Kelly Velonis, Liberal candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during the Oct. 3 meeting. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Kelly Velonis, Liberal candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during the Oct. 3 meeting. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Chilliwack-Hope election candidates talk youth issues

All-candidates meeting last week one of many to hear from those seeking office

Local federal election candidates have taken part in several meetings focused on different issues with more on the way.

Last week, six of the seven that will be on the ballot for Chilliwack-Hope took part in a meeting focused on youth issues hosted by the Chilliwack Child and Youth Committee (CYC), a network of local youth and family agencies.

Services gaps that impact the lives of local children and youth were the focus of the Oct. 3 meeting.

Candidates were provided with the statistical backdrop that 4,710 children are living in poverty in Chilliwack-Hope. That’s 20 per cent of all children, and 55 per cent of children in single-parent families living in poverty.

Candidates faced questions on climate change, stopping teenagers from accessing pornography in public buildings, LGBTQ rights, and more.

On the broad subject of poverty, specifically the question was: “What [are] your party strategies to adopt a comprehensive poverty reduction plan and what are your parties’ targets and timelines?”

No one directly answered the question, but it was acknowledged, by Conservative incumbent Mark Strahl, that November will be the 30-year anniversary of the unanimously adopted pledge in Parliament put forth by Ed Broadbent in 1989 to eradicate poverty by the year 2000.

Almost 20 years after that deadline, it hasn’t happened.

“We believe in the life-changing power of jobs,” Strahl said. “Actions speak louder than words.”

Liberal candidate Kelly Velonis said her party’s child tax benefit has helped lift thousands of children out of poverty. She said by 2023 the basic personal amount for income taxes will be raised to $15,000 to help the poorest. She also called the controversy over The Portal homeless shelter in downtown Chilliwack “dehumanizing people.”

The NDP’s Heather MacQuillan pointed to her party’s platform to expand pharmacare and dental coverage, increase mental health access and implement $200 a month childcare and a $15 minimum wage.

Green candidate Arthur Green talked about setting municipal minimum wages. Marxist-Leninist Party candidate Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell addressed the recent Blackstock decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordering the federal government to pay $40,000 to each child taken from homes under the on-reserve child welfare system starting in Jan. 1, 2006.

People’s Party candidate Rob Bogunovic suggested the tax collection system was part of the problem as the federal government collects the most taxes while many problems are left to be addressed at the local level, dealt most directly with by the municipal government.

“We need to redesign how we collect taxes in this country,” he said.

Wrapping up the meeting, the smaller parties addressed the fact that the attention is usually paid mostly to the Liberals and Conservatives.

“For too long we have been told there are two options,” NDP’s MacQuillan said.

The PPC’s Bogunovic suggested that individuals should vote their values.

And O’Donnell from the Marxist-Leninist Party — who pointed out the reality that she would not win — talked about small parties and she encouraged voters to visit her party’s website for “incisive political commentary on a broad range of subjects.”

“I urge you to look beyond the cartel party blinkers,” she said. “Consider the alternatives and vote for the party whose views most are like your own.”

The last big meeting for the candidates is at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 9 starting at 7 p.m.

• READ MORE: Last chance to grill the candidates is Wednesday at the Cultural Centre

Election day is Oct. 21.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Visit www.theprogress.com/federal-election for all your election covereage, and visit the Chilliwack Progress Facebook page for a video from this event.

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

 

Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell, Marxist-Leninist candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell, Marxist-Leninist candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Arthur Green, Green Party candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Arthur Green, Green Party candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Rob Bogunovic, People’s Party of Canada candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Rob Bogunovic, People’s Party of Canada candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Heather McQuillan, NDP candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, listens during as Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell with the Marxist-Leninist Party speaks at an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Heather McQuillan, NDP candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, listens during as Dorothy-Jean O’Donnell with the Marxist-Leninist Party speaks at an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Heather McQuillan, NDP candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Heather McQuillan, NDP candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Mark Strahl, Conservative candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Mark Strahl, Conservative candidate for the riding of Chilliwack-Hope, speaks during an all-candidates forum at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Oct. 3. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

The route of the pink parade. The Record has blackened out the name of the teen. Facebook photo.
Pink-vehicle parade in support of transgender teen assaulted in Mission to be held Sunday

Teen and family to watch parade drive single file along waterfront at 3 p.m., Jan. 17

Carin Bondar announced Nov. 26 that she will be running in the upcoming byelection to replace outgoing school trustee Dan Coulter. (Sarah Sovereign Photography)
Chilliwack school board candidate Carin Bondar calls for vote-by-mail option

As the COVID pandemic continues, Bondar fears voter turnout will be low for next month’s byelection

Connie Stam (bottom left) leads an orientation session for a group of youth who have signed up with the Compassionate Neighbourhood Health Partners Society’s intergenerational programming. (Submitted)
Chilliwack organization seeks seniors for weekly chats with youth

Youth, seniors with common interests matched together for intergenerational program

Agassiz resident Miel Bernstein is collecting sanitary products for locals in need. These products came from her donation drive before Christmas and were delivered to people in need in Chilliwack and Agassiz. (Contributed)
Agassiz resident collecting pads, tampons for women in need

The program will help provide menstrual and incontinence products for people in Chilliwack, Agassiz

Adam Suleman announced his intention to run in the Chilliwack school board byelection on Dec. 21, 2020. The byelection is set for Feb. 13, 2021. (Submitted)
Chilliwack byelection candidate condemns violence against transgender Mission student

Adam Suleman says school boards should be facilitating programs that foster unity and respect

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Most Read