Saturday , 16 October 2021
Alain Houle PPC candidate, top left, Shannon Stubbs Conservative candidate, top right, Roberta Graham Veteran's Coalition candidate, bottom left, and Mark Watson Liberal candidate, bottom right, will talk politics and platforms on Tuesday.

Lakeland riding MP candidates agree on major topics: Full Candidates Forum Breakdown

Alain Houle PPC candidate, top left, Shannon Stubbs Conservative candidate, top right, Roberta Graham Veteran’s Coalition candidate, bottom left, and Mark Watson Liberal candidate, bottom right, will talk politics and platforms on Tuesday. 

In a divisive federal election campaign for the leaders of the main political parties, the Lakeland riding candidates forum saw little disagreement about any key issue including pipelines, equalization, veterans, and clean drinking water for First Nations,

Incumbent Conservative candidate Shannon Stubbs, Liberal candidate Mark Watson, People’s Party candidate Alain Houle, and Veterans Coalition candidate Roberta Graham tackled questions from the Bonnyville and District Chamber of Commerce and struck similar chords on most of the questions.

Lakeland riding hopefuls, Green Party candidate Kira Brunner, NDP candidate Jeffrey Swanson, and Libertarian Party candidate Robert McFadzean could not attend the forum.



How committed are you personally to ensuring that the Trans Mountain and other major infrastructure projects across Canada will get built?

Roberta Graham, Veterans Coalition Party:

“If I do get voted in, I plan to fight for that pipe. Because that pipe means everything to me. We’ve been in Bonnyville for 20 years. I’ve made Alberta my home.

“We came to Alberta to work hard because all we wanted to do was work. And they started shutting down the oil. That won’t happen. I promise you.”

Alain Houle, People’s Party:

“From the beginning, the PPC stance has been to build pipelines. What they would do is use impose pipelines on provinces using Section 92(10) of the Constitution.

“Using Section 92(10) gives jurisdiction to the federal government to do these types of works depending on the infrastructure. We’ve done this in the past, over 400 times we’ve used section, I do tend to build railroads. And we can use this also to build pipelines.”

Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Party:

“Fighting for the Trans Mountain expansion has been among my top priorities for the last four years. You’ll remember when Kinder Morgan first announced that it was because the Liberal government refused to provide political and legal certainty for them to go ahead and build their approved pipeline, when they first announced that they were going to abandon it, I forced an emergency meeting in the House of Commons and I secured an emergency committee meeting of the Natural Resources Committee before they did that.

“I actually introduced S25 legislation in the House of Commons to invoke Section 92(10) of the Constitution and exert federal jurisdiction over all matters of the transport and expansion.

“It was turned down three times by the Liberals, the NDP, the Bloc, and then ultimately, the Liberals killed that legislation when it tried to bring in that constitutional amendment for the Trans Mountain expansion.”

Mark Watson, Liberal Party:

“I would definitely 100 per cent be committed to ensuring the Trans Mountain goes ahead. That we have another look at energy East with a goal of getting it through to the east coast, whether going through Quebec, or going around Quebec. Whatever works in that sense. And also looking at other options for energy to go wherever we can get it to tidewater into other customers across the world. And that is a commitment that I make to all of you, and to every family and every worker in the Lakeland region.”

If Alberta holds a referendum on reforming the equalization formula, because of the federal government, most recent Bills C-48, C-69, and the matter comes before Parliament, where do you stand as our MP?

Alain Houle, People’s Party:

“I believe we’re the only party who has ever claimed that we would change the formula when it came to equalization payments.

“Alberta needs to be less generous, we need to revamp the formula in order to make the receiving provinces receive less. They need to receive some incentives so that they will develop their own natural resources. If you keep giving the provinces the same amount of money and increasing it year by year, there’s no incentive to develop their own natural resources.

That is our plan to stop this poverty trap to stop this welfare trap in order to make Albertans less generous and to provide an incentive for the other provinces to develop their own.

Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Party:

“I’ve talked about the equalization formula in the very first speech I did in the House of Commons in support of the Energy East pipeline and talked about all of the revenue and the taxes and the royalties and the contributions that come from energy development Alberta and are shared across the country for roughly equal programs and services, and how it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for Canadians, our neighbors, our friends, in other provinces and for the federal government to try to shut down the very source of that revenue that is shared across the country.

Mark Watson, Liberal Party,

“Who in this audience feels that Albertans have been paying into equalization for far too long? For 10 years or more? It’s interesting to note that the equalization formula, as it stands today, was signed into effect by a certain minister Jason Kenney who now disavows it. That isn’t to say he’s wrong to disavow it, just matter of how perspective can change when you’re in a different position. I would definitely back a call for a complete and total review of the equalization program with an eye to a fairer cake for all 10 provinces and all territories to make sure that everybody is going to be happier with it than they are today. And if Alberta, were to come forward with a referendum to review that, I would definitely back it.”

Roberta Graham, Veterans Coalition Party

“My party’s status on these bills is as such, we will review and repair every law that the Liberal government has weakened. Bill C-48. Bill C-69. Bill C-71. And C-75. We’ll pull them all back. And as far as an equalization payments, VC stance is there shouldn’t be any.

How will you and your party ensure that newcomers to Canada have the support they need to participate in our economy as quickly as possible using the skills and education they have acquired outside of Canada?

Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Party

“We’ve talked about improving the credentials program for recognizing education and skills acquired in other countries and bringing back that focus of meeting Canada’s economic needs in our immigration system. And also about working towards a path for permanence for temporary foreign workers because they’ve already gone through all of the stages of going through safety and security checks, following the rules, and meeting Canada’s standards and also for working, you know, and for meeting economic and labor needs in Canada.

Mark Watson, Liberal Party

Mark Watson: “I would be very interested in making sure that our newcomers to Canada, whether they come in as temporary foreign workers, come in as family members, have the supports and skills that they need to participate fully in our society to benefit and generate economic benefits for our cities for cultures. And are able to use the skills that they have acquired in Canada, as well as the skills that they have acquired elsewhere in the world, through credential recognition, and that is something that has to be worked out with the various trade and professional organizations across Canada, and also with the provincial accrediting authorities.”

Roberta Graham, Veterans Coalition Party

“We will roll back immigration and focus on Canadian’s needs.

“We’re going to encourage immigrants that we need here, people like doctors and nurses that we’re short of. We try to bring hem in and help them to get their certification in order in Canada.

“But when it comes to refugees, to illegal immigrants that have walked across the border, we believe in deportation, because these people are costing Canada way too much. We feed them we put them up in five-star hotels, and then we tell the vets, ‘Oh, you’re asking too much.’ I’m sorry. It’s Canadians first. Charity begins at home. It says that right in the Bible. I mean, you can take it from wherever you want. But we have to take care of ourselves so we can take care of other people.”

Alain Houle, People’s Party:

“When the targets were 310,000 a year, 49 per cent said we need less, only 6% said and agreed and said that they need more. Our leaders are not listening to the majority of Canadians when it comes to this topic. People’s Party stance on immigration is to actually lower the amount of immigration to 150,000 max. When we lower the total of immigrants, it’s, I believe, is caring to the people of this country. We want our immigrants to integrate. And they come to this when they come to this country to integrate into society fully. And quickly. We want to also welcome  the right kind of immigrant, and that is the economic immigrant.”

Veterans are going to have funding for their health care cut n a major way next year because hospitals are overcharging. We get all the care and the veterans are paying instead of investigating hospitals? What is your stand on this?

Alain Houle, People’s Party of Canada

“They’ve been treated as third-class citizens for quite a few years now. What the PPC is proposing to do is go back to the pension act. Prior to April 2006, veterans received the tax-free lifetime disability pension. This included survivor benefits for spouses and dependent children. What is being given today, and why they’re struggling is under the new veterans charter and a lump sum payout that is less that works out to be less than one-third of what they would have been provided for life under the pension act.

“What we’re proposing is to reinstate this fair disability pension previously provided for by the Patriot Act. As the pension will apply retroactively to 2006, all lump sum payments that have been received to date would be treated as advanced payments. This policy that we have here was written by three veterans that are within our party, written for veterans in our country.”

Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Party

“I was shocked by the news that came out today that the Trudeau government is planning on cutting the supports for veterans and for medical care for veterans and for serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“We have committed to overhauling and working with veterans groups to make sure that we get it right, targeting support for the most disabled veterans because there’s a variety of requests coming from different veterans groups. There’s a tremendous backlog in veterans programs right now, we would commit to clear that backlog in 24 months.

“We… tried to implement a veterans covenant, which is a law that’s in the UK and other developed countries. And it really embodies the sacred obligation that I think every Canadian, certainly the people of Lakeland, feel towards veterans when they fight for our country and our values and our freedoms and our rights. That would ensure and mandate and bring accountability to the system so that veterans are treated with respect and receive timely programs and services both as their serving as active members and then in their transition afterwards.”

Mark Watson, Liberal Party

“Our veterans have put their entire lives on the line for this country. When they enlisted, they swore an oath to defend the country, under orders from their superiors, to the complete extent of their abilities, even up to giving up their lives. They had a promise made to them when they took that oath. over the years, we have looked narrowly at the letter of that oath instead of looking at the spirit of the promise made to them. I feel that our veterans deserve every penny that they are owed and every medical and other support that they need. For as long as they are with us. I have two brothers who are brothers-in-law who are in the forces. One is mustering out because his needs can no longer take the strain. And they are going to be very much in need of the benefits and promises that have been made to them.”

Roberta Graham, Veterans Coalition Party

“Obviously, we stand behind our veterans. It was brought together by vets for vets originally until they realize that all Canadians needed their protection yet once again. We’re here to fight for you. And we’re here to fight for all the First Nations, vets and Canadians first. That’s all I can say is: Canadians first. The vets deserve so much better than they’ve been treated. And with this last thing that has come down from the Liberal government, I’m sure a lot of them are feeling very hurt. We like the PPC also want to roll it back the old system, the way it was where they got a decent pension.”

There is such a focus on the climate change emergency, yet many of our Indigenous communities are without running water. The PPC believes in preservation of the environment, clean air, with a focus on water in Indigenous communities, while other parties seem to focus on the climate emergency. Why should Canadians fund climate change programs in Asia and Africa while the water quality in Indigenous communities gets little or no attention?

Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Party

“The Conservative policy is a real plan for the environment that would start with scrapping the carbon tax because it is disproportionately harmful to communities based in energy and agriculture in rural remote communities, punishes people on fixed incomes who were already struggling to make ends meet. It has nothing to do with being an environmental plan.

“The Conservative environmental plan that was released in May was a very comprehensive document, I think 60 pages with 55 separate commitments. Our whole case as conservatives is that our environmental approach to be focusing on technology, not taxes, and on clean and sustainable management of wildlife habitat, water, air quality, and land. You’ve probably seen our party and our leader has come under significant, significant attacks for taking the position that candidates should not be disproportionately penalizing our economy and should be talking about the truth about our environmental record and focusing on innovation and technology.”

Mark Watson, Liberal Party

“I have always cringed at the term climate change. Because it sounds like that’s something that’s headed for disaster and not really within our control. I look at things and figure that the climate is changing. But we need to be able to see which way the frog is going to jump and plan accordingly. If we can build our society in such a way that we can adapt when the weather gets drier or when it gets overly wet. When the tides come up higher than we are expecting. When are our overall weather patterns have changed. We need to be able to adapt to those and to help others to adapt.”

Roberta Graham, Veterans Coalition Party

“We will develop a plan with full consultation forming an alliance with First Nations. We will correct educational discrepancies in languages. Provide clean drinking water to all First Nation reserves and territories and will recognize, honour, and respect all treaties…We need to think of Canadians first. It all boils down to the same answer. Canadians first.”

Alain Houle, People’s Party of Canada

“Because its a First Nations remote community, we seem to turn a blind eye and it’s sad.

“We are committed to bringing clean drinking water to remote Aboriginal First Nations communities. Also, when it comes to Aboriginal communities, we’ve also are going to look at and explore options to replace the Indian Act. This is what keeps Aboriginals in a state of dependency and allows the federal government to control pretty much every aspect of their life. We also want to explore avenues to establish individual property rights on their reserves.”

What will be done to the grain handling and grain movement? Why is grain so low in market value today compared to the price that existed before the end of the Canadian wheat board?

Mark Watson, Liberal Party

“I can never or cannot claim to have ever been a grain farmer. I certainly appreciate the efforts of our agriculture sector, both the grain industry and our cattle and beef. We depend very heavily on them. And why not. We produce a world class product that is the equal of anything you could find in the finest restaurants in the world. Now the Canadian wheat board when it had the grain handling monopoly, was criticized by many and also loved by many others. Privatizing it and take them away the monopoly has, I don’t think it’s had the results that were expected. And I’m not sure why that has come to pass because I have not been involved in the industry.”

Roberta Graham, Veterans Coalition Party

“[The] Independent farmers tax relief plan is to roll back taxation by one per cent to include family incident and incorporated family farms. Government monopoly of farmer’s production and sales to be removed over a four-year term. Farmers will be allowed direct access to open markets and sell their products at their prices, not dictated by the corporation controlling the prices, they benefit only mass scale corporate farming.”

Alain Houle, People’s Party of Canada

“Other than continually looking for new markets internationally for our grain and canola, as we see China has put a block on those types of products, again, we need to find new markets. We need to continue the relationships we have with other countries and bring our products to these other countries that need them. Also, farmers would benefit from our bold tax reform, which consists of increasing the income to $15,000, paying zero percent in federal income tax from 15,000 to 100,000 at 15 per cent income tax and above 100,000 only at 25 per cent income tax. So creating a new system only a two-tier rather than the five that we have now. Also to abolish capital gains tax. Farmers invest, farmers have investments, abolishing the capital gains tax will help them as well. Reducing farm tax to 10 per cent. Also abolishing the farm killing current carbon tax.”

Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Party

“One of the really deep disappointments and ways that the Liberals demonstrated being completely out of touch with rural communities and Canadian producers was if you remember, the fair rail, Fairness and Rail Act for grain farmers the previous Conservative government had brought in place, they had extended the measures through the election and when the liberals came to power, they waited months before they actually took action. And farmers everywhere were talking about the problems with the costs, the delays at the ports, and then the costs come back on the rail and then the cost goes up on their producers. And so we worked very hard to try to get the liberals to act. We know that there’s still more that needs to be done in terms of accountability for rail lines, improving switching.

“Of course will continue to work on market access. That was the legacy of the former Conservative government completing 53 agreements when only four were in place when they came to office. But importantly, what conservatives will continue to fight for is actual science and evidence-based agriculture policy, not activists, and bureaucratic based policy. One thing I want you to know, we are fighting against the proposed ban on glyphosate. We fight all the time for Canada’s world’s leading agricultural producers and to tell the facts about Canadian green farmers.”

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media forms of communication. The Criminal Code protects Canadians from hate speech. BUT, Bill C-16 Section 13 expands on what is considered hate speech that will allow criminal charges for the misuse of certain pronouns for certain people and for having differing opinions on certain religious practices. And to control internet content aimed offensive without legitimate cause. These measures may go too far [in the opinion of the writer]. If elected, would you take a stand to protect freedom of expression?

Alain Houle, People’s Party of Canada

“The People’s Party is very for freedom of speech.

“When it comes to telling the truth, when it comes to expressing disagreement on any particular topic, we must be able to do so without being publicly ridiculed or even charged. Those two or three items that were mentioned, Bill C-16, which is a gender pronouns bill, if nobody understands what that is, it was passed in June of 2017 and added the words gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act, and then also to the Criminal Code when it comes to sentencing.

“If you disagree with how somebody is expressing themselves, when it comes to their gender, if you miss gender them, you can be criminally charged. Another one of these is M103, which talks about condemning Islamophobia. But in the motion, it only talks about one religion, so, therefore, we can’t criticize religion. So when it comes to freedom of speech, we want to be able to speak freely in the public square.”

Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Party

“The Conservative Party has deep concerns about what seems to be an increasing tendency to try to crack down on people from expressing their opinions or their faith that their beliefs in order to avoid offending people or hurting people’s feelings. I think if people say things that we disagree with, and the rest of us have the right to say we disagree with and the free market of ideas is something Canada should always strive to protect.

“Of course, C-16, as Alain mentioned, his leader Maxime Bernier voted for it in the House of Commons and Andrew Scheer voted against it. To be clear, we absolutely believe that anybody who faces discrimination or harm to any other aspect should be held to account for that, and the laws should be enforced against them.

“Of course, Alain talked about repealing M103, but just for a point of fact it’s not possible, you cannot repeal a motion. The work’s already been done, that report was done, we had that debate. And I voted against it in the House of Commons for exactly the concern, that it was an attempt to police the way that people spoke because of the way that it was worded. It’s the kind of legislation that’s been brought forward in other countries to shut down free speech.”

Mark Watson, Liberal Party

“I have spent almost a decade as a reporter for the Smoky Lake Signal as a writer. So obviously, freedom of speech is very important to me, it is something that has been a cornerstone of my ethics and values for many, many years. I have always tried to inculcate that in my children, and in their friends as well if they listen to me. Now, I believe, there’s a famous quote that says, ‘I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death here right to say it.’ And that is how I feel.”

Roberta Graham, Veterans Coalition Party

“The Cill C-16, I didn’t know about. But I do know about Bill C-75 and that also blocks your freedom of speech. People have to grow a little thicker skin. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I stand before you all, I’m not a true politician. I’m not politically correct. Every time I open my mouth, I still look at a group of girls and say, Hey, guys, come on over here….Even if you disagree with somebody, you have the right to walk away. If you don’t like what’s on your TV channel, you have the right to change it.”

Are you and your party pro-life?

Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Party

“You know everybody on the left wants to keep having this discussion. Well, conservatives are trying to talk about making life more affordable.

“We do believe in the freedom of individual members of Parliament to bring forward legislation on behalf of their constituents and on behalf of their personal convictions, to have that debate, and to have the vote.

“If we had the opportunity to vote on that legislation, I would first seek to vote on behalf of the majority of my constituents. And I would aim to vote for life because I believe that the ultimate objective and policy goal of a government should be healthy moms and babies and families and children. The government should be committed to setting those conditions to make that objective possible, just to give you a sense of my thinking, and if there was that opportunity to have a vote.”

Mark Watson, Liberal Party

“This is an issue that I have been told by a number of people that I have no right to an opinion on. I’m the wrong gender for it. With that in mind, I am the father of five children, I certainly believe in having children and having healthy, happy, well-adjusted children who will grow up to be healthy, happy, well adjusted, productive members of our society. Having said that, though, it is fully a matter for a woman to decide if and when she is capable of having a child. And whatever her decision is. I am bound to honor that decision.

Roberta Graham, Veterans Coalition Party

“As a new party, we haven’t actually been discussing pro-life or pro-choice yet. We only made a party two weeks before the writ was dropped. So we’re still working on things. I had two children, both out of wedlock so I would have to stand that I am pro-life. But there are situations when people are raped or if the mother is in trouble if she has the baby, then yes, I do believe in abortion.”

Alain Houle, People’s Party of Canada

“I am pro-life as I said in my intro. I believe a baby is a life and is formed at conception. It is a human being from every stage of the way, all the way to break with delivery. I have four children. I’ve seen it happen four times. And I know that that’s a baby inside the womb It’s nothing else, you can’t call it anything else.

“Our party has no stance we haven’t taken any stances on social issues. But our leader has said that after 24 weeks, for a woman to want to have an abortion for no particular reasons other than convenience or she is not in danger, or the baby is in danger, he’s against that. He called it infanticide. So anything after 24 weeks? Yes, we would be against the mother aborting the baby.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.