Federal election candidates in Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies fielded questions from voters during an all candidate's forum in Fort St. John on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Here's what they had to say about why they are running for MP, why federal policies matter, and how they will be an effective representative. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Catharine Kendall, Greens: "I'm here to do my best. I realize that this is a pressing issue, that as an energetic city, that the oil and gas can be a boom-bust community, and everybody's at risk of losing jobs when that kind of economy happens. Federal laws change and policies change, and the environment changes, and puts everyone at risk when it comes to developing a community and an economy. I'm here to do my best to represent my constituents."
Ron Vaillant, People's Party: "The reason that I ran is that I felt Canada was coming to a tipping point. As far as the federal government working with this area, one of the thing the People's Party wants to do is they want to absolutely develop the resource industry and to help it along. We want to be able to streamline the whole thing so projects can be rapidly developed. We want to get rid of Bill C-48 and C-69, these things that hamper development. We also want to be able to deal with the caribou recovery issue thats going to knock off a million acres of land and we're going to use the Constitution to approve pipelines. I'll be effective because I'm an honest person. I've already connected with a lot of people already who know exactly what's going on in different parts in the riding and I have their ear, and that's a really good thing to be able to have."
Bob Zimmer, Conservatives: "Why federal policies matter more than ever, we're seeing with, as the bills Ron mentioned, C-69 and C-48 really serve to shut down our natural resource sector here. We saw the softwood lumber agreement by this previous government and we've seen the effects of that. We've seen forestry on a downturn, and oil and gas too. How can we be effective? I think it's doing what I've been doing the last eight years in going back and forth from Ottawa to Fort St. John and doing it regularly. It's a lot of travel. I say I don't get to travel, I have to; but there's a reason why we come back and it's to stay connected. The issues that you have that are local are your most important issues. We balance that too with having a federal mandate and national and a global mandate. I served as the ethics chair, and for access to information and privacy, and have gone to London to defend your privacy and your data rights. So, you can be effective even though we're the furthest away, there's only one further riding away from Ottawa and that's the Yukon. You just have to work hard at it."
Mavis Erickson, Liberals: "I was born in Vanderhoof, I grew up in Fort St. James. I am a northerner. I practice law in Prince George. I have a bachelor of arts degree in history, and a bachelor of law also, both from UBC. I have a third degree from Harvard Law School, I did my master of law there. As a northerner, I know all the issues. I understand the boom and bust that we face through the years, through the decades. My brothers are mainly in forestry so I truly understand what a lot of workers are going through right now. I want to be able to provide a loud voice in Ottawa, because as northerners I don't think we reap enough of the benefits of the resources we sit on. We don't have a good public transit system in the north that would connect communities. In the Lower Mainland, they have trains, boats, and planes and automobiles; and right now, we don't even have a Greyhound bus system. There are many things that northerners need in terms of interconnectivity besides transportation; the internet and the many other things that we need in the north and we don't ever get. You need a loud voice in Ottawa to represent you."
Marcia Luccock, candidate for the NDP, did not attend the forum, and has not responded to emails.
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