Every election cycle, The Reminder sends questionnaires to all candidates running to hear their views on several key local issues.
This year, five candidates are running in the northern Manitoba riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski - all five have returned full answers. Those answers are presented below, as is The Reminder’s custom, in alphabetical order of the candidates’ last name - the NDP’s Niki Ashton, Conservative candidate Charlotte Larocque, Green Party candidate Ralph McLean, Liberal candidate Shirley Robinson and People’s Party candidate Dylan Young.
Along with those are answers from candidates running in the northern Saskatchewan riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River. All six candidates were contacted by The Reminder – two candidates responded, Conservative candidate Gary Vidal and Green Party of Canada candidate Nasser Dean Chalifoux, while the other four – Liberal candidate Buckley Belanger, NDP candidate Harmonie King, independent Stephen King and People’s Party of Canada candidate Dezirae Reddekopp - did not return answers before deadline.
The answers from Chalifoux and Vidal are included with those of the Churchill-Keewatinook Aski candidates, following the Manitoba candidates and once again, in alphabetical order - Chalifoux's first, then Vidal's.
All candidates were sent the same 15 questions, with loose word limits in place for each - around 80 for question one, 30 words at most for question 14 and around 60 words for all other questions. Answers that ran well in excess of those limits have been cut to meet the maximum limit.
The views presented below are those of the candidates and may not reflect the views of The Reminder or its employees.
1. Who are you and why are you running for office?
Niki Ashton, NDP candidate, Churchill-Keewatinook Aski: My name is Niki Ashton. I’m a proud northerner born and raised. I live in Thompson with my partner Bruce and our twins. I’m running to be reelected as your MP to keep up the fight for our region. A lot of wealth comes from our part of the country and yet so little of it comes back to our communities. Our north deserves fairness and justice. Our NDP plan puts people first, from real reconciliation to the need for good jobs, to expanded healthcare and better housing.
Charlotte Larocque, Conservative candidate, Churchill-Keewatinook Aski: The daughter of Bob and Eileen McMillan, Charlotte Larocque, Indigenous spirit name Kona Iskwew (Snow Woman) is working to create positive change to Secure Our Future. Of Metis descent, Charlotte Larocque has lived the majority of her life in Northern Manitoba. Coming back to the north six years ago, I noticed that nothing has changed in decades. The north has been forgotten. We deserve better. I am not a person to simply provide lip service, I take action. Sometimes my answers may not be what people want to hear, but I will respectfully speak the truth.
Ralph McLean, Green Party candidate, Churchill-Keewatinook Aski: I am Ralph McLean, your Green Party of Canada candidate. Born and raised in The Pas and I am of Indigenous ancestry. I am the newspaper editor for the Opasquia Times in The Pas. Being a newspaper editor has given me the knowledge to focus on the real issues in our riding. Our riding is suffering from decades of neglect both by the federal and provincial governments. We need serious action now, not just political talk.
Shirley Robinson, Liberal candidate, Churchill-Keewatinook Aski: I am a proud northern Manitoban. I share many of the frustrations of northerners and am inspired to be their voice for change. I was honoured to have Chiefs and Elders ask me to run with their full backing. I enjoy the support also of many in non-Indigenous communities who recognize that our current representation has not delivered. My 14 years as a Cross Lake band councillor have granted me the experience to negotiate and speak for all northern Manitobans.
Dylan Young, People's Party candidate, Churchill-Keewatinook Aski: My name is Dylan Young and I’m running for office because none of the other parties represent my views or ideals. Since they can’t represent me, I might as well run myself and give like-minded people an alternative to choosing the lesser of four evils.
Nasser Dean Chalifoux, Green candidate, Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River: I am Nasser Dean Chalifoux, also known as Naz to family and friends. I am a homesteader that settled in northeast Saskatchewan from Edmonton in 2007 and currently living with my wife of 16 years and 2 daughters, ages 10-11. I am running for office for many reasons, but the foremost reason is that I am very concerned with the environment and what we are leaving our children and future generations. I am a proponent to good, healthy change - change in how we treat our environment and one another.
Gary Vidal, Conservative candidate, Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River: My name is Gary Vidal and I’m your Conservative candidate. For over 30 years, I was a small business owner and accountant, for eight years I was the mayor of Meadow Lake and for the past nearly two years, I was Member of Parliament for this riding. I’m a husband, father and grandfather – I’m running for office because I felt called to serve my community and to work to make life better for not just my family, but all Canadians.
2. What have been the main issues you've heard from people in this riding? How have you communicated with Flin Flon-area voters?
Ashton: The main thing I’ve heard is disappointment with Trudeau. Whether on the feds’ health care cuts, his failure to protect good jobs or his lack of action on reconciliation, voters feel let down. This election is different than any other, given the pandemic. We’re running a COVID-cautious campaign. I was proud to launch our platform on expanded healthcare including mental health supports and restoration of birthing services in Flin Flon.
Larocque: There are many issues that need to be addressed in our region, many have been brushed under the rug and forgotten. Economic development, housing, infrastructure, mental wellness, water and environment, crime, healthcare, education, resources and many, many more. I have been talking to people and groups to view personal perspectives and working with them to find solutions. I have been reaching out through social media and telephone. I will be in Flin Flon next week.
McLean: We need more investment in communities, and small businesses need help. The cost of living is way too high, whether it be affordable housing or just having enough money to put food on the table. COVID-19 has only made it worse and a lot of people are suffering right now. Sadly, COVID-19 has hindered a door-to-door campaign.
Robinson: Northern Manitobans want to be heard and they want to see action. We’ve had 13 years of NDP representation with little to show for it. We need adequate responses to job losses in Flin Flon, declining mineral exploration, and decreased health care accessibility. We need major infrastructure spending to bring faster internet, better roads, and reliable rail service to our region.
Young: The main issues that people want addressed, insofar as I’ve heard, are Indigenous issues and COVID-19 issues. They tell me that they don’t want vaccine mandates or passports. They also tell me that they want someone to finally fulfill promises. The great majority of my communication with Flin Flon voters has been on facebook or by phone.
Chalifoux: The main issues are the degradation of infrastructure of some communities’ water delivery systems, creating water advisories and poor drinking water, raising the basic livable income to a higher level to reflect higher costs of living, self-determination and reconciliation for all Indigenous communities. The environment, climate change and the elevated wildfire threat for northern communities and drought conditions forcing many producers out of business. I have not communicated with Flin Flon-area voters in this election.
Vidal: I’ve had the privilege of visiting this area several times over the past two years, meeting with business owners, community leaders and residents. The top issue has always been the shutting down of Hudbay. In addition to that, I’ve heard from business owners that it has become very difficult to find staff as a result of the Liberal’s poorly designed programs.
3. What previous political experience do you have? If elected, what are your immediate plans when reaching Ottawa?
Ashton: I am proud to fight for the people of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski in Parliament. My hope is to keep fighting for our region. The COVID crisis showed the investments needed in healthcare, housing, and infrastructure. We need action at the federal level to put an end to these gaps. Unfortunately, successive Liberal and Conservative governments continue to prioritize their interests ahead of northern and Indigenous communities.
Larocque: I am not a career politician. I am someone that truly cares and wants to work with the people, communities and businesses to create prosperity and positive change to secure the future. When I get to Ottawa, it will be a steep learning curve, but I am up to up. Our voice needs to be heard. As the new MP, I am that voice for the people in this region. The CPC had a plan in place… (editor’s note: the candidate’s answer exceeded word limits and has been cut off)
McLean: This is my fourth time running as a candidate for the Green Party. I ran in 2015 in Edmonton-Mill Woods, 2019 in The Pas-Kameesak (provincial) followed by the immediate federal run in 2019 Churchill-Keewatinook Aski. My immediate plans when reaching Ottawa are to fight, kicking and screaming, every day to get better federal support for our riding. We haven’t had that for decades.
Robinson: My immediate plan if elected is to let the federal powers know that Flin Flon and the rest of northern Manitoba will no longer be ignored. I have served on Cross Lake Band Council since 2007, building extensive networks in our riding and across Canada. Having worked with industry, municipalities and bands, I know it takes more than words to facilitate change.
Young: I have no prior political experience. If I was elected, I would try to halt the illiberal restrictions on our rights and freedoms, such as vaccine passports or mandates.
Chalifoux: I have no official political experience. If elected, my immediate plans would be to give Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River the representation it deserves and immediately stand up on the issues straight from the communities, leaders and the people.
Vidal: I was elected mayor of Meadow Lake in 2011 and served until I resigned in 2019 to run to be Member of Parliament for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River. On October 19, 2019, I was elected Member of Parliament and if re-elected, I will focus on getting people back to work and businesses back running at 100 per cent.
4. What is your plan for the north’s economic future? How does Flin Flon fit into that plan?
Ashton: The wealth we produce is needed more than ever for new technologies and a changing world. We need a Made in Canada approach when it comes to producing new technologies. This means ensuring good jobs in our North, working in partnership with communities here, standing up to foreign ownership that takes us for granted, and ensuring our communities benefit. The Liberals and Conservatives won’t do that.
Larocque: The plan is to bring prosperity back to the region, get people back to work and boost economic development and growth. Flin Flon is a key component in making the positive changes happen.
McLean: We need more development in the north and to encourage mining development for rare earth metals or lithium deposits. I’m not against mining - I’m against tailings ponds and leaving behind legacy sites that are abandoned to the taxpayer to clean up. Modern legislation ensures environmental controls. The world is moving to a greener future and our natural resources will be a part of that.
Robinson: Our economic future depends on the sustainable procurement of natural resources. Rising global demand for metals presents a rich opportunity for Flin Flon, where mineral discoveries continue to be announced. Metals such as copper and zinc will fuel the global transition to a low-carbon, digitized economy. Regions that secure a position in shifting supply chains will be positioned for prosperity.
Young: I believe the economic future lies in the small communities. Traditionally, you would have to go to a larger city in order for your business to generate more and more return, but with the advancement of communication technology, you don’t need to live in large cities any more. With better and better connections, more and more possibilities open up - software, education, and etc.
Chalifoux: More self-reliance, like in agriculture, transitioning to crops like hemp and giving producers more options and freedom to create robust markets in a changing environment and economy. More jobs in forest management and fire mitigation services. Clean up lakes and rivers and enhance tourism. Responsible resource extraction and support to clean energy companies, startups, non-profits, technology manufacturing and services.
Vidal: After the year and a half of record debt, our country requires a government that will find ways to support economic growth across the country and across all sectors so that we can get people back to work. The Creighton/Denare Beach/Flin Flon communities are the perfect example of a region that Canada needs in that recovery.
5. Flin Flon’s main employer, Hudbay, is currently planning to shut down most of its operations within Flin Flon within the next year. As a candidate, how would you address this closure?
Ashton: The people of Flin Flon gave so much to Hudbay, it can’t simply pull out of Flin Flon. All levels of government must be part of any transition and ensure corporations like Hudbay commit in terms of jobs and community investment on an ongoing basis. We must work with the community and other mining companies that are committed to ensuring Flin Flon has a future that includes resource extraction.
Larocque: Prior to the election being called, I was looking at setting up a meeting with our leadership team and Hudbay. If elected, I would follow through on making that happen so we can discuss options to see if there are ways to allow the company to continue its operations, workers to still be employed and opportunity to be in the area.
McLean: One of the most promising deposits is the Callinex development. Ongoing drilling will determine its size. Further reserve and resource calculation will determine whether it has the tons and grade. With the projected closure by Hudbay in 2022, it gives some hope to the area. They call it the “Anti-Mines” branch for a reason - tell Ottawa and the province to get out of your way.
Robinson: While my goal is zero layoffs from this transition, Liberals support job training and EI enhancements for those in need. Serious conversations must also begin with stakeholders, government officials and Hudbay regarding opportunities for additional job creation. I believe the Flin Flon region has an exciting future thanks in part to the Liberal plan to double the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit.
Young: I believe that the best way to remedy this is to encourage entrepreneurship and industry in the north. With more industry, the demand for copper and zinc will rise and Hudbay (or another company) would find it appealing to reopen the mine. This can’t be forced, however, and must happen organically. To impose your will on the markets is only pushing back the clock.
Chalifoux: Mining and mineral extraction is a finite process, therefore should not be relied on for the long term. We need to become more self-reliant and diversify our local economies, focusing more on job creation in the clean energy sector, such as wind and solar and the responsible/equitable extraction of raw materials, minerals and resources.
Vidal: As MP, my team and I have been actively engaged on this issue. It’s vital to the whole region to find and utilize any potential within the resource sector that exists currently or will in the future. I know that the current municipal representatives are working extremely hard at finding solutions and I’ll continue to assist in any way I can.
6. What measures to benefit northern Manitoba/Saskatchewan and Flin Flon would you wish to add to a federal budget?
Ashton: We must restore cuts to healthcare funding brought in by Harper and continued by Trudeau. We must expand healthcare to include pharmacare and mental health. We must restore birthing services in Flin Flon at the provincial level. We need major investment in seniors’ housing and affordable housing. We need investments in affordable high-speed internet. We need a Green New Deal that prioritizes good jobs tied to tackling climate change.
Larocque: This is all outlined in the CPC plan, which can be found at https://www.conservative.ca/plan/.
McLean: Billions are needed in the north. My job would be to chase that money for every community. I’ll make it fall off the back of a truck - they can bill me - but no one is going to invest anything unless there is a payout at the end. We have the natural resources, we have the know-how, we lack leadership.
Robinson: Liberals supported Canadians throughout the pandemic. This support must continue through other challenges, such as the next COVID-19 wave and extreme weather events. I welcomed recent federal funding for the new Flin Flon pool. Liberals also strongly support Flin Flon’s rich arts and culture scene. Federal incentives must stay in place to encourage development by Hudbay and other mining companies.
Young: While I believe there are indeed fiscal policies to help northern Manitoba, I believe that the first point on the agenda should be to reduce the deficit. We should be tightening our belts for the sake of future Canadians. If we want tomorrow’s Canadians to be able to borrow, we must act while we can.
Chalifoux: Guaranteed livable income, to help cut into the unemployment/poverty issue. More federal assistance to provincial health care. More resources for people with disabilities and to institute a formal wildfire mitigation service.
Vidal: The Conservative platform includes an expansion to the Northern Residence Tax Deduction to offset the increased cost of living. Northern Saskatchewan will become one zone and the amount available to claim will be double that of the current Northern Zone – including medical travel claims. This means approximately $2,400 per year (in addition to travel benefits).
7. What is your plan regarding northern health care, specifically with health care in the Flin Flon area? What role can the federal government play in health issues?
Ashton: Healthcare funding must be restored now. Federally, Conservatives and Liberals have cut our health care transfers. This was magnified by the cuts made by the PC provincial government. Our NDP plan will increase health transfers and bring in head-to-toe healthcare (pharmacare, mental health, eye, dental). We must also restore birthing services in Flin Flon. It’s unacceptable that families here are not able to give birth at their nearby hospital.
Larocque: The CPC are committed to health care and mental health funding. The last year has made clear the mental health crisis we face. It’s time to make it clear that mental health is health and to treat it properly. Boost funding to the provinces for mental health care. Provide incentives to employers to provide mental health coverage to employees. Create a nationwide, three-digit suicide prevention hotline.
McLean: Health care is a provincial issue. All you can do is advocate for more transfers federally. Provincial governments have been either raiding this money or refusing it on political lines for far too long. Stop voting for people who are working against you. We need more international recruiting to fill our doctor shortage.
Robinson: Health care is delivered by provinces, with federal funding. I’m frustrated by the PCs’ and NDP’s mismanagement of Flin Flon health care. Money is not the issue, as Liberals continue to boost funding, including an additional $3 billion for 7,500 new doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners. We must rebuild a health-care system ravaged by COVID-19 while ensuring accountability from provinces.
Young: I believe that the government should take a step back and allow provinces to decide health issues on their own. With a monopoly on health care, the government condemns it to mediocrity. A private health-care system should be encouraged, in addition to the existing public option. To put a spin on the old saying, “health care delayed is health care denied.”
Chalifoux: As most health care falls under provincial jurisdiction, but federally, more money and resources should be diverted to help with the growing need to serve a larger senior population. The Green Party have a comprehensive mental health strategy focusing on issues like drug addiction and suicide prevention.
Vidal: We will increase health transfers to the provinces by six per cent, a $60 billion commitment over 10 years. For Indigenous mental health, we will make record investments in mental health and drug treatment programs. Regarding the region specifically, the expansion and doubling of the Northern Tax Reduction will help offset the cost of medical trips that are required by residents.
8. What measures would you propose to assist Indigenous people and communities?
Ashton: Trudeau’s Liberals missed their deadline to end boil water advisories, blocked my motion to support searches on residential schools and spend billions fighting First Nations in court. On issue after issue, they fail First Nations. We must fully adopt the TRC recommendations, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, properly fund First Nations health care, address the housing crisis and stop fighting First Nations in court.
Larocque: We need to identify the root cause of many of the issues and learn from them. True reconciliation is coming together to create a win-win. I would like to see a program that includes land-based training. We need to bring the pride and hope back to many. Many of the businesses I invision are by Indigenous, for Indigenous and address the need for housing, water, education, mental wellness, quality of life, etc.
McLean: Seek funding for and promote more for Indigenous communities, schools, livable housing, infrastructure, training, employment, language preservation, environmental concerns, clean water. Indigenous peoples make up 75 per cent of this riding and the basic needs list is long, but we need to start somewhere, pick one issue and go from there. It is just a lack of political will.
Robinson: I support Indigenous communities in moving away from the oppressive Indian Act and toward self-government. I want opportunities for education and training so we may lift our families out of systematic marginalization. Indigenous funding has skyrocketed under the Liberals, but much work lies ahead in achieving equality. I will hold the government accountable to ensure northern Manitoba continues to benefit.
Young: The way to help Indigenous communities is two-fold. First, we must ensure that some variation of the First Nations fiscal transparency policy that was introduced under Harper be brought back. Secondly, we must promote property rights in these communities. To be in control of your own property and land inspires confidence and stability.
Chalifoux: Self-determination and reconciliation, honor the treaties, proper care and maintenance of aging water infrastructure, roads and housing. Affordable food and food security. Supporting and building reliable clean energy infrastructure.
Vidal: I am very excited about the measures included in Canada’s Recovery Plan for Indigenous Peoples. First, a record investment for culturally sensitive mental health support - $1 billion over the next five years. Secondly, our platform includes several measures to support Indigenous businesses to expand and grow. Lastly, we will make access to clean drinking water a human right.
9. What are your main concerns regarding environmental conservation? Do you support carbon pricing?
Ashton: Climate change is here and we’ve seen its impact across our region - record forest fires, heatwaves and droughts. Instead of being part of the solution, Trudeau’s Liberals gave $18 billion to oil and gas companies last year alone and even bought a pipeline. Our NDP plan will completely eliminate the billion-dollar giveaway to big oil and invest that money in conservation efforts and the green jobs of the future.
Larocque: Our environment is extremely important. Whether it be the water, animals or the land, we need to take care if it properly. If we disrupt it, then we have to ensure we make it right by either returning it to what it was or leaving it the way we found it. Our lives depend on having a healthy Earth.
McLean: Greens actually don’t support a carbon tax. We believe polluters should pay - not you the consumer, but rather the industry that creates it. $23 billion of your taxpayer dollars have been given to the oil and gas industry by the Liberal government, for them to not do anything and pay dividends to shareholders. Planting trees would have a better use for that money.
Robinson: Northern Manitobans have a powerful connection to the environment. I will preserve the environment, ensure polluters pay and tackle emissions without hampering our economic wellbeing. Our government is lowering vehicle, oil and gas emissions and expanding clean electricity. I favour carbon pricing because it lowers emissions while providing rebates to families, ensuring the cost is borne by the proper entities.
Young: I believe that environmental conservation measures should be encouraged through technological innovation. While preservation is good, excessive preservation leads to the deterioration of the health of these ecosystems. We must allow natural processes to occur, such as controlled fires. The PPC will abolish the carbon tax at the federal level and allow the provinces and territories to decide if they want to do such a thing.
Chalifoux: And technologies to combat the rising CO2 levels. Carbon pricing is not the answer to solve our issues with the environment - it is us taking action, on a personal level, and collectively through legislation.
Vidal: Canada’s Conservatives have a serious plan to combat climate change that allows us to meet our targets and reduce emissions by 2030, all while repealing Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms – but not one where the government pockets your money.
10. In your view, how has COVID-19 affected the north? How has the pandemic affected your platform?
Ashton: COVID-19 had a disproportionate impact here. First Nations and northerners went above and beyond. We supported our region, securing PPE, bringing in the military, and prioritizating vaccines. We also pushed for income supports. The Liberals wanted to give people one-time cheques, but the NDP fought for $2,000-per-month CERB and the wage subsidy so people could survive. With the fourth wave, long-term investment in healthcare and housing are needed.
Larocque: Much of the Secure the Future Plan is about addressing and overcoming the adverse effects of COVID-19. Many businesses have struggled, some of which did not survive. Many lives were unfortunately lost. This combined with the stress, isolation and other factors has been very difficult on the mental health of many. Jobs were lost, families struggled due to additional strains. Our hope is to address all of these issues and more.
McLean: Small businesses are suffering more than ever. I would support the continued wage subsidy for small business owners. Big corporate entities do not need bailouts. Corporate online stores are not the ones that sponsor or buy raffle tickets for your community organizations. Local small businesses do. Your tax dollars should be spent on you and your community.
Robinson: When COVID-19 struck, the Liberal government quickly identified the north as a priority region. Canada’s vaccination effort has been among the most successful in the world and we have been lauded for our prompt rollout of the CERB benefit. We deserve a government and MP that will continue to provide generous, compassionate support as we enter the fourth wave of COVID-19.
Young: If we all exist as drifting islands, COVID-19 has certainly caused us to drift further apart than ever. I imagine that the most-affected are the elderly, not because they’re more susceptible, but because they haven’t been able to experience life with family and friends in their waning years. The pandemic has strengthened our platform’s stance on liberties and freedoms.
Chalifoux: Yes, COVID-19 has affected the north. The restrictions I follow prevent me from going all out - even though I am fully vaccinated and mask up, I am still concerned about the transmission of the virus.
Vidal: Northern Saskatchewan’s mental health crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to that, remote and rural communities have been disproportionately affected by rising costs before the pandemic and are now being left behind in post-pandemic recovery. The five pillars of Canada’s Recovery Plan include concrete measures to help find solutions to both these important issues.
11. What is your stance on electoral reform? Would changing Canada's election system be a priority for you?
Ashton: We need to reform our electoral system to stop giving false majorities. It’s a shame neither the Liberals nor Conservatives value that. Trudeau promised that 2015 would be the last election under first-past-the-post but as we see time and time again, he is more concerned with maximizing his own power rather than increasing our democracy.
Larocque: To me, a transparent, non-corrupt team that truly cares for this country and the people is what is needed. This is the team that Erin O’Toole is putting together.
McLean: Canada is one of the few westernized nations that does not have some kind of proportional representation. Greens support mixed member proportional representation. Regardless of who you vote for, you should have representation in government. The vast majority of us who vote elect no one. Fair Vote Canada is a good resource to learn more, at fairvote.ca
Robinson: We all have a shared responsibility to protect and promote our democracy. This means working to engage Canadians from all walks of life in our electoral process and democratic institutions. Canadians themselves ultimately decide, through the power of voting, what electoral reforms are needed. Right now, my priorities are our economy and social supports as we begin to emerge from COVID-19.
Young: I don’t have a stance on electoral reform.
Chalifoux: Electoral reform is needed to catch up with modern times. The current process creates division amongst the electorate as the political parties fight over who gets to sit in the driver’s seat, creating disillusionment and voter apathy. Mandatory voting must be instituted and the elimination of the political party system, in favor of a more regional grassroots representation system.
Vidal: Honestly, I have not spent time thinking about what reforms are needed in our electoral system because I have spent my time as the MP working to make the current system better for the residents that I represent.
12. Would you consider you and/or your party to be running a clean campaign? What about your opponents?
Ashton: Our campaign is focused on what I’m always focused on; visiting across our region and fighting for northern and Indigenous communities. I think the type of dirty tricks and personal attacks you see from some other campaigns turn voters off.
Larocque: I can not speak on behalf of my opponents, nor would I speak ill of them, but I ensure you that my campaign is completely clean. People deserve to be represented in a fair and honest way. How can a candidate say they are honest and fair if their campaign is about fighting others, playing games telling people just what they want to hear just to get their votes? Actions speak louder than words.
McLean: What campaign? We are in the shortest election campaign in Canadian history. The vast majority of citizens never asked for this unnecessary election and no one wants a stranger at their door during COVID. The Greens’ platform is here. www.greenparty.ca/en/platform
Robinson: Our campaign is clean and expects the same from all parties. A respectful exchange of ideas is vital. I must say, however, that the NDP has endeavoured to bash the Liberals on social media, perhaps as an attempt to injure me as an Indigenous candidate. Their strategy has me forging ahead stronger. We are resilient; our people have been through much.
Young: Yes. I believe our campaigns are very clean. My local opponents have also behaved appropriately and respectfully during their campaigns. They behave according to their principles, which is exactly what’s valuable in a political candidate.
Chalifoux: The Green Party does not resort to (dirty) attacks or respond to attacks. As to my opponents, we all know their game.
Vidal: Yes. I believe that Canadians have been asked to sacrifice a lot over the last year and a half and they deserve a government that has a serious plan to guide the country during the recovery. As we have seen with the momentum of the Conservative Party during the campaign, Canadians are ready for a change.
13. What policy or practice do you disagree with your party on and why?
Ashton: I’m proud to be from a party that reflects and represents the priorities of northern and Indigenous communities. Our NDP team fights for what matters to communities like ours - real reconciliation, the need for good jobs, healthcare, housing, action on climate change.
Larocque: (editor’s note: the candidate did not provide an answer for this question)
McLean: All of our policy and platform is progressive and is fully costed. Having worked oil and gas for a decade, I can tell you that the climate emergency is real and needs to be addressed immediately. All of our other policies are years ahead of any other party - that is why they steal them, sometimes word for word.
Robinson: The Liberals have been responsive to the needs of Canadians in countless ways, especially during this economy-crippling pandemic. We provided CERB assistance, made Canada one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, and now work to lower unemployment each day. My regret is that we have not had a Liberal MP capable of effectively communicating our region’s diverse needs.
Young: The only practice I half-disagree with is when my fellow candidates use harsh rhetorical language to chastise our opponents - but each and every time, I realize that this is the exact tone we should be using to chastise people who believe our liberties and rights exist at the convenience of Canada. These rights are part of who we are.
Chalifoux: None. It’s a great party, a lot of energy and sacrifice has gone into over many years by many dedicated people. Canada’s true governing party.
Vidal: I would like to see a greater level of decorum in the House of Commons during Question Period from all parties, mine included.
14. In 30 words or less - What is your elevator pitch for undecided voters?
Ashton: I am proud to have gotten results for our region. On September 20, I am asking for your support to keep up the fight for fairness and justice for our north.
Larocque: Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The time for positive change is now because nothing changes if nothing changes… (editor’s note: the candidate’s answer exceeded word limits and has been cut off)
McLean: If you are undecided, ask yourself this question - do you love your children and/or your grandchildren? If the answer is yes, like Obi-Wan, we are their only hope. Vote Green.
Robinson: Let’s elect a powerful new voice that will be heard in Ottawa. Let’s elect an Indigenous MP who reflects 80 per cent of our riding. Let’s elect a stronger direction.
Young: Every single election in history has always been considered the most important election so far. If you don’t vote for your principles this time, when will you?
Chalifoux: As a representative of the Green Party of Canada, which has adopted a core value system as a political guide, I am free from the party whip or party line.
Vidal: If you want to know what I will do, look at what I have done. I have worked hard since 2019 and am proud to run on my record.
15. What question do you wish we would have asked?
Ashton: Issues related to economic justice. Inequality is increasing in Canada. For too long, Liberals and Conservatives have rewarded the ultra-wealthy with tax credits and subsidies, while everyone else goes without necessities like pharmacare, childcare or affordable housing. We desperately need a wealth tax in this country so that billionaires pay their fair share. Only the NDP will fight for that.
Larocque: (editor’s note: the candidate did not provide an answer for this question)
McLean: How about the actual skills sets of those who are running? For example, I have over ten years’ experience working on billion-dollar capital infrastructure projects in management/supervisory roles and can converse intelligently on a thousand topics. I’m ready to start working on day one.
Robinson: The 14 questions are comprehensive and cover a wide range of topics.
Young: I believe that questions on education should’ve been asked. Radical curriculums are spreading across the western world, in situations where the parents’ opinions were never asked. If this is going on, we should stop them, and even if it’s not, we should safeguard the system to make sure it doesn’t happen. If the US, UK, and Australia are susceptible, why would you assume we aren’t?
Chalifoux: Where do you stand on child poverty, racism, gun violence, drug addiction, mental health, more resources for the disabled, the climate crisis, agriculture reform, clean energy, Internet crimes and the illegal animal trade…
Vidal: Being a historic hockey hotbed, I am surprised there wasn't a question about my favorite SJHL team?