South Surrey—White Rock Chamber of Commerce Debate Questions

Thanks so much to the The South Surrey—White Rock Chamber of Commerce for inviting all of the Federal election candidates to a zoom debate on Thursday September 9th.  Below are the questions that were asked and the answers by Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

 

Q1 If elected, what will be the economic priorities for your government be to help small  businesses recover from the impacts of the pandemic and help them grow in the future,  including your party’s plans on extending or stopping government benefits for small  businesses? 

Conservatives’ Canada Recovery Plan (www.conservative.ca/plan), gives the steps needed to  put Canadians back to work and our economy back on track. 

  • Jobs: In the first year, we will recover the million jobs lost in the hardest hit sectors (tourism, hospitality, part-time/temporary workers, women) to get as many people back to work in good jobs, in every part of Canada, in every sector, as quickly as possible. 
  • Canada Job Surge Plan: Once CEWS ends, this plan will pay at least 25% of the salary of net new hires for six months; 50% for those who were unemployed for 6+ months.
  • GST Holiday: To boost retail in December
  • Dine and Discover: A 50% rebate for food and non-alcoholic drinks Monday to Wednesday for a month
  • Explore and Support Canada: To offset vacation expenses
  • Priorities: For Conservatives, small business priorities are our priorities. We recognize them as the drivers of our economic life and recovery. The Liberals, NDP, and Greens never have.  

Q2 If elected, where on your government’s list of priorities would be lowering the national  debt and what measures would you take to make this happen? 

Justin Trudeau broke promises even before the pandemic by running massive deficits and has  now created $1.148 trillion in debt. This increases by $424 million per day! Some of this was  unavoidable and I voted in favour of pandemic subsidies, but we were already unnecessarily  vulnerable. Our debt to GDP ratio has gone from 31% under Conservatives to 118% which is  unsustainable. Families are struggling to pay for their children’s needs, buy a home or pay rent,  with inflation and prices going up. We know the Liberals are looking to increase government’s  revenues and now we have evidence that they want to tax your homes. 

Conservatives got us out of the last recession in 2008-2009 without raising taxes through  efficiencies and taking responsibility for government spending. We will do it again without  jeopardizing your children’s future. 

Conservatives do think about monetary policy. We will balance the books within 10 years by  creating the conditions for economic growth, with optimism for investment and hope for the  future. 

Q3 Labour shortages are a significant concern in our community. What is your party  proposing to address this and what role do you think immigration should play? 

Immigration can play a big role in curbing labour shortages. Those who want to come to Canada  need clarity and a process that treats them with dignity, compassion and respect. The Trudeau  Liberals have allowed rampant mismanagement and corruption, and created years-long  backlogs and failure. 

Our plan also includes policies to recognize foreign credentials. We will create a task force to  help us remove barriers for the skilled professionals we need. Helping newcomers maximize  their success by allowing them to work in their field of knowledge and expertise is good for  Canada and our economy. 

To help the agriculture sector, Conservatives will closely consult and implement an Agriculture  and Agri-Food Labour Strategy to facilitate the timely entrance into Canada of international  farm workers. We will also take steps to attract skilled workers to our meat processing sector  (30,000 worker deficit now).  

The Canada Job Surge Plan also addresses phasing out of current subsidies in a timely way. 

Q4 For many Canadians, homeownership has become out of reach. Some argue housing  affordability is a provincial and municipal issue that can only be solved with solutions at the  local level. What is your party planning at a Federal level to help Canadians finance their first  home purchase and realize their dreams of owning or renting a home affordably? 

We don’t build enough homes to keep up with our growing population, with the lowest number  of units per capita in the G7. Foreign money laundering is a real problem and we will work with  the BC’s inquiry to address it. Foreign investors are sitting on homes as investments and leaving  them empty. This pushes up prices and worsens availability, putting home ownership out of  

reach.  

We have a plan to build 1 million homes over the next 3 years and ban foreign ownership if  buyers don’t plan to move to Canada. We will make 15% of the federal government’s real  estate portfolio available to build; and prioritize building homes near transit. We will scrap the  latest mortgage stress test and help first time home buyers get into the market. We will also  address unfair and corrupt practices that have driven up prices and address the soaring cost of  renting a home by partnering with municipalities and the private sector to create new rental  units.

Q5 How do you and your party plan to reconcile relationships with Indigenous groups across  the county and more specifically with the local Semiahmoo First Nation. What is your party’s  plan and roadmap to the calls to action in UNDRIP’s (United Nations Declaration on the  Rights of Indigenous People)? 

The Trudeau Liberals have been cherry-picking the recommendations from the Truth and  Reconciliation Commission. This Commission was set up by the then Conservative Government  and led by Justice Murray Sinclair following a very touching apology on the residential school  policies delivered on behalf of all Canadians by Prime Minister Harper. 

Conservatives will work with all Indigenous Peoples to make them our partners in prosperity.  We will do the hard work of tackling issues such as ensuring access to clean drinking water on  Reserves, providing mental health support, and helping to end human trafficking that has  targeted Indigenous women and girls. We will focus on actions and support that will improve  the lives of Indigenous peoples across the country. 

Semiahmoo First Nation has recently been hooked up to City of Surrey’s water supply which is a  big step forward. As Member of Parliament, I have met with advocates for SFN both in Ottawa  and at home to support economic development and provide for SFN children. 

Q6 How will your party support provinces with the vaccine passport programs, as well as  small businesses in the restaurant and fitness sectors who are being asked to be the  gatekeepers of the program? 

Canada was caught off-guard by the pandemic and slow to react. Conservatives have a detailed  self-reliance plan to never be unprepared again for future crises or pandemics. Health falls  under the responsibility of provincial governments under Canada’s constitution. I am acutely  aware that BC businesses worry about their ability to be health gatekeepers and I encourage  them to let the Province know their concerns. 

I want to be very clear that Conservatives will not introduce a national mandatory vaccine  policy nor introduce passports for domestic use. We encourage Canadians who choose to be  vaccinated to do so and would like to see 90% of eligible Canadians vaccinated by personal  choice. For those who choose not to get vaccinated or are exempt for medical or Charter of  Rights protected reasons, we encourage use of rapid testing, mask wearing, and physical  distancing. We will work with provinces to ensure Canadians who travel to foreign countries get  a recognized proof of vaccination when the foreign country requires such proof. 

Q7 Childcare services is an important essential service to keep women in the workforce. It’s a  sector that needs more support but the proposed $10/day childcare by different parties has  raised significant concerns from many private childcare providers in our community. They feel  it is an inaccurate description of what it costs to care for a child. Quality childcare cannot be  provided for the same cost of two coffees a day. By eliminating profits, leaves little funds to  raise the livable wages of staff and reinvest in the businesses that have historically been built  and run by women entrepreneurs. It will also be a burden on tax payers to pay for such a  program if offered to ALL families regardless of income. How does you party respond to these  concerns? 

The Conservative childcare plan will enable more women who chose to do so to get into the  workforce. We will provide direct funding to parents so they can make the best choice for their  own families unlike the Trudeau Liberals’ approach of “Ottawa Knows Best”! After 3 decades of  broken promises (the federal Liberals first promised this in 1993), Trudeau again makes this  promise in an unnecessary election. 

Our plan is based on the premise that Canadians are responsible adults and can be trusted not  to use these funds to “buy beer and popcorn” as federal Liberals suggested in the past. By  giving families freedom of choice, they will choose the best option for them and will most  certainly support women entrepreneurs who are operating for-profit childcare services like my  niece. 

As a working mother of 4, I wish I had this level of support when raising my children. Many  parents work part-time, shift work, and non-conventional hours, which mandates flexibility.  Parents need choice and our plan will give it to them. 

Q8 How will you work towards implementing recommendations from the Canada-BC Expert  Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability, released in June 2021, such as  making new infrastructure investments conditional on Official Community Plans, zoning  bylaws and other local policies to allow for increased density and a mix of housing types? 

The Liberal Housing Strategy is broken. Despite their commitment of over $70 Billion, few took  them up on sharing equity in their homes and we still have a housing crisis with insufficient  supply and rising costs. The success of a federal housing strategy cannot be defined by the  number of tax dollars spent, but by the number of Canadians who can access the homes they  need. 

There is a lot of foreign money flowing into BC’s housing market. Some of it can be directly  traced back to the proceeds of criminal activities. In other cases, foreign investors are leaving  houses sitting empty which leads to price increases. Conservatives are committed to working with provincial and municipal authorities to ensure that more homes are built near publicly  funded transit and opening up access to federal government lands and buildings. The result?

Increased density and housing types. Our commitment is to build 1 million new homes within 3  years and encourage the building of rental units. 

Q9 As a border community, Canada-US relations is even more important. The COVID-19  pandemic has made those relations more complex. If elected, what actions will you and your  party take, if any, to work towards open more cross-border travel, business and trade? 

Our international relationship with the United States is the most important one we have. For  geographical and historical reasons, we have developed such a close friendship with our  neighbours that it is sometimes difficult for people who do not live close to the border to  understand the tremendous daily impact that COVID-19 has had. Families are  separated and normal routines have been disrupted. 

Conservatives, business groups, and travellers have been calling on the Trudeau Liberals to put  forward metrics for a safe border re-opening, yet they remain unclear. There is little or no coordination with US authorities. Canada opened its US border to Americans but the US has not  reciprocated. Our Peace Arch Park remains an anomaly which upsets Summerfield residents  and flies in the face of provincial restrictions and rules.  

It is a personal priority of mine to ensure we can go back to normalcy while ensuring the safety  of our community, and we need to save our Duty Free small businesses who have been hit very  hard by the pandemic.  

Q10 There are increased calls for racial justice and reconciliation due to the discovery of  unmarked graves of indigenous children at former residential schools and the alarming  violence against visible minorities across the country. What are your party’s specific  commitments to address these issues? 

As a former Human Rights Tribunal Judge and lawyer advocate, human rights and racial justice  are close to my heart. We must all model inclusivity, and condemn anti-Asian, anti-semitic, and  any racially motivated hatred.  

Canada’s multicultural society is a valued reality and Conservatives promote the need to foster  understanding and equality of opportunity. We recognize the rich, diverse make-up of the  Canadian population and the contribution of these communities to the Canadian way of life.  

Erin O’Toole has stated, “I believe that whether you are black, white, brown or from any race or  creed, whether you are LGBT or straight, whether you are an indigenous Canadian or have  joined the Canadian family three weeks ago or three generations ago, whether you are doing  well or barely getting by…you are an important part of Canada and you have a home in the  Conservative Party…”

Conservatives pledge a swift timeline and funding to deliver on the TRC Calls to Action 71 -76  involving missing children and providing healing for families. We should build Canada up, not  tear it down, and embrace a future where we all belong free of discrimination and barriers. 

Q11 How does your party rate the importance of addressing climate change against the  country’s economic priorities and what specific commitments do you have to address issues  like BC’s wildfires in the future? 

Conservatives have a serious plan “Secure The Environment” to combat climate change that will  meet the Paris Accord targets and not kill jobs or the economy, independently analyzed and  praised by Navius Research. Green House Gas emissions have gone up every year since Trudeau  came to office. None of his promised 2 billion trees were planted until some this summer – maybe – at double the projected cost. His plans don’t work!  

A price on carbon efficiently reduces emissions, but we won’t increase your taxes like the  Trudeau Liberals. Our Low Carbon Saving Accounts will help Canadians make greener lifestyle  choices, by deciding what works best for them.  

Promoting electric and hydrogen vehicles, we will introduce a zero-emission vehicle mandate,  based on BC’s, requiring 30 % of light duty vehicles to be zero emissions by 2030. 

Internationally, we will promote Canadian technology to combat a global problem. We will  work to ensure that our own businesses are not penalized by companies based in countries  where environmental regulations are weak or non-existent. Locally, I will work toward stopping  thermal coal going through our railways and ports, a real worry for local residents and farmers. 

Q12 What commitment will your party be able to provide to communities like South Surrey &  White Rock that are desperate for better and more investment in infrastructure and public  transportation to provide affordable options to travel not just to other jurisdictions but  within our own 2 cities? 

Conservatives are committed to working to ensure Canadians have the quality infrastructure  we deserve, giving priority to projects that secure our recovery, create jobs and improve our  quality of life. I am proud of my advocacy for South Surrey-White Rock on this issue, and that  my Party leadership has listened. 

Conservatives pledge: 

  • to fund the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension the day before the Trudeau Liberals did.  Eventually, we will see an extension into South Surrey 
  • to fund the Massey Tunnel replacement, but Trudeau refused to do so when he was in  BC. For far too long, our regional gridlock has been put on the back burner. We need to  efficiently move people, goods and services from south of the Fraser
  • to fund the fortification of the White Rock Pier that will allow it to resist a future wild windstorm that broke it in half in December 2018. I understand the importance of our  Pier to the shoreline businesses and our overall community.  

Q13 Although we are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will likely not be the last  pandemic the country will have to deal with. What lessons have you and your party learned  to better respond in the future? How would your party handle things differently to prepare  people, businesses and the economy? 

We must never be caught unprepared as we were when COVID-19 hit last year. Conservatives  will make Canada more resilient, reduce our reliance on foreign countries like Communist China  and take seriously our responsibility to protect the health of Canadians. Caught unprepared, the  Trudeau Liberals made bad decisions that cost lives and crippled our economy. They were slow  to recognize the threat despite briefs from the intelligence community, and slow to react such  as closing down international flights where necessary. The UK ramped up domestic production  of PPE, and Taiwan was temperature testing and invoking PPE protocols at airports, when we  were floundering.  

We will ensure our country is ready to face future pandemics and other crises, including the  risks of bioterrorism through production of novel pathogens. We will increase domestic  production, work with the US to strengthen the North American supply chain of  pharmaceuticals, reduce our dependence on imports, overhaul the country’s National  Emergency Stockpile System to ensure we are supply ready, and upgrade our intelligence  gathering systems including restoring the Global Public Health Intelligence Network shut down  by the Trudeau Liberals. 

Q14 To date, parties running in the current election have made many spending commitments.  With regards to your own parties’ spending commitments, how does your party plan to pay  for them and how do you plan to secure funding for any commitments made specific to our  riding? 

With the only shrinking economy of the G7, Trudeau Liberals have nothing to show for running  reckless deficits and spending more than all of the previous Canadian governments combined.  We cannot afford 4 more years of this and tax hikes and saddling future generations with  mountains of debt. 

Through Canada’s fully costed Recovery Plan, we will pursue a responsible and measured  approach to balancing the budget over the next 10 years by running a disciplined government  that limits the growth of future spending and makes no cuts. We will maintain the current  federal spending commitments for public programs in 2021-22 while reducing the deficit by  85% over the next 5 years from $168 Billion this year down to below $25 Billion in 2025-26.

We will incentivize job growth, innovate with ultra-competitive tax rates, advance technological  research, overhaul our tax system, reduce red tape, invest in small business and attract  investment back to Canada that has hemorrhaged under Trudeau. This is how we will pay for  our SSWR infrastructure promises and bring prosperity back to this community. 

Q15 What would be your party’s strategy be to conduct diplomatic and trade relations with  nations contravening human rights conventions, like China and Afghanistan? 

Negotiation and diplomacy through strength and an unwavering human rights commitment. 

The Trudeau approach to Communist China has failed and weakened Canada’s standing in the  world. Under our leadership, Canada will conduct an open-eyed foreign policy that will stand up  to the threats of the China Communist Party and partner with like-minded countries across the  Indo-Pacific region enhancing security and trade with countries who value liberty and play by  the rules. Our relationship with China is complicated, and we understand that China is an  economic powerhouse that requires diplomacy through strength. However, Conservatives will  defend human rights by immediately banning imports of products made with enslaved Uyghur  labour. 

On Afghanistan, we will not recognize the Taliban Regime. Period. We will do everything in our  power to rescue our allies and citizens still trapped within the ruthless grasp of the Taliban and  look to welcoming those who will now be brutalized by this terrorist group. While Trudeau  dissolved Parliament, Kabul fell, and Canadian veterans are devastated by the abandonment of  those who saved Canadian lives. 

Q16 What is your Party’s position on Bill C-6 which calls for the ban on conversion therapy 

Conservatives agree that conversion therapy is wrong and should be banned. All the witnesses  that appeared before the House of Commons Justice Committee, including faith leaders, agreed Canadians should not be forced to change who they are. We know many Canadians have been  

harmed by this practice. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. I voted for  Bill C-6, despite all its flaws. The legislation should have protected against coercive practices,  while also clearly protecting good faith conversations. 

If the Liberals were serious about this, why did they wait until the last days of the parliamentary  session – as the government, the Trudeau Liberals controlled the legislative agenda – to get this  Bill in front of Parliament? Again, this is just another example demonstrating they are playing  politics and trying to divide Canadians, as opposed to building bridges and uniting Canadians. Bill C-6 died with Trudeau’s dissolution of Parliament.

 

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