The North Delta Reporter sent all seven candidates hoping to represent Delta in Parliament five questions to gauge their positions on some of the big issues for Deltans in the 2019 federal election. We gave candidates a limit of 900 words total to answer. Here’s what Liberal Party candidate Carla Qualtrough had to say…
(Note, the candidates’ answers have been edited for length, clarity and to conform with Canadian Press style, as required.)
1) What is you/you party’s plan to combat climate change and safeguard the environment for future generations?
There is no issue more important to our future than fighting climate change. The Liberal government is taking bold action to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change across all sectors — from industry to buildings, transportation and agriculture.
We have put a price on pollution, invested in the Oceans Protection Plan, banned harmful single-use plastics by 2021, and declared a national climate emergency. Unlike the Conservatives, we are also investing in better public transit in communities across Canada, supporting renewable energy, investing in energy efficient buildings and phasing out coal. By 2025, we plan to protect 25 per cent of our oceans, freshwater and land.
In addition, I commit to take bold action to protect our environment here in Delta, including restoring local ecosystems and natural habitats, in particular the Fraser River Estuary, and transitioning open-net pen salmon farming to inland closed-containment systems.
2) How do you/your party plan to make homes in Delta more affordable for new buyers as well as increase the number of available rental units in the community?
All Canadians deserve a safe and affordable place to call home. That’s why our Liberal government will continue to implement the National Housing Strategy, a $40-billion plan primarily focused on the most vulnerable Canadians, including seniors, women and children fleeing from violence, Indigenous, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.
We aim to build 100,000 new units, repair 300,000 and cut homelessness by 50 per cent. To better address the needs Deltans, we have increased the First Time Home Buyers Incentive to $789,000. We will also increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time home buyers with greater access to their RRSP savings to buy.
3) How would you/your party reduce the tax burden for Delta families?
The Liberal government’s very first order of business was to cut taxes for nine million middle-class Canadians and raise taxes on the wealthiest one per cent.
We plan to continue to make life more affordable by raising the Basic Personal Exemption by 15 per cent, bringing it to $15,000. This will lift about 38,000 Canadians out of poverty, more than double the impact of Andrew Scheer’s proposed tax cut. This will benefit all Canadians, but most importantly those that need it most.
One of our initiatives I’m most proud of is the Canadian Child Benefit, a benefit targeted to families who need it the most. In Delta, nearly 16,000 children receive an average of payment of $560/month. This results in nearly $5 million a month of tax-free money given to our Delta families to help pay for things like nutritious food, sports programs, music lessons and school supplies. We have increased the program twice, so it continues to rise with the cost of living.
The Conservatives voted against the Middle Class Tax Cut and the Canadian Child Benefit. Their proposal for tax credits benefit only those that can afford the activities in the first place and have been proven time and time again to not serve those who need it most.
4) What will you/your party do to support the growing number of seniors in our community?
Our government is committed to making life more affordable for our seniors as they age. We restored the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement back to 65 from 67, after Harper’s Conservatives increased it. We will move forward with increasing the Old Age Security benefit by 10 per cent when seniors turn 75, and will continue to raise it along with inflation. Additionally, we are modifying the GIS earnings exemption to allow low-income seniors to keep more earned money to make ends meet.
We are also committed to increasing the Canada Pension Plan survivor’s benefit by 25 per cent. In Delta alone, this increase — worth up to $2,080 in additional benefits every year — will give thousands of Delta’s seniors more money and peace of mind at a time when they need it the most.
Finally, we are committed to a National Pharmacare Program, and have invested $50 million to support Canada’s first National Dementia Program. We have dedicated funding for mental health and home care services so we can help seniors stay independent for longer and receive care in their homes whenever possible. For a community with an aging population like Delta, this matters.
5) Many Deltans are concerned about the shootings and other gang-related violence happening across the Lower Mainland. How will you/your party help reduce violent crime and keep law-abiding folks safe?
When we came into government, we discovered just how significantly the Conservatives had under-invested in essential personnel like the RCMP. Major crimes units were decimated. It has taken time and significant investment to rebuild this capacity. To better understand our community, I brought Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair to Delta to meet with Mayor Harvie and Police Chief Dubord to hear their concerns on how the federal government can support Delta and other municipalities in the fight against organized crime and gang violence.
Our Liberal government has committed $327.6 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $100 million annually thereafter, to tackle the increase in gun-related violence and gang activity in Canada. This initiative will support community-level prevention and enforcement efforts, leverage unique federal expertise and resources to reduce the illegal trafficking of firearms, and invest in border security to intercept illicit goods including guns and drugs.
Our platform also includes a bold initiative to ban assault-style semi-automatic rifles in Canada and launch a program to support municipalities in restricting and banning handguns in big cities.
The federal election takes place on Monday, Oct. 21.
Click here to read the other candidates’ answers.