Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror North Island candidates sparred at the Tidemark yesterday evening during a candidate’s forum hosted by the Young Professionals of Campbell River and the Campbell River Mirror. From left: Sue Moen, Green Party; Claire Trevena, NDP; Dallas Smith, Liberal Party; John Twigg, BC First.

VIDEO: North Island Candidates face the questions at Young Professionals-Campbell River Mirror forum

View the video of the whole forum here:

The North Island candidates gathered at the Tidemark Theatre Wednesday for a candidates forum hosted by the Young Professionals of Campbell River and the Campbell River Mirror.

Political spears were thrown and humour was also tossed around to charm the roughly 150 people in the room.

The candidates each had a chance to introduce themselves and spend two minutes answering a variety of questions about both their personal lives, their parties and their platforms.

Here are two of the questions, and the candidates’ responses. We have chosen to print answers to two issues that haven’t been covered elsewhere. The event was broadcast live on the Campbell River Mirror’s Facebook page online and is still available for viewing (above) if you didn’t get a chance to see it live or in person.

What North Island trade exports do you see as priorities for the North Island over the next four years?

Sue Moen, Green party

Something value added, not necessarily raw. Yes, our lumber products are going to continue to be a large part of our export market but I believe that the forests need to act as a carbon sink and we can also hang on to that carbon in our forest products but we can do that here. And we can take it to secondary processing as well, to actually make things with our wood. I think there is a much larger domestic market for a lot of our products than had been explored over the last many years. We have been focused on digging it up, cutting it down and sending it away. And a lot of those opportunities should be staying within the province to create additional jobs and additional economic drivers.

I think lumber is one of them and I think another big one could be on land agriculture. Our agricultural sector, locally, is not nearly at the place that it could be and there are a lot of opportunities there.

Claire Trevena, NDP party

Without question the export of secondary manufactured forest products that, if we are going to be not exporting our logs, keeping the majority of them here, we’ll be using them. We’ll be creating. Somebody said that we could make ourselves the IKEA of North America, we can actually start thinking, as my colleague Dallas has been saying over the last couple days, outside the box. Let’s start making boxes, let’s start making things, lets start making window frames, let’s start making the parts that we can sell. Let’s use Campbell River Airport, we’ve got a great airport here we should be using that for some of our exports.

The other thing…would be tourism. We have fantastic opportunities here. We traditionally have the sports fishing, we are growing the kayaking in the wilderness tourism, the wildlife watching. This is a great opportunity for the North Island. And people say ‘oh it is just short term, it is four months a year opportunity’. It isn’t, actually, because we have Mount Washington, we have golfing, we have kayaking, we have the gamut. In adventure tourism alone, a $1 billion industry here in the North Island, we need to be able to maximize on that.

So I’d say that it is not the traditional export, it is not the product. It is not the oysters or the wine or the agriculture that we might want to move but it is definitely a product that we can sell and we can sell hard.

Dallas Smith, Liberal party

I really see the opportunity that our natural resources offer. I think the sustainability that we’ve done in British Columbia has put us in a position to continue to export opportunity, whether that be in forest products, whether that be in aquaculture products, whether that be in tourism, adventure tourism, we can really have the whole gamut. But it is unfortunate that these other platforms don’t understand the foundations of those industries.

While it is politically convenient to talk about getting rid of this and getting rid of that this will cripple bedrock opportunities that this riding has to offer. So we really have to think carefully about how we actually build upon something as opposed to contracting it and then trying to build after that fact. You need that solid foundation and I think that’s very important.

John Twigg, B.C. First party

Well there is one big one that outweighs all of them and that is lumber and forest products, especially now with the Americans (tariff charge). It might take four years to clean up the mess, and I reiterate the thing about regional log markets to determine a fair market value more transparently. Pulp is an issue, I think we could do more. Logs, we can talk about that.

Minerals, yeah we’ve got to get those things going again. I agree with the agriculture and food, including aquaculture. We need to do more food for local consumption but we also need to do more exporting. Technology and value added, (Moen) is absolutely right. Knowledge based industries like software, intellectual property and creative works. Surplus water and importing tourists. It’s an export when people bring their money here I think. Manufacturing in general as well.

I emphasize logs, forest products is the dominant issue if you look at statistics but it’s also the principle of diversifying and we’ve got a lot of potential here on the Island and let’s get to it.

What is your vision for supporting young professionals in the North Island?

John Twigg, B.C. First party

I don’t think they need help, they are doing fine. I go to their events, I haven’t had them on my TV show yet but if they give me 10 minutes to talk about settling native land claims maybe I could get them on my show. That would greatly improve the over all business and investment plan in which young professionals grow and prosper. If we settled First Nations land claims we could do a lot of province building and that would create a lot of opportunities for the bright young people in the YPCR.

Dallas Smith, Liberal party

Similar to John, get out of the way and support them. We need to continue to use organizations like Island Coast(al) Economic Trust, Western Economic Diversification and some of the other granting programs to help young people build young businesses that grow and create a legacy. I think the enthusiasm and the hunger that I have seen in the young professionals in Campbell River is quite awesome and the more opportunity we can give them to be successful the stronger community we will have at the end of the day.

Claire Trevena, NDP party

There are two things I would do to help young professionals. The first one is issue the $10 a day child care plan. There’s young professionals who want to have families and need to be able to have child care. I’ve talked to a number of largely young women who have been going back to work as young professionals. They are extraordinarily stressed because they need to find child care, they cannot find child care, they cannot afford child care so they need to make the choice, is it worth going back to work? Because largely, at least one pay cheque a month is going to go to childcare. Is it worth doing that? Should I put my profession aside and let my partner carry on? Child care is a vital part of making sure young professionals get that opportunity and $10 a day scheme is going to start with infant/toddler and move through creating at the same time childcare places by increasing the early childhood educators training and getting more educators back in the field.

The other thing that we are going to be doing is investing in housing, investing in all sorts or housing: co-op, affordable housing, co-housing, private housing. There are going to be 114,000 housing units, as it is described, homes built in B.C. and some of them will be here in Campbell River, without question. Some of them will be on the North Island. Access to affordable housing is another huge stresser. Young professionals are coming from university are facing massive debt, worrying about how they are going to pay for childcare, worried about how they are going to handle their mortgage, worried about paying their hydro. We are going to make things more affordable for them.

Sue Moen, Green party

I share my party’s vision in that and I will work hard to make sure the North Island gets it’s share. A place that the NDP and the Greens are fairly similar is in introducing free and affordable childcare, early childhood education, supporting young families and young mothers that want to return to the workforce. But we are investing massively in our budget, that we can pay for, in education. We recognize that in today’s economy people are going to have somewhere between five and 15 different jobs. So there better be a lot of supports in there for people to retrain, to upgrade, to get new skills. Specifically to help young entrepreneurs we are looking…to invest $20 million per year to support ideation, mentoring and networking at post secondary institutions to promote entrepreneurship and young leadership skills. We will provide up to $70 million over four years for qualifying entrepreneurs to leverage seed or angel funding and we will work with local and federal governments to create incubators. We will do the investment and we will work with those local governments to find affordable land for incubators.

The other way we will support, not just young professionals but everybody, is by transitioning to a basic income. Through added supports now and to make sure when you are in between jobs or you are trying to start a business you don’t have to stress about how to pay for that.

Check out a video of the entire forum below.

BC Votes 2017

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Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror Claire Trevena said that the province the NDP envisions, one of affordibility and shared responsibility, is possible, in her closing statement at the candidate forum hosted by the Young Entrepreneurs of Campbell River and the Campbell River Mirror yesterday evening.

Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror Dallas Smith said the Liberal’s know how to run a government, not just win an election, in his closing statement at the candidate forum hosted by the Young Professionals of Campbell River and the Campbell River Mirror yesterday evening.

Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror John Twigg said he would be best to represent the North Island’s interests in his closing statement at the candidate forum last night that was hosted by the Young Professionals of Campbell River as well as the Campbell River Mirror.

Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror Sue Moen asked the North Island constituents to vote for her to bring about real change in the province in her closing remarks at yesterday’s candidate forum hosted by the Young Professionals of Campbell River and the Campbell River Mirror.

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