The Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce hosted an open house last Thursday for the Oxford federal election candidates.
Four candidates attended the two-hour open house, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday at Carriage Hall in Tillsonburg, and two were unavailable.
An estimated 40-plus people from the community attended the open house, which pleased the Chamber of Commerce. Earlier ‘debate format’ events for federal and provincial elections had seen lower attendance from the community.
People seemed to like the one-on-one open house format with candidates, said Suzanne Renken, Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce CEO, allowing them to ask their own questions – at their own pace.
Election Day in Canada is Oct. 21, 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Advance polling takes place Oct. 11-14, at the Tillsonburg Community Centre, 45 Hardy Avenue, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Each of the four candidates at Thursday’s open house were asked about their party’s priorities for the 2019 election.
“Our priority is to make life more affordable for every Canadian,” said Dave MacKenzie, Conservative Party. “To do that, some of it is cutting some taxes. The big thing will be to cut the carbon tax, which shows up on everything we do, everything we eat, everything we use.
“At the same time we know it’s important that we have good jobs for people.”
Another issue which sometimes gets lost among the other issues, said MacKenzie, is a commitment to reduce government red tape.
“As you know, red tape is what really hampers industry, farmers, individuals. So (Andrew) Scheer has made a commitment to cut red tape by 25 per cent… to make life far more affordable.
“Our plan is that Canadians know best how to spend their own money, governments do a terrible job of it, and we want to see government take less of your money.”
New Democratic Party
“This election is about priorities,” said Matthew Chambers, NDP. “More and more people are telling me about what keeps them up at night. They’re telling me they are worried about paying their bills, they’re worried about the rising cost of pharmaceuticals, affordable housing, these sort of things.
“And everything in our platform is prioritized for people. Universal pharmacare and dental care, affordable housing. We’re going to build 500,000 affordable housing units right across this country. We’re going to bring in universal daycare for families that are struggling. Everything in our platform is geared toward making life more affordable for regular working Canadians, not the wealthiest people in this country.”
People’s Party of Canada
“Our most important issues that we have are putting Canadians first and making sure there is more money in your pocket,” said Wendy Martin, People’s Party of Canada.
“What we’re going to do is that we’re also going to make sure that our tax reform is done really great, we’re going to save $35 billion to taxpayers with our tax reform. We’re going to look after our veterans and we’re going to fix the injustice that’s happened to them, and make sure that they have the pensions that they deserve for the sacrifices that they’ve made for our country.
“We’re going to defund the CBC, we’re also going to make sure there’s no foreign aid going over, but we’re going to take care of humanitarian aids. And we’re just going to make sure that Canadians are looked after first and that we have great opportunities for economic growth and prosperity.”
Martin noted that the People’s Party of Canada is the fastest growing political party in Canadian history.
“We have been around for just over one year. We celebrated our first anniversary September 14th. We have 315 confirmed candidates from Elections Canada (as of last week) out of the 338.”
Christian Heritage Party
“The Christian Heritage Party has been around for over 30 years now,” said Melody Aldred, Christian Heritage Party. “And we are Canada’s one and only Pro Life, Pro Biblical values party.
“We are seeking to promote our Christian values in governments and in the public square to a place of respect and preeminence.
“In this election our slogan is life, family and freedom. We are here to protect innocent life, from conception until natural death. And without life… all other rights simply have no meaning.
“For the family, we support the family unit, traditional marriage, it is the building block of a good and healthy society. And we have excellent policies for the family farm, to protect it. Our national debt, to pay it off like a mortgage. And protecting our borders, having stringent border controls.
“And finally our freedoms. Our freedoms are essential to upholding all of our other rights. Our freedom of speech, our freedom of conscience, many freedoms that we have here in Canada. We need to protect these freedoms.
“The Biblical perspective is so needed now in a society where secularism is somewhat of a juggernaut and is creeping in.
Brendan Knight, Liberal Party, and Lisa Birtch-Carriere, Green Party, were unable to attend the open house.