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.

 

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)

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, 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

Mark Strahl takes commanding lead in Chilliwack-Hope

But Conservatives look like they’re heading back to opposition bench

$1 million fundraising campaign to improve Primary Care Clinic at Chilliwack General Hospital

Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation campaign aims to improve services to most vulnerable patients

Pedestrian struck by vehicle once every five days in Chilliwack

In 2018 there were 76 incidents up from the five-year average of 57

Shelter access moving to the side of the building in Chilliwack on the heels of complaints

Renos to The Portal will see new bunk beds, indoor washrooms and a review of security and cleaniness

Drivers warn of slippery conditions on the Coquihalla

Snow is falling at the Summit of the Coquihalla

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Police watchdog seeking ‘key witness’ in Taser incident along Vancouver seawall

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. looking for woman who was sitting nearby with dog

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Most Read