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Where do Burnaby North-Seymour candidates stand on the issues?

The race in Burnaby North-Seymour is as tight as ever with aggregate polls showing the Liberals taking a slight lead in projections for the local riding.
Carol Baird Ellan
New Democrat candidate Carol Baird Ellan at the all-candidates meeting for Burnaby North-Seymour, with Liberal Terry Beech and Green Lynne Quarmby seated at the table.

The race in Burnaby North-Seymour is as tight as ever with aggregate polls showing the Liberals taking a slight lead in projections for the local riding. But where do the candidates stand on the issues? The Heights Neighbourhood Association hosted an all-candidates meeting on Thursday, Oct. 8, for the Burnaby North-Seymour riding. In attendance were Green Lynne Quarmby, Liberal Terry Beech and New Democrat Carol Baird Ellan. Only Conservative Mike Little was absent. About 60 people attended, raising a variety of issues. Here’s an abridged version of how the candidates responded.

Bill C-51

Beech was left to fend for the Liberal party’s position, in which they voted in favour of the controversial bill, while proposing amendments to the part that criminalizes protests. Baird Ellan used bill C-51 as leverage to criticize the Liberals and said the NDP would repeal the bill, as there was nothing worth saving. Speaking on behalf of the Greens, Quarmby said anything from Bill C-51 that Canada actually needs could be brought forward in a new bill.

Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

Quarmby held a clear stance against the pipeline, stating she is “unambiguously” opposed to the expansion.

Baird Ellan’s stance on Kinder Morgan has been the same as the party’s mainly that the approval process is flawed, and the NDP would restore the process, but in the meeting, she said, the pipeline has to be stopped.

For more details on Baird Ellan’s and Beech’s stance, see our candidate profiles.

How will you make things easier for young people, struggling with the cost of living, especially housing?

Quarmby called for an affordable housing strategy and brought up the fact that Burnaby has no shelter. She also wants to restore funding for co-op housing and improve housing for First Nations.

Baird Ellan also said the NDP would extend the licensing agreements for co-op housing and called for $15 per day national child care.

Beech responded by saying much of the NDP platform was a mirage, and that $15-per day child-care plan relies on contributions from the provinces, which haven’t committed anything. Meanwhile, the Liberals plan on investing $20 billion in social infrastructure, including affordable housing, while increasing the GST rebate to 100 per cent to incentivize developers to build more housing.

On your chances of getting elected and keeping the Conservative candidate out

Baird Ellan said her party would bring in true proportional representation, and said the NDP and Conservatives are neck in neck in the polls. (At press time, current aggregate polls, like the Toronto Star’s Signal and ThreeHundredEight actually show the Liberals in the lead and the NDP in third.) According to Beech, if you transpose past election results on the new riding, what is now known as Burnaby North-Seymour has always gone to the Liberals or the Conservatives – never the NDP. (Earlier in the evening, Beech stated the Liberals would ditch first-past-the post.) He implored the audience to vote for their preferred candidate, and “to heck with the polls.”

Quarmby, a victim of vote-splitting fears, said the “orange crush” has become the “orange crash,” referring to the NDP’s decline in national polls. As for strategic voting, she proposed voting for the candidate that best represents one's values.  

Alternative energy

Quarmby would halt subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, and there would be no new bitumen pipelines under the Greens’ watch. Baird Ellan said the NDP has targets for greenhouse gas emissions, and she took a swipe at Stephen Harper, claiming he doesn’t believe in climate change. Beech said the Liberals would also end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and put a price on carbon.

The economy

Quarmby’s plan to stimulate the economy is to hire an army of tradespeople to retrofit buildings and make them more energy efficient. Baird Ellan talked of the NDP’s plan to raise the corporate income tax rate and provide incentives for innovation in the manufacturing sector. Beech said Canada needs jobs today and pointed to the Liberals plan for a historic investment in infrastructure.

You want more?

The next all-candidates meeting for Burnaby North-Seymour is on Thursday, Oct. 15, but you’ll have to cross the bridge to get there, as it’s at Mount Seymour United Church, at 1200 Parkgate Ave. in North Vancouver.

Please note this a condensed version of a meeting that went on for more than one hour. For a complete, in depth look at the parties, we suggest you check out their full platforms by clicking the links below.