2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied all candidates with a series of questions. Each week, we will publish their answers to questions pertinent to this riding.

In this article, the five Courtenay-Alberni candidates have been given the opportunity to introduce themselves to the riding.

(Order of placement was done at random. Order will be rotated in each subsequent article.)

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GORD JOHNS, New Democratic Party

It is an honour to stand for re-election as the Member of Parliament for Courtenay-Alberni on behalf of the New Democratic Party.

NDP candidate Gord Johns is seeking re-election in the Courtenay-Alberni riding. Photo supplied.

There was no question in my mind, five years ago, about why I was running and what I intended to achieve. I had completed a term as a municipal councillor in Tofino and was the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. I had seen first-hand the neglect of our riding by the Conservative majority in Ottawa even though Conservative MP’s had represented us for years. We needed a change.

Conservative cuts to health transfers, to DFO, Marine Communications Stations and to veterans’ programs compromised our health and safety, our environment and put our wild salmon at risk. First Nations were denied funding for education and housing and the government was fighting them in court over their rights.

We were paying our taxes on Vancouver Island but we weren’t seeing our share of the benefits. Making ends meet was becoming increasingly difficult for seniors, families and local businesses. Local governments struggled to attract infrastructure investment and were increasingly frustrated as their needs were ignored.

Jack Layton and the NDP had introduced a Climate Change Accountability Bill in 2007 but Conservative Senators defeated it and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry continued unabated. Through successive Conservative and Liberal governments, the lives of the richest people and richest corporations have become easier while we continue to struggle.

During my first term as your Member of Parliament, working together and doing politics differently, we have seen record levels of federal investment and job creation in Courtenay-Alberni.

My motion to protect lapsing funds for veterans’ benefits passed unanimously in Parliament. My motion for a national ocean plastics strategy also passed unanimously and led to action at the G7 and a ban on single use plastics by 2021.

If I am privileged to be returned to Ottawa, I will continue to fight for our fair share of federal investment in Courtenay-Alberni; for extending medicare to cover services you need; for making sure everyone can afford a place to call home; for tax fairness; protecting pensions for everyone and taking climate leadership with ambitious science-based greenhouse gas reductions targets that will help stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

For more about my record in Parliament as your Member of Parliament and the NDP platform, please go to: reelectgord.ca

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JONAH GOWANS, Liberal Party of Canada

The Courtenay-Alberni Federal Liberal Association is pleased to announce that Jonah Gowans is the Candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in the Courtenay-Alberni riding in the 21 October Federal Election.

Jonah Gowans is running for the Liberal Party in the Courtenay-Alberni riding. Photo supplied.

Jonah was born and raised in Powell River. He has a strong connection to the Courtenay-Alberni electoral district, having spent much time with his grandparents in Port Alberni and frequently camping and playing high school sports throughout the district. Jonah is passionate about the outdoors, with a great love for the lakes and mountains of Vancouver Island. His other big interest is in volunteering. He has coached high school basketball for the past three years.

Jonah has been interested and active in politics at various levels since an early age. In his high school years, he was the founder and fund-raiser for the Powell River Youth Resource Center. He has a degree in Political Science from the University of Ottawa, and during his time in Ottawa he regularly volunteered on Parliament Hill, gaining an in-depth look at the inner workings of our Federal Government and an appreciation for both the process of government decisions and their importance for the well-being of Canadians.

Jonah has three main concerns. First, use the infrastructure money the federal government is investing here locally to support local governments. He knows from his time in Ottawa this is a constant battle to keep Courtenay Alberni in the minds of decision-makers at all times. Second, support the creation of more local jobs to help keep people in local communities for the long term. Finally, a commitment to protecting the environment both locally and nationally.

Jonah currently is employed at the BC Legislature in Victoria and will be on leave to be available in the Courtenay-Alberni riding throughout the campaign period.

For more information: teamjonah.courtenay-alberni@gmail.com or call 778-787-1401.

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BYRON HORNER, Conservative Party of Canada

Born and raised here I love the Island. My family lives in Parksville and our teenage boys attend Ballenas Secondary School.

Byron Horner is the Conservative Party of Canada candidate for the Courtenay-Alberni riding.

I want opportunity for them, safe communities and a government that cares for seniors. I am passionate about turning ideas and policies into real results that help people. I have the skills, experience and drive to effectively represent you.

The Conservative Party is the ONLY party that can elect an MP in Courtenay-Alberni and form a government in Ottawa that provides you with a real voice.

A new Conservative Government will:

• Make Life more Affordable

• Protect the Environment while Protecting Jobs

• Keep our Communities Safe

For over ten years I have worked in a leadership role for a family-owned company whose BC operations include Seaspan (Victoria and Vancouver shipyards, Duke Point Ferry). I have a law degree and an MBA and have worked in business for over 20 years. I will make sure we get the most from our tax dollars.

I’m passionate about supporting youth and promoting conservation. I have served as a Big Brother, volunteer high school coach, Executive Director of a charity for at-risk youth and am the Executive Producer of the Great Bear Rainforest IMAX film.

I am running to champion the people of Courtenay-Alberni so that you can get ahead not just get by. We are going to eliminate the Carbon Tax, GST on BC Hydro and gas bills, make parental benefits tax-free and provide a generous tax credit for public transit and green home renovations.

Climate change is real and the Conservative action plan, grounded in green technology solutions, creates jobs and exports Canadian know-how around the globe because emissions don’t recognize borders.

Crime is an ever-increasing issue in our communities. The Conservative Party is the only party with a comprehensive plan to reduce crime and gang activity through specific measures and funding for enforcement, sentencing and treatment.

Please see www.byronhorner.ca for more information and where I stand. On October 21st I hope I can count on your support.

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SEAN WOOD, Green Party of Canada

I grew up in Orillia, Ontario, and arrived in British Columbia in 1993 to spend a season snowboarding in Whistler. I fell in love with the place and more – I met and married my wife of 21 years, Teresa, in Whistler. We’ve made Vancouver Island our home and live in Parksville with our two sons, age 3 and 6.

Sean Wood is the Green Party of Canada candidate for the Courtenay-Alberni riding. Photo supplied.

I’ve always believed in giving back to my community and helping others. I spent five years as a volunteer firefighter in Parksville, and three months on a self-funded trip to Ethiopia to teach computer skills to adult learners. Giving back to my community also motivated me to join the Green Party five years ago. I knew that we needed more Greens in government to steer the country in a more sustainable direction.

I’m running as the Green candidate for Courtenay-Alberni because I want us to leave a better world for our kids and a more sustainable economy through ethical government. Elizabeth May is the most honest, hardworking, and climate-oriented leader, and has inspired me to join her team.

To raise awareness of reducing our impact on the environment, I kicked off my campaign by riding an e-bike 300kms across Courtenay-Alberni with a life-size inflatable orca named Lucky – the green technology made the ride so easy that I didn’t break a sweat! Lucky and I met a lot of people, many of whom asked about the orca, wild salmon, and fish farms – key issues for our community and our coast.

I listen to and trust Hereditary Chief George Quocksister Jr. with his life-long experience on the ocean and his tremendous voice in calling for rebuilding our keystone wild salmon stocks. Home-grown solutions to the challenges we face exist, such as the example of land-based fish farm Kuterra. We can farm salmon on land without sea lice, antibiotics, pesticides, or piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) harming our existing but declining wild salmon stocks and the orca that rely on them. We need to listen to First Nations as part of achieving true reconciliation.

Industries such as the multinational fossil fuel and aquaculture industries have too much influence on our current governments, and they have bullied their way into policies and subsidies which harm our future. I was bullied as a kid, hitting puberty very late at 19, so I don’t take kindly to bullies and will stand up for our community.

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BARBARA BILEY, Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

Barbara Biley is the Courtenay-Alberni candidate for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. Photo supplied

Barbara Biley is part of the team of 50 candidates – 25 women and 25 men – who represent the Marxist-Leninist Party in the 2019 federal election.

A well-known activist in the Comox Valley, Biley is presenting herself under the MLPC banner for Canadians to empower themselves by speaking in their own name.

“We must not permit ourselves to be divided behind this or that promise of parties which form a cartel party system to keep the people out of power,” said Biley. “Parties that come to power claim to govern in our name and that the vote confers on them a mandate, but everyone knows this is not true.”

She decries the claim that elections are democratic, saying they are designed to bring parties to power that impose austerity and decide the crucial questions of the direction of the economy, questions related to rights and war and peace, in favour of global narrow interests.

“Let’s speak out about our conditions of life and work and our concerns and sort out together how the problems we face can be provided with solutions,” said Biley.

Biley is a long-time social and political activist whose family moved to the Comox Valley from Hornby Island in the late 1990s. She has specifically championed the cause of health care workers throughout her working life in the field.

She is calling on residents to support and join the youth who are speaking out, along with their peers across Canada and in Quebec and worldwide, in the “climate strike” that started Sept. 20. She is also bringing to your attention the work of coastal forestry workers to uphold the dignity of labour against demands for anti-social concessions by Western Forest Products. Biley also champions the cause of seniors on the Island whose needs, she says, must come first against the narrow interests of private care providers.

To contact Barbara Biley, mlpc@cpcml.ca or phone 250-792-0302

Visit www.cpcml.ca for more details on the party platform.

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