With the election just around the corner, the Agassiz Harrison Observer took some time to ask the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon candidates a few questions. Here are their responses to the questionnaire.
Note: John Kidder did not respond to the questionnaire by the Observer’s deadline. Elaine Wismer could not be reached by the Observer and therefore is not included in the responses.
Why are you running to be a Member of Parliament?
Nick Csaszar (PPC): Issues around affordability, shrinking wages and a lack of opportunities for young people have caused me to have grave concerns for the future of our young families and seniors while those of us in the middle continue to feel squeezed more and more to support our children and our aging parents. Everyone’s answer seems to be a different version of more of the same. This has to stop. Canadians want, and deserve real change. I am here to fight for that, to fight for them.
Michael Nenn (NDP): My passion for my family and community demand I fight tooth and nail to serve all of you, not foreign corporations. The Conservatives promise a few dollars for working families while billions for corporate tax havens cutting services for Canadians.
The Liberals’ broken promises and giving billions to fossil fuel companies does nothing to address affordability and climate change. Pharmacare, affordable quality childcare, protecting workers and transitioning to clean energy are NDP commitments to benefit all Canadians. The Conservatives and Liberals are running for their corporate friends. I’m in this for you.
Jati Sidhu (Liberal): As the sitting Member of Parliament, I am running for re-election to continue to support middle class Canadian families and seniors. I was proudest of my votes to establish the Canada Child Benefit, cut taxes for middle class families and increase funding for seniors. I want to return to Parliament to bring in a National Pharmacare System, increase the OAS by 10 per cent for seniors over the age of 74, increase the CPP Survivors Benefit by 25 per cent and continue to work towards combating climate change.
Brad Vis (Conservative): I’m running to bring accountability back to the residents of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. I’m running to ensure your taxpayer dollars are used wisely, and used for the well-being of our communities.
Over the past year my team and I have worked hard to earn your trust by visiting over 55,000 homes in our riding to hear your concerns. I’ve done my absolute best to hear from people in every corner of our massive riding in order for me to be properly equipped to serve on your behalf.
What would make you a good elected representative?
Michael Nenn (NDP): Twenty-five years building telecommunications towers across Western Canada and Brazil to project managing major telecommunication projects instilled common sense, teamwork and a strong work ethic to get the job done. It’s time we put someone in Ottawa who will fight for our communities and not for corporations. That’s my commitment.
Jati Sidhu (Liberal): The knowledge and skills I have gained as a successful farmer and homebuilder were indispensable in preparing me for my first term. I have a long history of business and volunteerism in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon having lived in and contributed to this region for 45 years.
Brad Vis (Conservative): I know how to get things done in Ottawa. I am experienced at helping people deal with Canada Revenue Agency, Immigration, transportation regulations and other federal government functions.
You won’t suffer because of a learning curve or lack of knowledge on my behalf. I will hit the ground running.
Nick Csaszar (PPC): I have extensive private sector experience ranging from logistics to cost control, negotiations, mediation and conflict resolution. This is backed up by a lifetime of community service through a several service organizations and initiatives. I have been a resident of Mission since 1978. I know the people and the landscape well.
What are the two biggest issues for Agassiz and Harrison; how will you or your party address them?
Jati Sidhu (Liberal): The biggest issues are to ensure the continued financial well-being of families and seniors. A re-elected Liberal government will ensure middle class Canadians pay no taxes on the first $15,000 of earned income and we will work with telecom companies to lower the cost of wireless services by 25 per cent.
The government overhauled drug pricing which will save Canadians $13 billion over the next decade and in 2018 allocated new funding for home care and mental health care. We will invest an additional $6 billion to support a stronger Medicare and public health system and implement a National Pharmacare System.
Brad Vis (Conservative): People are struggling to get ahead. Life is becoming too unaffordable. It’s especially challenging for young families to buy their first home. I and the Conservative Party believe you should keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. That’s why our platform is focused on reducing taxes for you.
Agassiz and Harrison are close to some of the most pristine ecosystems in the Fraser Valley. I believe extensive work must be done to update our flood zone maps, improve natural and physical infrastructure for flood mitigation, especially in light of the increased development pressures.
Nick Csaszar (PPC): 1) Affordability will be tackled through proven fiscal strategies that lower the tax burden for ALL people, and easing housing demand, so easing the upward price surge, by admitting fewer immigrants with an emphasis on economic immigrants that are in high demand and can contribute more to our country’s needs.
2) Healthcare will be improved through amendment of the Canada Health Act similar to countries in Europe where universal healthcare is delivered through private facilities with better outcomes and shorter wait times. Everyone is covered and provinces can customize programmes to suit local needs.
Michael Nenn (NDP): Affordability – Past governments have let big polluters off the hook with billions in profits while leaving families to struggle. The NDP will cut tax loopholes that favour the super wealthy, create 500,000 new affordable units of housing and 300,000 new quality jobs to transition to a clean economy.
Healthcare – Investing in Canadians and not multinational corporations we can bring hope and dignity to our communities eliminating those root causes that have destroyed so many lives as with the opioid crisis. It’s time to begin the healing and rebuild communities that are healthy and vibrant.
How will you work to represent constituents across the entire Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding?
Brad Vis (Conservative): I’ve committed publicly and repeatedly to the following:
- I will run a mobile MP Services Office for those communities without a permanent office. I will ensure regularly scheduled visits, which will all be advertised well in advance to provide ample notice to each community.
- I will hold regular town hall meetings in all regions of the riding so I can be accessible, transparent and held accountable to the voters who pay my salary.
Nick Csaszar (PPC): I take pride in leading through example and by way of service to others. This is at the core of my business philosophy and personal mantra. Be an example, listen, get in there, get dirty, and defend the people you are responsible to, all of them. Our party’s stance on MP independence is clear. I am excited to have a leader that EXPECTS all of his MP’s to vote their conscience and advocate for their local constituents. We know this has not been the case for many years in Ottawa. Our party is committed to that principle and so am I.
Michael Nenn (NDP): Unlike previous governments favouring corporations the NDP understand that good government must be committed to the true drivers of our economy, working families and sustainable communities. I intend to work with all citizens and stakeholders. With First Nations we will replace mere consultation with a standard of free, prior and informed consent supporting self-governance and self-determination. The NDP commit to protecting quality jobs for families. For example, ensuring local mills are modernized supporting value-added products and access to larger markets. Reforestation and silviculture are critical to ensuring resources are sustainable. Investing in people is how we create a strong Canada.
Jati Sidhu (Liberal): It can be a challenge representing a riding of 20,000 square kilometers, but as I have demonstrated over the past four years as the Member of Parliament there are a number of ways of staying in contact with residents. I have a very responsive constituency office and if re-elected I will continue to consult with local community councils, conduct town hall meetings on important topics as I have on the proposal for a National Senior’s Strategy and for a National Pharmacare System. To keep residents informed I publish quarterly mailings detailing government programs and legislation impacting their families and communities.
Election day is coming on Monday, Oct. 21.
Registered voters in the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding should have received a voter information card with details on where your voting station is. Just bring an accepted piece of ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) to the polling station between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.. You can also bring your voter information card and a document with your name and address (like a bank statement).
(Unlike the provincial election, where you could vote at any polling station, you must vote at the one listed on your card. If you don’t have a card, you can find your voting station online at elections.ca.)
Advance voting is available between Oct. 11 and Oct. 14 at your polling station. You can also vote at any Elections Canada office or via a mail-in ballot before Oct. 15.
The two nearest Elections Canada offices are in Mission (33700 Prentis Ave) and Chilliwack (45669 Yale Rd). People wanting to vote through the mail must apply online or at a local Elections Canada office.