Federal election: Meet the North Island candidates

We begin this series on the federal election by asking about their motivation for running.

The Federal Election is officially underway and while there will be many stories about party leaders and national policies, it is equally important – if not more so – for North Island residents to hear what local candidates have to say and what they stand for. It may be a national election, but for North Islanders it boils down to five people who say they can best represent your needs in Ottawa.

Over the next five weeks we’ll help you in evaluating the candidates by asking each one to answer a series of similar questions. And if you have a question you’d like to ask, let us know and we’ll do our best to put it to the candidates on your behalf.

We begin this series by asking about their motivation for running. We wanted them to tell you, in their own words:

Why they have decided to run for the federal seat of, North Island – Powell River?

Candidates were asked to limit their response to 225 words.

Rachel Blaney – New Democratic Party

I am the daughter of a logger and a nurse who grew up in Terrace, BC. Living through several boom and bust times, I saw the challenges my family and community faced. My experiences influenced my work life and led me to the non-profit sector because I value community development and finding local solutions.

I enjoy fighting hard for the communities in the North Island and I love being a voice for us in Ottawa. I work with all levels of governments, indigenous leaders and stakeholders to raise our concerns and needs. Collaboration, I believe, leads to success. Between 2006 and 2015 our riding saw just over $2 million dollars annually in infrastructure funding and since 2016, our riding has seen almost $12 million allotted each year to our communities. I am grateful for everyone who fought so hard for this and am proud to work with such incredible community partners. I am passionate about the communities I represent and the relationships we have built.

It is not always easy, I have spoken with many constituents who are sometimes on different sides of the debate and I have occasionally been yelled at. I have sat with people going through terrible times knowing I can advocate for them but will not find a quick fix. I have worked to break through the stereotype of what it is to be an elected official. I am determined to bring the needs of this region to the forefront and will not stop fighting for the people of this riding.

Mark de Bruijn – Green Party

This riding has been my home since 1997. I love this place. We are neighbours, and I want to be your MP to work hard for our coastal communities. Whether it’s support for small business, affordable housing, food security, the health of wild fish, or the increasing floods, fires and droughts caused by global warming, Greens have sound and practical policy to chart a new path to resilience, prosperity and health.

The Green Party is different. We are committed to a liveable future for our children and grandchildren. We will and do this with integrity, decency and the values so many of us long to see restored to politics.

Greens work collaboratively with all parties and levels of government. Greens never accept corporate or union money. We will not make promises we cannot keep. Our policies are science based. Our budget has been vetted by the Parliamentary Budget Office to ensure it is achievable. Green MPs are never told how to vote – I am truly free to represent you, my constituents.

Our leader Elizabeth May, by her own peers in Parliament, has repeatedly been voted the most ethical leader and hardest working MP in Ottawa. It will be a great privilege and pleasure to represent the people of North Island-Powell River, and to work hard for you as part of a strong team of Green MPs.

Shelley Downey – Conservative Party

Canada deserves better. We have been under served by our current government. We have lost credibility on the world stage in terms of foreign affairs. Our sovereignty in the Arctic is being challenged. Immigrants who have entered Canada legally have family members being delayed in joining in them as illegal border crossers cause backlogs and delays for the entire refugee system. Taxes have increased for 80% of Canada’s middle class. Poor management of fisheries is affecting livelihoods all across the riding. Four years of deficits during a time of no wars or recession is irresponsible and increasing the debt of our nation.

While brainstorming with family about what the major issues are for this upcoming election, my son cut the conversation short and said, “It’s about the economy. I have a good job and should be able to support my family. Instead, my taxes have increased along with the cost of living. We are being squeezed at both ends”. This conversation took place in January. Since that time, I have heard those

same sentiments across the riding and from every demographic.

Governance isn’t a popularity contest with magazine covers and nice hair. It is a responsibility to allocate resources and provide services for the betterment of our citizens and country as a whole. We can do better. It requires long term planning and commitment with honesty and integrity. It’s time for Canadians to get ahead, not just get by.

Peter Schwarzhoff – Liberal Party

I grew up in a typical Campbell River pulp mill family. Working at the mill, I was able to pay for a university education that led to my becoming a scientist.

My career in public service, in the Canadian Forces and Environment Canada, has taken me across this land and to Europe. I am proud to have spent all my adult years serving my country.

I am one of those scientists who were muzzled by the Harper government. That government rolled back many of the environmental programs and would pay no attention to climate change. That sewed my interest in politics.

Upon retirement I felt a need to be useful to my community. I’m a volunteer ESL teacher, board director for Community Living, member of Greenways and proud member of the Legion colour party. These are very rewarding, but I feel I have something even greater to offer. And I haven’t forgotten the Conservative’s betrayal of our environment.

I want to be part of the team that will continue to fight climate change while making sure our economy works for everyone. I want to work to ensure that our kids have a real chance to succeed in a safe, healthy environment.

The Liberal Party is the only one that has both the will and capacity to keep us on track. I choose forward.

Brian Rundle – People’s Party of Canada

I am not a professional politician however I love this country and consider myself a patriot. I feel that Canada as a nation is under attack with its core values and culture being undermined, its financial resources being used for a globalist and crony capitalist agenda.

The political leadership runs the country for the benefit of the United Nation and select elites. The United Nations has a bias that puts third world countries needs and aspirations ahead of developed western democracies like Canada. They want the third world and developing nations to advance by taking advantage of developed Nations resources through wealth transfers, open borders and social programs.

Canada is not being run for the benefit of Canadians but for the third world and elites. The Peoples Party of Canada addresses this by putting Canada and everyday Canadians first in its policy and agenda. A vote for the PPC is a vote for the prosperity of Canada.

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Shelley Downey, Conservative Party

Rachel Blaney, New Democratic Party

Brian Rundle, People’s Party of Canada

Peter Schwarzoff, Liberal Party

Mark de Bruijn, Green Party

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