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A crowd gathers in Duncan City Square for a Youth Climate Strike, May 2019. Jacqueline Ronson/The Discourse Cowichan

Will candidates help build connected and resilient communities?

We sent Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP candidates your election questions. Here’s what we heard.

What concrete steps will federal MP candidates for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford take to build more connected and resilient communities? That’s a question we at The Discourse Cowichan heard from you after we launched Set The Agenda. The project aims to put the people back in control of the election discourse. 

Each of the five days leading up to the election, we’re publishing answers to questions you sent. Today, the question is: What concrete steps can we take to build more connected and resilient communities? 

As of Oct. 16, The Discourse received answers from four of six federal MP candidates via email. Alana DeLong’s campaign manager, with the Conservative Party of Canada, referred us to Conservative.ca for all policy announcements. Rhonda Chen, with the People’s Party of Canada, has not responded to the requests. I’m rotating the MP candidates’ order in the responses each day. Here are the MP candidates’ responses. I’ve copied them directly from the emails they sent me.

Alistair MacGregor, New Democratic Party

People across the country are proud of where they live especially us Vancouver Islanders living in the Cowichan Valley. But decades of cuts from Liberal and Conservative governments have added up. People can no longer rely on the services they need – and our communities are feeling the squeeze.

We can build safe and welcoming communities for Canadians, including new Canadians, by investing in public infrastructure, supporting Canadian art and culture, and making sure people have access to the services they count on, no matter where they live. 

New Democrats know that building a sense of community connection and safety is not just about the absence of crime. We will continue to champion gender equity, LGBTQI2S+ rights, confronting racism, promoting our official languages and revitalizing Indigenous languages, enhancing our justice system, and tackling corruption and fraud.

When we focus on increasing social inclusion, promoting public health, ensuring food security, access to education, affordable housing, and increasing youth engagement, we not only provide Canadians with important services as outlined in our New Deal for People, we will also be building healthy resilient communities. 

Robin Stanbridge, Christian Heritage Party of Canada

I was the Vice President of the initiative to separate Vancouver Island from BC. If Vancouver Island’s infrastructure spending was on par to Vancouver’s, per capita, it would be over ten times larger than what is conventionally spent on this island. I happen to have some extremely advanced innovations and engineering breakthroughs ranging from food security to structural engineering and energy distribution on how to make this island unsurpassed in resilience to extreme events, but sense this is not the appropriate means to share such.

Lydia Hwitsum, Green Party of Canada

The entire Green Party platform is based on the policies and steps we will take to lead Canada into a new sustainable and resilient era for all Canadians. Grounded in the six pillars of Ecological Wisdom, Sustainability, Social Justice, Respect for Diversity, Non-violence, and Participatory Democracy, some concrete steps include:

  • a nation-wide transition to renewable energy resulting in homes and businesses powered by 100 per cent renewable energy thanks to a national electrical grid that incorporates abundant hydro, wind and solar resources
  • building codes that require all new construction to meet net-zero energy standards:
  • a climate-change transition plan that will develop and support new green infrastructure, products, technology, education and training, and the development of a multitude of new living wage jobs for green sector workers;
  • protection of Canada’s lands and waterways including agricultural lands, wildlife habitat, oceans, lakes and rivers
  • social programs that care for our seniors, veterans, and those most vulnerable in our society
  • significant restitution for centuries of gross injustices against the Indigenous Peoples of this territory and working in partnership to ensure First Nations become self-governing and the treaty negotiations concluded. Ensuring the principles of reconciliation and restoration of rights are entrenched at all levels of decision-making.
  • Efficient bus and rail service with high speed rail service linking regions to provide a convenient alternative to air travel.
  • the introduction of measures of progress that the government tracks in its “wellbeing budgets,” replacing GDP growth yardsticks.

Blair Herbert, Liberal Party of Canada

Resilience likely looks different from each person’s point of view.  For me, resilience is about strengthening my community’s ability to adapt to changes and challenges, where basic needs are met while respecting the environment.  

At a local level, this work is often undertaken by schools, churches and various other community groups that offer all types of services and support to citizens.  At the Federal government level, resilience is built through investments that: (1) promote employment and lift people out of poverty, (2) provide affordable housing, (3) allow for drug coverage at an affordable price, and (4) protect the environment.  

The Liberal government has made significant investment and progress in each of these areas and, as your MP, I would continue this work in order to support the resilience of my riding.

Further reading

  • CBC’s Vote Compass tool allows Canadians to compare how their views stack up against federal party platforms on a variety of values and issues.
  • Platform comparisons by CBC News and Macleans may be useful tools to compare the parties’ promises on various issues related to building connected and resilient communities.

Set The Agenda is a collaborative journalism project between The Discourse, APTN and Hearken. A portion of the funding for this project comes from partners including Inspirit Foundation and the Facebook Journalism Project. Funding support of the project does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced.