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 NDP candidate Randy Anderson-Fennell 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?
We will declare a climate emergency and put in place ambitious, science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets that will help stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We’ll ensure accountability of these initiatives by establishing an independent Climate Accountability Office to perform regular audits of our progress toward these goals. We will continue carbon pricing but make it fair by rolling back the breaks the Liberals have given to big polluters and provide rebates to households that fall under the federal backstop plan.
As the climate changes, Canadian jobs are changing too. A plan that leaves workers or communities behind is no plan at all, and so we will also create over 300,000 green jobs within a first mandate by working with labour, employers, and the provinces and territories to find solutions for workers and communities, including dedicated employment support combining access to expanded Employment Insurance benefits, re-training and job placement services.
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?
Everyone should have the right to a safe and affordable place to call home. Young people should be able to stay in the neighbourhoods they’ve grown up in and seniors should never be forced out of the communities in which they’ve spent their lives. We are in the midst of a national housing crisis. Average rents rose in every single province last year and today, 1.7 million Canadians spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing. One in three Canadians is a renter.
We will tackle the housing crisis by building 500,000 units of quality affordable housing over the next 10 years, with half of those built in the first five years. How? We’ll introduce measures that work in partnership with provinces and municipalities, and build capacity for social, community and affordable housing providers and co-ops. We’ll invest $5 billion in our first 18 months in office to kick-start construction of co-ops, social and non-profit housing. We’ll also waive the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new, affordable rental units in order to spur the construction of affordable homes.
For homeowners, we will re-introduce 30-year terms for CMHC-insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first-time home buyers. This will allow for smaller monthly payments. And we’ll give people a hand with closing costs by doubling the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500. For Canadians open to innovative paths to home ownership, we’ll provide resources for co-housing, including CMHC-backed co-ownership mortgages. And we’ll put in a foreign buyer’s tax on the sale of homes to people who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
3) How would you/your party reduce the tax burden for Delta families?
For too long, successive Liberal and Conservative governments have told Canadians to expect less, cutting back on services while handing out special deals for big corporations. We will review and re-profile tax expenditures that don’t benefit everyday Canadians. Our revenue policies will put Canadian families first and tackle the inequality crisis facing our country. As an example, those at the very top — multimillionaires with wealth over $20 million — will be asked to pay more toward our shared services with a one per cent wealth tax generating $1 billion annually.
4) What will you/your party do to support the growing number of seniors in our community?
First of all, we will introduce our national Pharmacare For All plan that will provide prescription medicine to all seniors, saving seniors hundreds of dollars every year and ensuring that no one needs to choose between medicine and other essentials. We will also lead a National Seniors Strategy that will work with provinces, territories and Indigenous governments to make seniors health care a priority, reduce isolation and tackle seniors’ poverty. This will include a funded national dementia strategy and an elder abuse prevention plan. And we will create a Pension Advisory Commission to develop a long-term plan to protect and enhance Old Age Security, boost the Guaranteed Income Supplement and strengthen the Canada Pension Plan. We’ll also make automatic enrollment in OAS and GIS retroactive so that no retiree misses out on benefits that they should be receiving.
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?
An NDP government would tackle crime at its roots — through our youth. We pledge $100 million over five years to fund programs for youth across the country to keep them from joining gangs. Additionally, we would invest $20 million in a new RCMP anti-money laundering unit tasked with investigating and seizing the proceeds of real estate money laundering, and those funds would be funneled back into affordable housing. We would also support a national inquiry into money laundering, and create a national registry listing the names of those who use shell companies to hide their investments in real estate.
The federal election takes place on Monday, Oct. 21.