The Issues: South Surrey-White Rock candidates weigh in

voting

November 28, 2017

The White Rock-Surrey Chapter reached out to by-election candidates for the South Surrey-White Rock riding being held on December 11, 2017. Below are the responses from the Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green Party, and Progressive Canadian candidates.

Gordie Hogg, Liberal Candidate South Surry-White Rock

1. The bankruptcy of Sears is leaving thousands of Pensioners without full funding for their pensions.  Ontario has a pension benefit guarantee fund that provides some protection to Pensioners. If elected, would you support the creation of a similar fund in BC?

It should be a concern to everyone in Canada when these situations create uncertainty and negatively impact both employees and pensioners. The creation of a pension insurance fund for improved protection would be a matter of provincial jurisdiction, and something I would support in British Columbia. From provincial partners to my member-colleagues within CARP, I will look for consensus and collaboration, including with the Prime Minister and Federal Liberal Caucus as they’ve already delivered with the Canada Caregiver Credit and increased Guaranteed Income Supplement.

2. Canada is at risk of becoming an international laggard when it comes to investor protection. CARP has long called for the introduction of a best interest standard so that the needs of investors are placed ahead of the compensation of advisors. If elected, would you support a best interest standard?

This is an issue that I’ve been talking with many seniors about in the last 2-5 years. I look forward to getting more information from CARP on its position, so I can review this further, with a goal to protecting client investors first and their financial advisors second, in any strengthened protections.

3. Increasing housing costs are often thought of as a problem for millennials, but many seniors are struggling to cope with rising rents and unaffordable housing. If elected, what would you do to address the lack of affordable housing for seniors?

The Liberal governments newly unveiled $40 billion National Housing Strategy is a massive step in the right direction to expand access to affordable housing to those who need it, including right here in South Surrey – White Rock. Seniors will benefit greatly from the Strategy, as they are identified as a priority population for housing needs. Among other things, the Strategy will improve access to affordable housing by creating
12,000 affordable housing units specifically for seniors, and expand community housing. This is the first time in 30 years a federal government has produced a strategy of this magnitude with powerful funding behind it. In addition, it is this Liberal government that reversed the OAS from 67 years of age, back down to 65, a move designed to get more seniors the assistance they need across a range of valuable supports.

4. Wait times for medical care are a problem for an increasing number of BC seniors. If elected what would you do to address this issue?

It is vitally important that Canadians, especially seniors, have timely access to medical services. While the healthcare system is a matter of provincial jurisdiction, the federal government still has a leadership role to play in supporting improved access to quality health services.

This year alone, the federal government is providing more than $37 billion to the provinces and territories through the Canada Health Transfer. This is an increase of more than a $1 billion over last year. The Liberal government is also investing more than $11 billion over 10 years to improve access to mental health and, so importantly, home care services. These are investments that make a real difference in the health of Canadians who need it most, including right here in South Surrey – White Rock, where seniors make up fully 25% of the population

5. There are many seniors in your constituency. If elected, what would you do to support seniors?  

I recognize all the invaluable contributions that seniors make to our community, and if elected, I will continue to be the strong voice for our community I’ve always been, in a government that has made clear its commitment to supporting our seniors. 90% of all seniors in Canada end up being cared for by a loved one, friend or family member, so the caregivers involved in communities across the country will continue to be a priority
for me across my advocacy.

It was this Liberal government that restored the eligibility age for OAS to 65 after the previous Conservative government’s decision to increase it to 67, and introduced the GIS top-up, which will help lift thousands of seniors out of unsafe and unhealthy circumstances.

My 40 years of public and private service within the seniors’ community here — inspired by the pioneering medical work of my late father Dr. Al Hogg in this community over many decades — has instilled a deep sense of duty and commitment in me.

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Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Conservative Candidate for South Surrey-White Rock

1. The bankruptcy of Sears is leaving thousands of Pensioners without full funding for their pensions. Ontario has a pension benefit guarantee fund that provides some protection to Pensioners. If elected, would you support the creation of a similar fund in BC?

I know this is an important issue, especially here in South Surrey-White Rock. This affects my family as well. My husband’s uncle was a long-time Sears employee and we are all very concerned. My party leader, Andrew Scheer, my Conservative Party colleagues, and I don’t want to see any pensioner lose any part of their pensions. I would work with colleagues in the provincial legislature to highlight the concerns that seniors have, especially here in our riding. I know we can also work at the federal level for solutions, too. That’s why I’m proud that our Conservative caucus has put forward a motion to study this exact issue at the House of Commons Industry Committee, and if I’m elected, I’ll ensure that I work closely with colleagues in Ottawa, stakeholders here in South Surrey-White Rock, including CARP, and see that those concerns get heard at the Industry Committee.

2. Canada is at risk of becoming an international laggard when it comes to investor protection. CARP has long called for the introduction of a best interest standard so that the needs of investors are placed ahead of the compensation of advisors. If elected, would you support a best interest standard?

The Conservative Party strongly supports additional transparency and stronger investor protections. It’s simple – investors need to be protected. While this falls to the government of British Columbia around provincial regulators, I will work hard, and fight for the voices of pensioners in South Surrey-White Rock to be heard, and have their concerns pressed with colleagues at the provincial level, and at the federal level should I be elected MP. Having been a federal Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament before, I know how to effectively collaborate with provincial and municipal counterparts to get results. A recognized duty of care that puts the best interests of clients first is a priority.

3. Increasing housing costs are often thought of as a problem for millennials, but many seniors are struggling to cope with rising rents and unaffordable housing. If elected, what would you do to address the lack of affordable housing for seniors?

One of the things I love about South Surrey-White Rock is how my parents were able to age in place, from their own home, to a townhouse, to a condo. This is not as easy to do anymore. There is no denying the housing market requires a solution on both the demand side and the supply side. Seniors need to be able to afford their homes, whether they own or are renting. We also need to encourage the construction of new homes to help in the market. One thing has been certain, the Ottawa Liberals’ high tax agenda has made life less affordable here in South Surrey-White Rock including for our seniors and our housing. As many as 60% of lower income Canadians are paying higher taxes. Conservatives support helping those who are less fortunate. We understand what the dream of homeownership means to so many people. The government needs to focus on making home ownership more affordable for Canadians, and as MP, I will push them on this every step of the way.

4. Wait times for medical care are a problem for an increasing number of BC seniors. If elected that would you do to address this issue?

Provinces need sustainable, predictable funding. In government, that’s something our Conservative Party provided, ensuring the Canada Health Transfer was economically sustainable and funding was increased every year. The Ottawa Liberals have made big promises on the health file, but as recently as last year, we saw unanimous outrage from the provinces and territories over the Liberals promising one thing but doing another. I’ll ensure the Ottawa Liberals are held to account and that stable, predictable funding is maintained.

5. There are many seniors in your constituency. If elected, what would you do to support seniors?

Our Conservative Party is the only party that is the voice of taxpayers, advocating for Canadians to keep more of what they earn. The best way to help ease the cost of living is by lowering taxes. We want our seniors to continue to have quality of life, accessible health care and the ability to stay in their homes longer. Higher taxes for seniors on a fixed income to pay for the spending spree from the Ottawa Liberals only serves to hurt
those that need the help most. When Conservatives were in government, we designated a seat around the cabinet table for a Minister responsible for Seniors. The Ottawa Liberals eliminated that role. They eliminated a family caregiver tax credit. Unlike the Liberals, we supported tax incentives for nonprofessional caregivers to look after the elderly or disabled in the home. We also introduced income splitting for seniors, and I continue to hear at the doorstep that this helps every day. I will ensure that our Conservative Opposition continues to hold the Ottawa Liberals to account and
stand up for taxpayers.

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Jonathan Silveira, NDP Candidate for South Surrey-White Rock

1. The bankruptcy of Sears is leaving thousands of Pensioners without full funding for their pensions. Ontario has a pension benefit guarantee fund that provides some protection to Pensioners. If elected, would you support the creation of a similar fund in BC?

The NDP will always support provincial initiatives that help protecting pensions. Unlike the Liberals who are failing to help Sears’ workers and pensioners, The NDP has always put workers and pensioners first and we will continue to do so. That’s why the federal caucus has tabled bill C-384, which aims to make sure that workers’ and retirees’ pension benefits have priority over shareholders, banks, and upper management bonuses during a restructuration or a bankruptcy proceeding.

2. Canada is at risk of becoming an international laggard when it comes to investor protection. CARP has long called for the introduction of a best interest standard so that the needs of investors are placed ahead of the compensation of advisors. If elected, would you support a best interest standard?

Yes, I will. It is important that we level the playing field so that investors are no longer disadvantaged.

3. Increasing housing costs are often thought of as a problem for millennials, but many seniors are struggling to cope with rising rents and unaffordable housing. If elected, what would you do to address the lack of affordable housing for seniors?

Few weeks ago, the Liberal government defeated an NDP bill asking to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights to include the right to proper housing, at a reasonable cost and free of unreasonable barriers for all Canadians. The NPD is the only party that put forward a strategy to lift seniors out of the poverty.

This strategy includes:

  • investments in affordable housing targeted to low income seniors;
  • working with the provinces and territories to develop more flexible housing
    options for seniors so couples can live together for as long as possible;
  • offer financial support for seniors who need to retrofit their home in order to
    accommodate their needs.

4. Wait times for medical care are a problem for an increasing number of BC seniors. If elected that would you do to address this issue?

Universal access to healthcare has always been a core issue for the NDP. A federal
NDP government would:

  • bring provinces and territories together to ensure better access to home-care services and high-quality, affordable long-term care;
  • increase affordable access to safe and effective prescription medications for seniors;
  • ensure that friends and family members taking care of older loved ones have appropriate support and financial assistance;
  • work with provinces to ensure that the growing demand for doctors and nurses specializing in gerontology is met.

5. There are many seniors in your constituency. If elected, what would you do to support seniors?

When elected, I will fight to protect the CPP and the OAS, significantly increase the GIS for all seniors in need, put an end to pensions theft, implement a universal pharmacare program, improve funding of home care for seniors, ensure that South Surrey─White Rock is getting funding to build affordable housing, and I will strive to protect and improve our universal public healthcare system.

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Larry Colero, Green Party Candidate for South Surrey-White Rock

1. The bankruptcy of Sears is leaving thousands of Pensioners without full funding for their pensions. Ontario has a pension benefit guarantee fund that provides some protection to Pensioners.  If elected, would you support the creation of a similar fund in BC?

YES – I would support a Green Party of BC task force to look into the merits of a similar fund in BC, since I believe that question relates to provincial government, and not the federal by-election. My thoughts in general are that the fund should not be entirely paid for by taxpayers – that would just transfer the burden from Pensioners to the population at large, without holding the bankrupt corporations to account. Maybe there can be a mechanism for government to withhold or gain access to corporate pension funds that would occur prior to creditors, investors, executives, etc. taking their share of remaining assets.

2. Canada is at risk of becoming an international laggard when it comes to investor protection. CARP has long called for the introduction of a best interest standard so that the needs of investors are placed ahead of the compensation of advisors. If elected, would you support a best interest standard?

Absolutely, yes – the “best interest” standard is a fundamental component of a proper client/financial advisor relationship, and has now been embraced by the Registered Financial Planner (R.F.P.) designation in Canada, and to some degree, by the Certified Financial Planner designation as well. Financial planners must accept a fiduciary responsibility when providing financial advice or managing their clients’ funds. Far too many do not, and investors have lost billions to the inherent conflict of interest when a financial advisor is compensated for churning investments or simply selling investment and insurance products. I know this well, having worked mostly with financial planners for the past 15 years.

3. Increasing housing costs are often thought of as a problem for millennials, but many seniors are struggling to cope with rising rents and unaffordable housing. If elected, what would you do to address the lack of affordable housing for seniors?

Metro Vancouver actually has an over-supply of housing (1.19 units per person) but much of it sits empty, so building more will not solve the problem. The lack of affordable housing for seniors (or their children and grandchildren) has been caused by speculators treating real estate as a high-end investment rather than as places for people to live.

Our governments have encouraged foreign speculators through immigration programs that favour multi-millionaires with no intention of living in Canada or paying taxes, and in the case of the BC Liberals, lavish “trade” missions to encourage foreign buyers to speculate on Lower Mainland properties. All of this while they denied the problem. We must deal with the demand side, and not the supply side. The Green Party of Canada and the Green Party of BC are the only parties focused on doing something meaningful about the demand side of the housing problem. Both parties have extensive policies and plans in this regard.

4. Wait times for medical care are a problem for an increasing number of BC
seniors. If elected that would you do to address this issue?

Wait times is a highly complex issue, and while I agree something needs to be done, I believe this is again a question for the provincial government. All the federal government can do is provide more funding, and it should. Health funding was severely reduced during the Harper regime, and it needs to be revived.

5. There are many seniors in your constituency. If elected, what would you do to support seniors? 

I would work with other levels of government to collect the information we need to collaboratively implement evidence-based initiatives that address the root causes of seniors’ problems. Those root causes are not always obvious, and government at all levels should stop trying to address the symptoms and focus instead on the causes, which are often deep in the system. For example, we would simplify Old Age Security and its complex relationship with other sources of income for low-income seniors by instating a Guaranteed Livable Income. Seniors should not have to navigate a bureaucratic maze to get the money they need to live comfortably.

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Michael Huenefeld, Progressive Canadian candidate for South Surrey-White Rock

 
1. The bankruptcy of Sears is leaving thousands of Pensioners without full funding for their pensions. Ontario has a pension benefit guarantee fund that provides some protection to Pensioners. If elected, would you support the creation of a similar fund in BC?
 
Progressive Canadian Party:  The Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund (PBGF) funded by provincial taxpayers in the province of Ontario taxpayers provides protection, subject to specific maximums and specific exclusions, to Ontario members and beneficiaries of privately sponsored single-employer defined benefit pension plans in the event of plan sponsor insolvency.
 
In the case of the Sears insolvency in which management bonuses were protected while employee pensions were dishonoured and periods of service by management and employees seem to have been discounted in prioritizing repaying loyalty, Canadians are amazed by the choices of its giant US parent holding company.
 
Whether or not the province of British Columbia chooses or is able to fund a similar program, or should, is to be decided according to the best interests of BC and BC taxpayers.  As Progressive Canadians we look to a balance of progressive social policy and of fiscal responsibility, mindful of the potential for exploitation by domestic and foreign owned corporate interests of unlimited liability.
 
2. Canada is at risk of becoming an international laggard when it comes to investor protection. CARP has long called for the introduction of a best interest standard so that the needs of investors are placed ahead of the compensation of advisors. If elected, would you support a best interest standard?
 
Progressive Canadian Party: The PC Party would support the introduction of additional investor protection measures; however, any implementation of a legislated "best interest standard" would have to carefully ensure that investors continue to exercise due diligence on their own, mindful that regulators have declined to recommend such legislation believing that it may cause investors to over-rely and to place excessive trust in their financial advisors.
 
3. Increasing housing costs are often thought of as a problem for millennials, but many seniors are struggling to cope with rising rents and unaffordable housing. If elected, what would you do to address the lack of affordable housing for seniors?
 
Progressive Canadian Party: PC Party MPs will call for a national affordable housing strategy in which market distortions caused for foreign investment in Canadian housing real estate as trading commodity profit centres and non-resident unoccupied ownership will be subject to review with the objective of prevention of seniors dehousing and potential homelessness.
 
4. Wait times for medical care are a problem for an increasing number of BC seniors. If elected that would you do to address this issue?
 
Progressive Canadian Party: Wait times in most provinces of Canada for urgent care and emergency medically necessary procedures are shortest and ranked amongst the highest national standards in the world.  But in cases of elective surgery, specialist access, and non-emergency services Canadian health care is ranked by some sources and critics as second to middle tier.
 
While additional funding is the easy answer, funding is only part of the answer. Both the Liberal and “new” Conservative governments have effectively defunded health care by reducing the rate of federal funding increases per annum from six per cent to three per cent.  Rates of increase need to be restored to levels in pace with rates of inflation and the new costs of new technology and the average age of user increases.
 
More innovation is needed.  To achieve this, the PC Party will call for organizational re-evaluation beginning with first principles provided by the Canada Health Act and understanding of a mission statement developed from first principles so that the provinces, as administrators of health care, can better achieve their goals in the belief that innovation requires clear goals.
 
5. There are many seniors in your constituency. If elected, what would you do to support seniors?
 
Progressive Canadian Party: South Surrey-White Rock seniors will benefit from public transit innovation and infrastructure which will improve access to services and benefits of life in the Lower Mainland. 
 
As our MP, I will work hard to achieve solutions to improve seniors healthcare, including moving a National Pharmacare program from aspirational, as it is today, to achievable, taking advantage of the economies of scale that come from national programs in co-operation with the provinces.  I will work across party lines and levels of government to achieve better outcomes.
 
As a party, Progressive Canadian I will continue to be guided by the historic true Tory principles of integrity, nation unity and nation-building built on a foundation which balances progressive social policy with fiscal responsibility.