Meet your election candidates 

Candidates in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country weigh in on the issues

For an election that nobody wanted - even the parties that triggered the election by tabling a non-confidence vote - there's a lot at stake in the federal election on May 2.

The Conservative Party of Canada under Stephen Harper is within a dozen seats of establishing the first stable majority government since 2004.

The Liberal Party is looking to regain power under Michael Ignatieff, their third leader since Paul Martin's short-lived minority government was elected in 2004. They're fighting a two-front battle, looking to regain seats back from the Conservative Party while preventing more Canadians on the left of the political spectrum from switching allegiance to the NDP.

The NDP are surging with leader Jack Layton topping popularity polls. The party has increased its representation in the House from 13 seats in 2000 to 37 in the 2008 election.

The Bloc Quebecois has seen its own numbers diminish, from 54 seats in 2004 to 49 today.

The Green Party is also threatening to play spoiler, hoping to build on their close to one million votes in 2008.

Hovering over everything are concerns about the economy, health care, the environment, the war in Afghanistan, crime, urban decay, deficits and debt, trade relations and a political system where minority governments don't last long and coalitions are a dirty word.

Pique sent a list of five questions to all nine candidates standing for election in the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding, Canada's largest by population and most diverse in terms of the geography and the economy. Candidates have driven mountain highways and hopped on ferries to reach constituents and make a case for your vote.

(Note: The candidates for the Libertarian Party of Canada and Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada did not participate.)

 

PIQUE Given that this is Canada's fourth federal election since 2004, what would you do to fix the system to ensure more stability in the future? Proportional representation? Fixed election dates? Coalitions? Rule changes to do away with confidence votes? What is your view on the future of the senate?

 

John Weston (Conservative Party of Canada): The question arises from voters' frustration about participating in a costly, unnecessary election. Canadians are still baffled that Michael Ignatieff committed to bring down our Conservative Government on a budget - long before it had been written. This election interrupted our economic recovery; cost over $300 million of hard-earned taxpayers' money; and killed valuable government bills. One answer is to require our political parties to commit to the interests of Canadians, not unnecessary political games.

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