars, annually. The super-rich multi-millionaires with over $20 million in wealth will be asked to pay more with a one per cent wealth tax.

Our plan will roll corporate tax cuts back to the 2010 level of 18 per cent, raising billions of dollars in annual revenue.

While corporate taxes play a role in determining where corporations invest their money, they are far from the only factor. Good regulation and workforce skills are also key — strong public services, infrastructure, and access to education can be more important than tax rates for attracting investment. These will all be significantly strengthened though our plan, bringing investment to our communities.

Lydia Hwitsum – Green Party of Canada

Lydia Hwitsum

We all know that our current economy is unsustainable — it depends on the ever-expanding extraction of natural resources, non-renewable and polluting energy sources, and unlimited consumerism. Although this seemed to work for many over the last century, we are now experiencing the consequences: the climate emergency, mass extinctions, the growing gap between rich and poor, an unraveling social safety net, and widespread anxiety and depression.

The alternative is a “green economy” that respects nature’s limits and provides a good living for all within our financial and ecological means. The Green Party’s policies ensure a just transition for fossil fuel workers into new sectors, including the renewable energy sector, which can be orders of magnitude larger than the oil and gas sector. Developing the green economy will create new jobs in the energy efficiency and clean energy sectors, clean-tech manufacturing, emerging technologies, tourism, the creative economy, and the care economy. It will also focus on local food production, which creates jobs, keeps money in our economy, increases food security, reduces food waste, and reduces food transportation, thereby reducing energy use and pollution.

As your member of parliament, I would be able to hold the government to account and push for what the climate science requires. Green jobs in home energy retrofits can keep our young people from going elsewhere and bring people back to work in the Cowichan Valley.

Blair Herbert – Liberal Party of Canada

Blair Herbert

Liberal candidate, Blair Herbert, understands that every person views economic development differently. For individuals, it might be the dream of home ownership; for businesses, it might be the ability to expand; and, for communities, it might be the ability to offer more to citizens. Regardless of the definition, Blair is proud of the Liberals’ progress in the last four years and wants to represent you on this file in the next four.

Here are some examples of Liberal accomplishments:

• Put more money in the hands of nine out of 10 families by increasing the Child Tax Benefit,

• Helped create 1,000,000 more jobs,

• Achieved the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years,

• Lowered income taxes for the middle class,

• Strengthened the Canada Pension Plan,

• Reduced the Old Age Security eligibility age from 67 to 65,

• Reduced the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent.

A top priority has been investing in infrastructure which creates jobs and builds community capacity and sustainability. An example close to home is the new field house for the Cowichan Valley, made possible through grants under the Investing in Canada plan. This plan is investing $180 billion over 12 years in the Liberal priorities of public transit, green, social, trade and transportation and rural and northern communities.

Another example is the investment in the McKenzie Interchange. Transportation on the Island can be a barrier to employment. If elected, Blair would continue to work on improving transportation, including re-examining the viability of rail for commuters.

“What sets the Liberal party apart is the understanding that the economy must walk in lockstep with considerations of its impact on the environment — these two issues are connected at the hip. I feel an urgency with this election. The economy is better than ever, let’s not move backwards on this file.”

Alana DeLong — Conservative Party of Canada

Alana DeLong

Canada needs to be open for business again. A majority Conservative government will put an end to reckless spending and work to provide political stability that will attract meaningful investment to Canada. Keeping more money in the pockets of Canadians helps grow local economies while helping Canadians get ahead, not just get by.

Justin Trudeau has failed to negotiate a new softwood lumber agreement, jeopardizing the livelihoods of forestry workers across Canada. According to reports, thousands of forestry workers have already lost their jobs in B.C. A new Conservative government will work to address the lingering softwood lumber dispute, the remaining buy American provisions and the disjointed regulatory regimes.

Canada’s Conservatives want to see an agreement that will stabilize the forestry sector in every region of Canada, which means access to the U.S. market should be the number one priority.

Commercial and recreational fishing are important industries for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford. A new Conservative government will reinstate funding for wetland, watershed, and fisheries conservation. A Conservative government will reconvene the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel the Liberals disbanded so that those with the greatest interest in protecting species and habitats can share their expertise in how it will be done.

The Trudeau Liberals have failed to take any steps to create sustainable, economic opportunities for Indigenous communities. Conservatives are focused on bringing forward policies that make real and measurable improvements in the lives of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. There can be no true and lasting reconciliation without economic reconciliation. The government must act to empower Indigenous communities to share in the wealth that Canada is so capable of creating.

If you work hard, you should be able to buy a home, save for retirement, and care for your children and your parents as they age. A new Conservative government will live within its means so that the residents of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford can get ahead.


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