Election 2015 Candidates talk business

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo candidates lay out business-related platforms

As three of the country’s major party leaders sparred over the economy in a nationally televised debate in Calgary on Sept. 16, voters here also got a look at the stances of local candidates on business-related issues ahead of the federal election on Oct. 19.

The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce interviewed all four Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo candidates and recently posted the video segments on its website.

The candidates took six questions related to housing, the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), small businesses, wages and benefits, improving access to skilled employees and resource development.

In response his party’s stance on helping first time buyers gain access to the housing market, Green Party candidate Matt Greenwood says the Greens need no convincing on the importance of home ownership as part of a vibrant economy.

“We would like to see a national housing strategy to get as many people as possible into homes. Another important part of that is to bring in one of the Green Party’s most important key parts of the entire platform – the Guaranteed Livable Income, which would finally bring ownership into reach for young families and otherwise low income families for whom right now home ownership is an impossible dream.”

NDP candidate Bill Sundhu, answering a question about business owners expressing concern regarding retirement savings and changes to the CPP, says Canadians have a right to be very proud of the CPP, but adds the plan needs to be upgraded.

“It needs more contribution. The average payout is $650 per month; the maximum is $1,110. We know that needs to be increased.”

Conservative candidate and incumbent Cathy McLeod brought up her work on the Red Tape Reduction Commission, a government initiative that looked to eliminate regulations and “administrative burden” for businesses, in response to a question about small business owners perceiving government services as an “us versus them” mentality and what parties will do to improve the level of service provided by government agencies.

“The prime minister knows businesses shouldn’t be filling out paperwork,” McLeod says.

“As part of our campaign commitment, the prime minister has already indicated he’s going to put increased focus on that area – the red tape issues…. Obviously, we need appropriate checks and balances in place, but we’ve heard too many stories.”

In response to a question about what steps his party will take to ensure resource investment remains in Canada, Liberal candidate Steve Powrie says resource development has always been a contentious issue, which has been highlighted more so in the past number of years, and mentions the Supreme Court of Canada’s historic decision in 2014 granting Aboriginal Title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation in Central British Columbia.

“The Liberal focus is to move away from the ‘either or’ approach. Let’s start talking about ways we can mutually benefit between the resource sector and mostly the environmental and aboriginal concerns.”