Green Party of Canada candidate for Delta Craig DeCraene. (Photo submitted)

Delta MP candidate Q&A: Craig DeCraene

The Reporter sent candidates five questions about some of the biggest issues for Delta residents

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 Green Party candidate Craig DeCraene 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?

The Green Party’s comprehensive climate plan is called Mission:Possible. It envisions attaining net-zero emissions by 2050, primarily by phasing out fossil fuels, which comprise 54 per cent of Canada’s GHG emissions, and transitioning fully to renewable energy. This will be accompanied by greater scrutiny of natural resource management and concerted efforts to minimize solid waste and plastic use, which contribute to overall pollution.

Fighting climate change is not just an environmental or natural resources challenge. It will involve significant changes to agricultural and food production, support for workers through changes to the labour market, stringent protections for health and responsible management of land and water, as well as our plan called Just Transition to help transition oil and gas and coal workers to renewable energy jobs.

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?

We will enhance the federal government’s contribution to meeting the housing needs of Canadians through direct investments, changes to tax policies, and lending and granting programs, putting the government’s focus where it is urgently needed. We will also legislate housing as a legally protected fundamental human right for all Canadians and permanent residents.

We will appoint a Minister of Housing to strengthen the National Housing Strategy so it meets the unique needs for affordable housing in each province, and oversee its implementation in collaboration with provincial ministers, recognizing housing is a provincial jurisdiction. The target would be 25,000 new and 15,000 rehabilitated units annually for the next 10 years.

We will increase the National Housing Co-investment Fund by $750 million for new builds and the Canada Housing Benefit by $750 million for rent assistance for 125,000 households, and create a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy that would update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing in partnership with CMHC, co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders.

3) How would you/your party reduce the tax burden for Delta families?

We would bring in a guaranteed liveable income. Every citizen would be receiving this income from the government monthly. This would help to end poverty as every Canadian would have the money to pay rent, bills, put food on the table, etc. Having that stress taken away in everyday life would help alleviate stress and raise the well-being of Canadians. If you make over a certain threshold, the money would be paid back at tax time.

4) What will you/your party do to support the growing number of seniors in our community?

Green Party pledges such as the Guaranteed Livable Income, pharmacare, public transportation, home retrofits and affordable housing all contribute to seniors’ quality of life. Also, we plan to develop a National Seniors Strategy to ensure CPP remains robust and adaptive to changing needs and circumstances by increasing over time the target income replacement rate from 25 to 50 per cent of income received during working years. We’ll regulate the CPP Investment Board to require divestment of coal, oil and gas shares and ensure all investments are ethical and promote environmental sustainability, support innovative home-sharing plans and other measures to allow people to stay in their own homes as long as possible, create more long-term care beds in neighbourhood facilities, and protect private pensions by amending the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act during company insolvency proceedings.

In collaboration with health professionals and provincial/territorial governments, we will develop and fund a national dementia strategy. Within 25 years, the number of Canadians living with a form of dementia could reach 1.3 million, imposing the highest economic, social and health costs of all diseases. The strategy would support research, improve quality of life for patients and caregivers, and educate the public to increase awareness and reduce stigma.

We will amend Medical Assistance in Dying legislation to ensure that everyone has the choice of dying with dignity. This includes allowing advance directives and guaranteeing the right to draw up a “living will” that gives individuals the power to limit or refuse medical intervention and treatment.

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?

We need to get to the root of the problem why people turn to gang life. We want to bring in a guaranteed liveable income to help people who feel like they have nowhere else to turn to for money, and add mental health coverage to the Canadian Health Act to ensure people get the help they need. Too many times, people turn to gang life because they are running away from problems. If we were able to freely seek help to deal with issues, maybe gang life wouldn’t seem as a viable option.

Also, we need to strengthen measures to combat gun smuggling and the possession of banned weapons. We must ensure that law-abiding citizens pursuing legal activities in target shooting or hunting are free from unreasonable fees and the threat of criminalization. We will provide increased support for Integrated Border Enforcement Teams made up of officers from the RCMP, Canada Border Services, U.S. Customs and the U.S. Coast Guard in their gathering of intelligence and arresting of gun smugglers.

We will also put strict measures in place for those who attempt to cross the Canada/U.S. border with illegal firearms, ensure gun smuggling is prosecuted as a gun crime of the highest order rather than as a customs violation, and ensure gun crime charges arn’t dropped to facilitate convictions on lesser charges.

The federal election takes place on Monday, Oct. 21.

Click here to read the other candidates’ answers.

READ MORE: Meet your candidates for Delta MP

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