Candidate Q & A: Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke

Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke candidate Frances Litman answers a few questions

Fances LitmanCanada’s youth unemployment rate is at 13 per cent, what would your party do to help more young Canadians find work?

The Green Party will create a national Community and Environment Service Corps, providing $1 billion/year to municipalities to hire Canadian youth. This program will provide paid employment for 40,000 youth every year for 4 years, for a total of 160,000 youth positions. Youth completing the program will receive a $4000 tuition credit that they can apply to further education and training.

Our proposed Canadian Sustainable Generations Fund will make critical investments in trades, apprenticeships, and education, and will ensure that all Canadians have the skills and training to prosper today and contribute to building the Canada of tomorrow. These investments in skills training will complement targeted national infrastructure investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy production, digital upgrades, clean-tech manufacturing, tourism, the creative economy, and emerging technologies.

Youth are struggling under a burden of student loans. Greens would move to eliminate tuition fees for post-secondary education and skills training for Canadians by 2020, starting with those who are least able to pay. Existing student and future federal student debt would be capped at $10,000. We’ll also remove the inadequate two-per-cent cap on tuition for all First Nations and Inuit students.

 

What should Canada’s role be in dealing with international refugees?

Canada should be among the world leaders in accepting international refugees. For example, we believe that Canada should be accepting up to 40,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years.

We should be using the Canadian Armed Forces to help bring Syrian refugees to Canada by the most efficient means possible, and those with family in Canada should be allowed immediate entry to complete their processing in safety.

 

What would your party do to ensure seniors are able to live comfortably in their retirement?

Over 600,000 seniors live in poverty. The Green Party would introduce a Guaranteed Livable Income that ensures that Canadians of all ages have the means to live in dignity with a roof over their head and food on the table. This will save money through better health outcomes and reduced crime rates as well as improving our quality of life.

Our National Pharmacare Program will provide seniors with affordable access to the medicines that they need. By expanding and co-ordinating the patchwork of public and private schemes, and bulk purchasing of generic drugs, Canadians could save up to $11 billion annually.

Ninety per cent of seniors deal with at least one chronic disease. Treating those diseases amounts to 60% of 60% of all senior health care costs. But often those in need of long term care end up in emergency rooms, which are not designed to meet their needs and have high costs. Greens support an Aging in Place approach which supports seniors with home care that enables them to stay at home, in their community.

 

How would your party address the need to strengthen Canada’s infrastructure and what project would you say is the highest priority for your riding?

The gap between the infrastructure funding our communities need and the funding they receive is estimated at $350 billion. Investing in better roads, bridges, water and wastewater treatment, affordable housing, transit and cycling infrastructure creates local jobs as well as improving our cities and towns. The Green Party would provide one point of the GST – about $6.4 billion annually – to fixing up and building infrastructure in our communities.

In Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, there are two main priorities. We need to ensure that the federal government contributes its fair share to wastewater treatment (sewage).This needs to happen without the pressure of artificial deadlines, allowing for a good local process. Second, the federal government needs to invest in better transit and cycling infrastructure. In this riding, a comprehensive approach to traffic along the Trans Canada Highway needs to have a complete approach including buses, high-occupancy vehicles, and cycling, not simply an interchange at McKenzie Avenue that moves traffic faster into the next traffic light.

 

What do you believe is the most important election issue for your riding and why?

Bringing back democracy and pride in Canada is what I hear most about at the doorstep. People are ashamed that Canada is no longer a leader in peacekeeping, or leader in climate action, or leader in global poverty alleviation. We must introduce a form of proportional representation so that everyone’s vote clearly counts, reduce the power of the Prime Minister’s Office, and make this a proud country once again.

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