The Gabriola Ratepayers and Residents Association hosted an all-candidates meeting for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding on Oct. 5. Among topics discussed, the economy, reconciliation and anchorages. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

The Gabriola Ratepayers and Residents Association hosted an all-candidates meeting for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding on Oct. 5. Among topics discussed, the economy, reconciliation and anchorages. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Immigration, abortion among topics at Gabriola all-candidates’ meeting

Eight of the nine Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates were on Gabriola Island for a debate Saturday

Abortion, immigration and anchorages were among topics of debate at a meeting of prospective Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates on Gabriola Island on Saturday.

Gabriola Ratepayers and Residents Association hosted an all-candidates meeting at Gabriola Community Hall, with Bob Chamberlin (NDP), James Chumsa (Communist Party of Canada), Jennifer Clarke (People’s Party of Canada), Michelle Corfield (Liberal Party of Canada), Paul Manly (Green Party of Canada), Brian Marlatt (Progressive Canadian Party), Geoff Stoneman (independent) and Echo White (independent) participating.

When asked what the NDP would do about reconciliation and indigenous relations, Chamberlin, a former Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs vice-president, pointed out that the Liberals failed to implement the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Romeo Saganash, NDP MP in Quebec, tabled an independent private member’s bill, but the Liberal government didn’t make it a priority and it was “shot down by the Conservatives” in the Senate, Chamberlin said.

“This is about human rights,” said Chamberlin. “This is about the proper place and being consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada rulings, which is supposed to be guiding the government. The NDP will implement the [declaration]. It’s only been enacted once in Canada. I was the chief negotiator. We got fish farms out of the water.”

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates keep climate at forefront of debate

Clarke and Stoneman both fielded a question related to their economic platforms, with Clarke stating her party would eliminate all corporate welfare.

“We’re getting rid of it all and that means corporate subsidies, so we’re not going to pick the winners and the losers anymore,” said Clarke. “We’re going to let the free market decide who the winners and losers are. The taxpayers are not going to be subsidizing that. We’re lowering taxes to a flat tax of 10 per cent for businesses and we’re going to make sure that the inter-provincial trade barriers are removed so we can trade freely between our own provinces … we’re going to make sure that CRTC is going to be de-regulated. Your cellphone costs are going to come down, internet costs are going to come down, all telecommunication costs will come down.”

RELATED: Candidates joust over access to health care and economy

Stoneman said he had no intention to reduce taxes.

“When it comes to taxes, I know that on average 42 and 44 per cent of our income goes to taxes in one form or another,” said Stoneman. “As a Canadian who really, really likes our social programs, I like our health care program, my [wife] right now is on maternity leave, I have friends that occasionally end up on EI being in the trades business, I’m not going to cut taxes. I have no interest in cutting taxes. I think Canadian life is about as good as life is going to get anywhere in the world right now.”

Manly tackled a question related to abortion and some of his party members’ views on it.

“As I stated at the start, we sign up to a policy book and we sign a contract with the Green Party and the [policy] on a women’s right to choose is to oppose any possible government movement to move to diminish the right of a woman to a safe, legal abortion,” said Manly. “We fully support a woman’s right to choose. We will also expand programs and reproductive rights and education to avoid unwanted pregnancies and expand supports for low-income mothers. So I am unequivocal about a women’s right to choose. Elizabeth May is unequivocal about a women’s right to choose. What [May] does not have is the power to whip or silence MPs, like other party leaders do.”

Clarke addressed her party’s views on immigration.

“All the other parties are for open borders, particularly the Green Party,” said Clarke. “They want 450,000 UN-vetted immigrants coming into Canada … Right now, we have open borders where people are fleeing upstate New York and as you know, the United States is not a Third World country and it is not a place where there is severe persecution happening.

“Every refugee family is costing us Canadians $60,000 a year and that is putting pressure on our dental system, our medical system, our social services in many ways. There’s an absolute cognitive dissonance between the fact there are people that are just walking across the borders and pushing the true refugees down on the waitlist seven to eight years. People that are in persecuted nations, that are in impoverished nations are not actually able to come here, the true refugees. So we’re going to make sure we bring things down to 150,000 per year, properly vetted.”

Clarke also said her party would increase economic immigrants to 50 per cent so there are doctors, lawyers and engineers to help fulfill what is needed in Canada.

When candidates were asked a question related to anchorages, Corfield, a Nanaimo Port Authority director, said Transportation Minister Marc Garneau and his ministry are aware of the matter.

“He and the [ministry] are working towards this, it’s just taking time,” said Corfield. “I need people to be patient. You have to collect the data, so we know, so we can move forward and I think that’s one of the best steps. Have the data, have the monitoring.”

John Hirst, Conservative Party of Canada candidate, was not in attendance.

The election is Oct. 21.

RELATED: Vancouver Island NDP candidates concerned about freighter anchorages


More from the News Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is the recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is the recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Multi-disciplinary Snuneymuxw artist named ‘Emerging Cultural Leader’

Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo mixed-use building wins top prize at commercial building awards

Village on Third was Judges’ Choice winner at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

Nanaimo RCMP had been seeking help finding a 50-year-old woman who hadn’t been seen for two days. She has since been found safe. (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP report that woman who had been missing has been found

50-year-old located and is ‘safe and sound,’ say police

Commercial Street and other areas of Nanaimo’s downtown are now part of a new business improvement area following a petition-against process this spring. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: BIA process wasn’t fair to small business

Mom-and-pop shops will be challenged to pay the levy during hard times, says letter writer

Nanaimo RCMP report that a number of scams, many of them familiar, have recently resurfaced in Nanaimo and cost victims thousands of dollars. (File photo)
Nanaimo man scammed after lending money and receiving fake gold jewelry in return

RCMP provide details of several recent scams to warn the public

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo mixed-use building wins top prize at commercial building awards

Village on Third was Judges’ Choice winner at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nanaimo city council has voted to deploy speed-reduction measures for the summer along Departure Bay Road and to consult with area residents and road users to explore ways to further reduce vehicle speeds in the Departure Bay Beach area. (News Bulletin file photo)
City will again lower speed limit on Departure Bay Road to 40km/h

City of Nanaimo will consult with stakeholders for ideas to reduce speeds past the beach

Most Read