Cowichan-Malahat-Langford candidates, top row from left, include: Alistair MacGregor, Alana DeLong, Blair Herbert. Bottom row, from left: Lia Versaevel, Mark Hecht. (Photos submitted)

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford candidates, top row from left, include: Alistair MacGregor, Alana DeLong, Blair Herbert. Bottom row, from left: Lia Versaevel, Mark Hecht. (Photos submitted)

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford candidates pitch their priorities

Five in the running for your vote Sept. 20 address the major issues

The large majority of residents in the Courier’s readership fall within the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding for the federal election.

For those who haven’t voted in the advance polls or by mail-in ballot, voting day is Monday, Sept. 20 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Depending where you live, the polling stations are located at Forbes Hall on Thetis Island, the Royal Canadian Legion Hall in Chemainus, the Halalt Band gym in Westholme and the Crofton Community Centre. Be sure to check the voter card you received in the mail to determine your voting location.

The candidates in the riding include: incumbent Alistair MacGregor (NDP), Alana DeLong (Conservatives), Blair Herbert (Liberals), Lia Versaevel (Green Party) and Mark Hecht (People’s Party of Canada).

Following are statements from the candidates:

Alistair MacGregor

“Decades of Liberal and Conservative governments have made it impossible for people to find an affordable place to live, access the health care they need, and feel hopeful about a future where our air, land and water is protected for generations to come. It is more important than ever to have a Member of Parliament who will bring your voice to Ottawa and fight for a country where no one gets left behind.

It has been my honour to serve as your Member of Parliament for six years. Throughout this time, I have worked with community members, First Nations and local governments to turn community needs into legislative action.

As your NDP candidate, I hope to continue this work and build a future we know is possible – where life is more affordable and the wealthiest pay their fair share, where we tackle the climate crisis and address longstanding inequalities in our country and where we have truly universal, head-to-toe healthcare.

Jagmeet Singh and the NDP believe in a country where we have a healthcare system that helps pay for your prescription drugs, mental health care and dental care. A country where $10 a day child care isn’t empty words, but a reality for families. A country where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people walk together in respect and reconciliation. A country where we take climate change seriously and create good jobs that fight the climate crisis.

This future is possible. Let’s build it together.”

Blair Herbert

“We deserve a voice in government. For 17 years, this riding has elected an MP that has never been part of the government. It’s time for a fresh perspective and seat at the table.

The environment and economy are my priorities. Andrew Weaver, former BC Green Party Leader, endorsed the Liberals’ 64-point climate plan as “the right path for Canada.” Mark Jaccard (economist, author and professor at SFU) rated the major party climate plans, giving top marks to the Liberals. By stark contrast, the NDP ranked a “distant fourth,” described as “largely ineffective” and “unnecessarily costly.” As MP, I would seek out and support local initiatives.

My goal for this riding is to be an example to Canada of how everyday actions by everyday people can make an impact.

Canada’s economy is coming back. The pandemic cost Canada 3.1 million jobs; 2.8 million have been restored. I will help build the economy with initiatives like the Liberal daycare plan. Signed with B.C., this plan reduces daycare costs 50 per cent by 2020, and creates daycare spaces – expanding jobs and the labour force.

Why vote for me? Unlike the incumbent, I’m not a career politician. I’m just like you. I’ve worked in different sectors and have weathered difficult economic storms. I’ve raised four children, with sleepless nights doing so. I feel the impact of climate change. In short, I can relate. Relating to my constituents is the most important part to serving them. I ask for your vote and will not let you down.”

Alana DeLong

“After knocking on 10,000 doors and making over 5,000 phone calls, the overarching concern of people we have talked to is their concern over the rising cost of living.

Some have talked to me about having to make the decision between paying rent and buying groceries. One of the church groups that provide meals to the homeless told me they had seen an increase in people who had a place to live but had to come to the church for meals. I have visited homes where groups of people live together in order to afford the rent.

Inflation has almost doubled in the past year alone, impacting everyone. And without a sustainable plan it could get a lot worse. Canada is the only G7 country whose economy is shrinking. The U.S. economy is growing at 6.6 per cent, the U.K. at 4.8 per cent – Canada’s economy contracted by 1.1 per cent in the second quarter. Most predictions show this climb continuing, impacting people’s ability to buy groceries or renew their mortgages.

We need to gain control of our economy. To do this, it is imperative that any plan is focused on creating growth. Adding to the tax burden is no answer. I believe that by helping business, both small and large, grow, by reaching out to Main Street with plans that help them and working with workers to give them the best possible chance of success, that is where the solution lies.”

Lia Versaevel

“Snap elections are never pleasant and it is obvious that this was the design in calling one during the fourth phase of a pandemic. Nonetheless, we as the Green Party in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford have had a strong working group as our Electoral District Association that operates year-round to hit the ground running.

With Derek Pinto as my campaign manager and a team of well-seasoned volunteers, we have made the point that the status quo is not going to see us through a Code Red for Humanity. We need Green MPs in office who will demand immediate action to save us from the worst of this crisis. I am grateful for all of the opportunities that the community has set up to Zoom with me and hear my plan.

I encourage voters to come out in force and demand that we have representation that is driven, articulate, accountable and not just a placeholder in Parliament. Thank you for your Green Vote for Versaevel.”

Mark Hecht

“The People’s Party of Canada stands for freedom.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trudeau government has been having an abusive relationship with its citizens. The response has been overbearing, out of step with scientific research and an assault on Canadians’ rights and freedoms.

The PPC would bring a rational and scientifically based approach that focuses on protection of the most vulnerable, guarantees the freedom of Canadians to make decisions based on informed consent and rejects coercion and discrimination.

We are not opposed to vaccines. We are opposed to vaccine mandates and vaccine passports and would repeal them immediately.

As the local candidate for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, I would work to restore our rights and freedoms, protect old-growth forests and explore the idea of re-opening the quarry in Shawnigan Lake. I would also like to ensure that the Koksilah River is conserved and the Cowichan River is rehabilitated. Ideally, I would achieve this collectively with First Nations and other concerned community members.

As a gun owner, I feel that responsible gun owners are being vilified and penalized. We will replace the Firearms Act with common sense legislation.

With a background in natural medicine and having worked with the Nature Trust of B.C., I would focus both locally and nationally to remove the excess overreach of government institutions (especially Health Canada), return natural medicine to its rightful place in society and rebuild the sense of community that Canadians have seen slowly erode away over the decades.”

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Election signs for the five candidates running in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford are clustered along Herd Road at Osborne Bay Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Election signs for the five candidates running in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford are clustered along Herd Road at Osborne Bay Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)