All candidates’ debate narrows the issues 

Seven parties represented at Squamish forum

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Jobs, affordable housing, crime, G20 Summit spending, and trust were the top issues at the corridor's first all candidates meeting in the lead up to the federal election on May 2.

Representatives of Canada's four main political parties joined fringe party candidates at the meeting in Squamish on Wednesday night (April 13).

Around 80 residents of the Sea to Sky corridor showed up for the debate and while many had a chance to ask their questions time ran out before all could be answered.

At the candidates' table were representatives from the Green Party, the NDP, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Libertarian Party, the Canadian Action Party and the Progressive Canadian Party.

Pieter Dorsman of Lions Bay was the first of the audience to pose a question to the cohort, asking West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky MP John Weston to outline the key issue he saw facing the Squamish region.

"I think there are three key issues," replied Weston, who stayed cool throughout multiple ribbings over his party's conduct throughout the night. "Jobs, jobs, jobs. The motto of this place is live, work and play... and it's a great place to play but we need jobs here in Squamish. We need people who live here and play here but who don't have to commute to get to their jobs. The one thing I've heard over and over again is that people want to be able to work here in Squamish."

Liberal candidate Dan Veniez differentiated his party's goals by outlining the region's need for more affordable housing, progressive economic development, comprehensive seniors care and additional youth programs.

He also addressed Senate reform and other hot button issues saying: "Cronyism? Have you seen the 28 appointments to the senate?

"How many of those senators are on fraud charges by Elections Canada as we speak? Speaking of accountability...the Prime Minister of Canada shut parliament down twice. Why did he do that? To save his political skin.

"Integrity? Remember when the Prime Minister, then the leader of the opposition, said 'I won't touch income trusts?' My portfolio took a hit, how many people here had pension money in income trusts?

"I tell you, when you promise something before you're elected, accountability, integrity are fantastic words.

"We tell our kids that you have to walk the talk. Words are fine. Talk is cheap. Action is everything."
The NDP's Terry Platt addressed seniors' issues, stressing the need for access to affordable prescription medicine and chose to tackle the jobs issue from a decidedly Green point of view.

"Jobs are important, but environmentally intelligent jobs. Jobs are great, but not at the cost of the environment," she said. "This is a beautiful place, it's a beautiful riding but a lot of people are saying about the jobs we are getting, 'what are we doing to our environment? How are we ruining it for tomorrow?'"

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