With Canadians heading to the polls on Sept. 20, 2021, the NOW has sent Q&As to each candidate listed in Burnaby South and Burnaby North-Seymour.
The same Q&A has been sent to each candidate and answers have not been changed or altered.
BURNABY SOUTH - MARTIN KENDELL - INDEPENDENT
Question: What are your thoughts on the TMX pipeline project? Should it go ahead? Why or why not?
Answer: I have been opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion since day one. The extraction of oil from Alberta's tar sands is one of the most environmentally unfriendly things that Canada does, and uses large amounts of energy and fresh water to achieve its goal. However, I also understand that the pipeline expansion is one of the major components of the FIPA trade deal that Stephen Harper ratified with China in 2014, and if Canada didn't expand the capacity of the pipeline that there would be major consequences and penalties with international tribunals.
The pipeline expansion is now over 25 percent complete and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2022. We are at a point where this pipeline that is owned by the Canadian taxpayers needs to be finished. We need to recoup the costs of this project through the royalties that will be paid by the oil companies to transport their product to overseas markets where they can get a higher price for their various grades of crude oil.
It is extremely important that the federal and provincial governments and corresponding regulatory agencies ensure that the oil products that are transported through the pipeline do not escape and poison the water table and soil around it. The marine terminal in Burrard Inlet must have the latest in spill mitigation equipment, and any spills must be immediately contained and not allowed to harm marine life and the ecosystem. The safety regulations for operation of this pipeline must be the strictest in the world, and oil producers must pay their fair share in order to ensure that this project does not become a giant financial boondoggle for the Canadian taxpayer.
Question: What are your views on a snap election being called two years since 2019 and during the start of a 4th COVID-19 wave in Canada?
Answer: I think it was unnecessary to call a 600 million dollar snap election during the beginning of the fourth wave of COVID-19. The minority Liberal government that was supported by the NDP was working fine and was moving forward progressive pieces of legislation and important social programs for the good of most Canadians. I feel that Justin Trudeau saw an opportunity to try and get a majority government for the Liberals and felt he needed to act now while the fallout and large amounts of debt accumulated during this COVID-19 pandemic wasn't as bad. However, I think Mr. Trudeau was trying too hard to base his re-election on the government's handling of the pandemic and promising large amounts of taxpayer funds for better child care, transit and other infrastructure projects. He didn't have a concrete vision for the next four years and has been making it up on the fly since he dissolved the government on August 25th.
As well, calling an election at this time puts Canadians at an increased risk with this new and more aggressive variant of the virus that is making Canadians sicker and leading to more hospitalizations. The number of cases of people infected with the Delta variant is rising across the country, and hopefully won't result in our healthcare system being overwhelmed as a result. The daily briefing of COVID infection statistics has been put on hold through the election campaign as government officials don't want to adversely affect the campaign with bad news.
For the safety of the residents in Burnaby South and everyone involved in my campaign, I will not be going door-to-door in order to minimize the face-to-face contact that helps spread this virus. However, I will be taking part in an extensive park tour around Burnaby South that will give me a better opportunity to socially distance while meeting voters, and I will ramp up one-on-one communication with constituents by email, phone and video conferencing.
Question: What are your views on climate change? What will you/your party do to address the worsening situation?
Answer: Climate change is real, and global warming is starting to reach a crisis level that will greatly impact all living things on Earth. Fossil fuel emissions and industrial activity are causing the temperature of the Earth to go up, which is causing frozen tundra to thaw and release large amounts of methane gas which cause the average temperature of the planet to go even higher. Glacial ice is melting at a record pace and is causing the Earth's oceans to rise, which will start submerging coastal cities around the world. Farmland will become more scarce, fresh water will be more coveted and in extreme cases, large populations of people will migrate to more tolerable climates. I am flabbergasted that the Site C project in northern British Columbia is going to drown thousands of acres of arable farmland that will become extremely valuable as farmland in the United States becomes barren and parched and unable to feed the increasing population of this planet.
Globally, Canada is responsible for a very small amount of the pollution that is causing climate change, but we must set a positive example for the rest of the world to follow, such as converting from fossil fuels to green renewable energy sources such as geothermal, wind, solar, tidal and nuclear energy.
Question: What do you currently think of the federal government’s COVID-19 response?
Answer: Overall, I feel the federal government did an okay job with its COVID-19 response. I recognize that it was an extremely complex situation with a lot of moving parts that was very tough to manage in real time, and some mistakes and miscalculations were going to be made. Canada did a good job to make sure that most Canadians who were negatively impacted by the dramatic onset of this pandemic were taken care of. However, I think some corporations used their relief funds in a nefarious manner and gave themselves generous bonuses, bought back stock and even cut jobs when the intent of these bailouts was to keep Canadians employed and off CERB and Employment Insurance payments. As well, I think some aspects of how government officials reported and presented the threat of this virus were blown out of proportion, as a majority of the population did not die from this virus unless they were elderly or had previous medical maladies.
We are now entering a new era where a majority of the Canadian population are vaccinated from this virus, and a Vaccine Passport is being introduced as a method to ensure that anyone who wants to take part in non-essential activities is "safer". As a person who is double vaccinated, it is comforting to know that most people in a large crowd at a movie theatre or stadium are going to be vaccinated, which will help slow outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus and its variants. However, there have been recent studies out of Israel that indicate that those people who have already been infected with the virus have more COVID antibodies than someone who has been double vaccinated. This discovery needs further research, but past infection with the virus may become a valid reason to issue a non-vaccinated person a Vaccine Passport.
We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that a yearly COVID vaccine booster for the uninfected may become necessary to keep this flu-like virus at bay. It is not an ideal situation and may be met with resistance by more people as we learn more about this virus, how it mutates and the best ways to move forward as a society.
Question: What will you and your party do to address the housing situation, especially in the Metro Vancouver area?
Answer: Canada's housing crisis is one that is going to take many years to solve and will require cooperation and collaboration of federal, provincial and municipal governments. Municipalities are going to have to rewrite their zoning bylaws in the near future to allow for flexibility and gentle densification in its single household neighbourhoods. There needs to be the option to build townhouses, duplexes, legal basement suites, laneway houses and tiny houses to give more Canadians a place to call home. The government needs to intervene and make sure wealthy Canadians, corporations and foreign buyers aren't snapping up all this new housing supply, and that hard working Canadians are given the opportunity to get into the housing market and build equity for their families. I propose that Canada introduce a five year moratorium on the purchase of Canadian real estate by foreign buyers in order to build up supply that is sorely lacking in major cities and causing housing prices to go sky high.
Question: Why should voters vote for you? What would you say to those undecided and debating not voting at all?
Answer: The voters of Burnaby South have been given a unique opportunity to cast their vote for an Independent candidate who has no political party affiliation.
My Official Platform has taken the best proposals put forward by other parties, other proposals that have been improved and enhanced by me and a few things that I think would bring greater accountability to Ottawa for the benefit of Canadians. Canadian families need affordable and sustainable housing, they need affordable child care options that aren't impossible to find and they deserve lower internet, cable and cell phone bills. Canadians deserve a federal government that doesn't rack up hundreds of billions of dollars of debt every year and has a plan to balance the budget in the next decade, not 50 years from now. Canadians deserve an opportunity to have a proper discussion about electoral reform, and not the calculated tanking of the initiative that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals promised to enact if they formed government in 2015.
We're extremely fortunate to live in a country like Canada where we have freedom of speech and the ability to choose our elected representatives in democratic elections. But for some reason, the political arena has become despicable and nasty, and some Canadians don't want to be involved in the process of choosing the new leader who usually will sound and act like the one before. We need to remember that most of our rights and freedoms that we have are due to the sacrifice our grandparents and great grandparents took on as they fought in the two World Wars. We owe it to them to get out and vote in every single election, even if we're not 100 percent satisfied with the options we have available.
I hope by presenting my candidacy as a viable alternative option that I might inspire more Canadians who want to represent their riding and make this country a better place for everyone to put their name forward and run for office.