Nanaimo-Ladysmith federal candidates. From left to right: Bob Chamberlin, Michelle Corfield, Jennifer Clarke, John Hirst, Paul Manly, Brian Marlatt, Geoff Stoneman, James Chumsa-Jones (Cole Schisler photo)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith federal candidates. From left to right: Bob Chamberlin, Michelle Corfield, Jennifer Clarke, John Hirst, Paul Manly, Brian Marlatt, Geoff Stoneman, James Chumsa-Jones (Cole Schisler photo)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates joust over access to healthcare and economic priorities

The candidates met Wednesday night for a debate at the Aggie Hall in Ladysmith

The federal candidates for Nanaimo-Ladysmith met Wednesday night for a debate at the Aggie Hall in Ladysmith. The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce hosted the debate. Jenna Forster was moderator for the evening.

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates Q&A

Candidates discussed their priorities for growing small and medium businesses, improving access to healthcare in the riding, and took questions from the audience.

Chamberlin challenges Manly on pharmacare

NDP candidate Bob Chamberlin and Green MP Paul Manly clashed over the Green Party’s proposed universal pharmacare plan. Chamberlin referenced a CBC article, which gave the Green proposal a “failing grade” in a fiscal credibility assessment by Kevin Page, a former parliamentary budget officer who heads the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa.

Manly said Page’s assessment did not include all the facts.

“The platform that was sent to Kevin Page was missing the notes that explained different aspects of the budget and the platform. That has all been sent back to Kevin Page and he is re-reviewing it right now,” Manly said. “We’re going to see that come up by the weekend or early next week.”

Manly advocated for the use of deficits as a tool to “invest in people” through education, infrastructure, and healthcare. Chamberlin questioned whether the notes would make a difference.

“The numbers in the Green Party platform simply didn’t add up. Notes are not going to correct the figures that are in the tables,” Chamberlin said.

Access to health care top of mind for candidates

All candidates agreed that there is a shortage of doctors, nurses, and mental health workers in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. PPC candidate Jennifer Clarke said that Canadians receive “sick care” instead of healthcare. She said the PPC would take $40 billion in GST and devote it to health care.

Brian Marlatt of the Progressive Canadian Party advocated for a national purchasing agency to buy pharmaceuticals and distribute them at a lower price throughout the country.

On the note of pharmacare, Michelle Corfield said the Liberals will invest $6 billion in a national pharmacare strategy over the next four years. She also said the Liberals would fund mental health and at home care for seniors.

Both John Hirst and Manly advocated for the creation of a tertiary hospital in the riding. They said the hospital would improve care for cardiac and cancer patients in the area. Corfield later refuted the idea, saying that any new hospital projects are under provincial jurisdiction.

“The federal government does not have control over hospitals. That is a federal transfer to provinces, provinces choose how they spend their money. So, neither of you are getting a tertiary hospital,” she said.

Economic priorities

On the growth of small and medium business, the candidates largely kept to statements from past debates.

PPC candidate Jennifer Clarke repeated her pledge to end corporate welfare, and cut taxes to a flat tax of 10 percent. She also advocated for the removal of interprovincial trade barriers.

Independent Geoff Stoneman advocated for a shift away from fossil fuels to grow green economy in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, he said that shift would benefit small businesses.

“The only way to continue a strong economy is to start shifting away from oil and gas… If we simply start abolishing an energy industry without finding a replacement for it, no business, whether it be small, large, or medium sized is going to succeed,” Stoneman said.

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

Manly cited his experience as a small business owner, and said that while there’s a lot of incentives for small businesses in the riding, there aren’t many opportunities to take those businesses to the next level. He also advocated for investment in education, specifically at Vancouver Island University to provide job training for high-skill jobs.

Chamberlin said the NDP has advocated for reduced taxes for small and medium businesses, and said the NDP will form a “single point access” for regulatory process and compliance for exporting goods internationally.

Hirst said small businesses made up 98 percent of all corporations in Canada, and said the over 78,000 of them on Vancouver Island drive the economy forward. Hirst said if elected, a Conservative government would repeal Liberal tax changes of 2017 to reduce the tax burden on small business. He toed the party line and claimed Liberals treat small businesses like wealthy tax cheats, and said it was time for them to “get ahead.”

“If you own a small business in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, you need to vote for me on October 21,” Hirst said.

Smaller parties on the chopping block

The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce will host a candidates forum on October 10 that will only feature candidates from parties with MPs sitting in the House of Commons.

This means that Geoff Stoneman, Jennifer Clarke, Brian Marlatt, and James Chumsa-Jones will not be included.

There will also be a candidates meeting on Gabriola Island on October 5, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. It is expected that all candidates will attend.

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

Just Posted

The Millstone River in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Regional district looks at value of Nanaimo’s natural assets

Report focused on the Millstone River could inform future decisions on corporate asset management

Protesters gather along the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue in downtown Nanaimo last month as part of an event called Worth More Standing. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: B.C. hasn’t managed forests properly

Protesters opposing logging in Fairy Creek speak for many British Columbians, say letter writers

Nanaimo singer Victoria Vaughn recently released an EP with local producer Austin Penner. (Photo courtesy Taylor Murray)
Nanaimo singer and recent VIU grad releases EP about becoming an adult

Victoria Vaughn’s ‘Growing Pains’ recorded with local producer Austin Penner

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Air Canada, Harbour Air flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Rebates through Clean B.C.’s Better Homes New Construction program are available, says the City of Nanaimo. (Vancouver Island University photo)
Energy-efficient home builds in Nanaimo eligible for up to $15K in rebates

All building permits issued on, or after, April 1, 2020 eligible, says City of Nanaimo

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Noel Brown, Snuneymuxw First Nation carver, observes the house post he carved, which now is situated in front of the Kw’umut Lelum centre on Centre Street in Nanaimo. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
House post representative of work of Kw’umut Lelum in Nanaimo

Snuneymuxw First Nation artist Noel Brown’s carved red cedar house post unveiled Friday, April 16

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read