July 14, 2015 – A Conversation With Candidates – Political Forum

Late last week we heard, to our regret, that Dr. Nightingale had to attend to an Aquarium Partnership meeting in Spain and could not speak to us this Tuesday the 14th, as scheduled. Under the leadership of Norm Leach and with the huge help of Peter Hebb, we now have an exciting event to replace Dr. Nightingale’s presentation. It will feature: Erinn Broshko – Conservative candidate for Vancouver Granville; and Jody Wilson-Raybould – Liberal candidate for Vancouver Granville We have also invited a representative of the NDP to join us but have had no response to date. The new riding of Vancouver Granville starts at West 4th Avenue, just south of where the Planetarium is located. Many of our Probus members live in this new riding. Even if you live elsewhere, you can count on the candidates you will be hearing from to carry their party flags with the enthusiasm that a fresh political campaign always seems to engender. This will not be a debate. It is rather an opportunity for each candidate to put out a brief statement of personal and party values and policies, followed by an extended Q and A session in which our members will have an opportunity to question the candidates of a party they may be considering voting for. All members are welcome to attend and, as usual, to bring guests. Our rule that no members of the press will be admitted will be strictly enforced. Each candidate will be asked to speak for a maximum of 8 minutes. Following their presentations, there will be questions from our members, addressed to either one or both candidates. The Q and A session will last no longer than 40 minutes and will be followed by a very brief (30 second) statement by each candidate and a concluding comment on the event from an uncommitted voter. This will be fun! Don’t miss it! David Scott, President

Erinn Broshko – Conservative Candidate in the new riding of Vancouver Granville. Erinn Broshko and his wife have lived in the area for over a decade and are committed to raising their three young boys here and serving their community. He earned graduate and professional degrees from universities across Canada (BA, MA, JD, MBA) and has had a fulfilling career as a corporate lawyer (Farris), biotechnology CEO (Med BioGene) and business executive (Rand Investments). He is also a director and committee chair of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation as he believes in a Canada that empowers everyone to reach their full potential. Erinn is passionate about our government supporting Canadian families and keeping us safe. He has real world experience and understands the importance of our government enabling small business and entrepreneurial enterprise to create the jobs that our young people are training for today.

Jody Wilson-Raybould – Liberal Candidate in the new riding of Vancouver Granville A lawyer, advocate and leader, Jody Wilson-Raybould has a proven record of success in law, public service, governance, bringing people together and delivering results. With a law degree from UBC, she has worked as a provincial crown prosecutor, and as process advisor, Commissioner and Acting Chief Commissioner at the BC Treaty Commission. She was elected Regional Chief of the BCAFN in 2009 & re-elected in 2012. She recently left this position to focus on the concerns and aspirations of Vancouver-Granville residents. A former Director of Capilano University and board member of the Minerva Foundation for BC Women, she is currently a Lands Advisory Board Director and Chair of the First Nations Finance Authority. Jody was awarded a Minerva Foundation for BC Women alumni award (2011), distinguished alumni award from UVic (2012) and Vancouver Magazine’s Power 50 (2012 and 2014). A citizen and council member of the We Wai Kai Nation, Jody carries the name Puglaas, which means “woman born to noble people.” Jody has been married to Dr. Tim Raybould for six years.


Notes  on the presentation

By John Gunn

Norm Leach introduced our guest speakers: Erinn Broshko – Conservative and Jody Wilson-Raybould – Liberal, both candidates for the new Federal riding of Vancouver Granville. Our Speakers Committee tried hard to balance out the meeting with a representative of the NDP party but that candidate was otherwise engaged out of town. Neither of these candidates has been previously elected to federal office.

The new riding goes east to west, from Main Street to Arbutus, and north to south, from Fairview to Marpole, and takes in a number of diverse neighbourhoods, including parts of Kerrisdale, Mount Pleasant, Oakridge, Riley Park, Shaughnessy, South Cambie and South Granville. The Federal Election takes place on October 19th.

First to speak was Jody Wilson-Raybould, a lawyer, crown prosecutor for four years, who lives in Vancouver but has strong family ties to the We Wai_Kai_First Nation on Quadra Island. Her upbringing in that surrounding instilled in her a sense of duty to the community and a firm belief in self-worth. She graduated in 1999 from UBC Law Faculty, was involved in the Treaty Commission and was elected as Regional Chief of BC Assembly of First Nations. She was at pains to have accountability and transparency in all these endeavours. At the same time she felt that the various government entities were, generally, not listening to the concerns of the aboriginal people she was then representing. Her meeting with Justin Trudeau in Whitehorse was seminal in her final decision to run as a Liberal candidate in this new riding. She hastens to add that she is not running for office just to represent the aboriginal cause.

The second speaker was Erinn Broshko, also a lawyer and the CEO of a small biotech company. He spoke of our very good fortune to live in this country with its resources, its democratic traditions and its sound economy. However, even while we are, indeed, an energy superpower, it does us no good unless we can get that resource to market. While we live in a pretty safe country we cannot take this for granted and we have had a few brushes with terrorism on our own soil. The threats are real, and he raised the question – which leader can best lead us through these challenging times and at the same time, give us a strong economy with low taxes. He suggested that Mr. Harper took us through the 2008 crisis quite well and since then has created one million new jobs. Keeping us safe and at the same time supporting small businesses is high on his list of priorities. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.” He said that by 2017 the small business tax will be reduced by 40% from where it was when Mr. Harper became Prime Minister. Doubling of the TFSA allowance was also a wise move and good for the economy and for the taxpayers.

Questions and Answers

Please comment on the TFSA. Doesn’t it just help the rich?

Erinn: In short, he felt it is a good vehicle for saving and that a lot of people making less than $50,000 were using it and that doubling the allowance was a benefit to most taxpayers.

Jody: It is liberal belief that TFSA favours the rich and that the tax it saves for some must be made up by others. The Liberals are against doubling the allowance which would simply make the rich richer.

How can we improve relations with aboriginal peoples?

Jody: The Federal Government has to create a climate in which aboriginal people can discuss problems, write treaties and the like on equal terms, but the government must listen. Both Conservative and past Liberal governments have avoided any sense of partnership with First Nations. Such a change will be good for the country as a whole.

Erinn: Growing up in North Battleford, with childhood and teenage friends from the Aboriginal community he was acutely aware of the difference in the quality of life on the two sides of this divide and the lack of opportunities for the others. He feels that one of the problems is the lack of consensus within the First Nations as to what is needed to improve relations. There is a genuine desire on both sides to do something about it but, as always, the devil is in the details. He seemed to be critical of the accountability of some bands as to what is done with money given out by the government.

Questioner would like comments from both parties about our immigration policy.

Erinn:We are a country built on immigration” and diversity is our strength. Granville riding is a slice from many countries, building Canada into a great place. We need to discuss density and house prices but I don’t think this problem is necessarily a result of too many immigrants.

Jody: We should certainly embrace those who come here from other countries with their new skills and new ideas. We should review our rules and make sure we do not place roadblocks to newcomers which are not to our advantage. We should also bear in mind that some of us, the Aboriginals, were already here before any of the others arrived. We need to revisit the rules around temporary foreign workers.

Federal unfunded liabilities are 244 billion dollars according to CD Howe. How can Mr. Oliver say he has a balanced budget when apparently nothing is being assigned to address this aberration?

Erinn: In essence he said he was not familiar with the CD Howe report so cannot answer the question.

Jody: I cannot surmise what Mr. Oliver and the conservatives will do about the unfunded liability. The economy is an important issue in this election. Tomorrow the Bank of Canada will give us some direction regarding interest rates. Our government must be realistic and our policy must reflect that fact. When Paul Martin’s Liberal government left office the new government inherited a substantial surplus, which has been wiped out in the intervening years.

We now have about 100 marihuana retail outlets in Greater Vancouver and I wonder if the Federal Government intends to license them as has been done in parts of USA.

Jody: It is no secret that a Liberal government would legalize marihuana. We feel there should be a sound regulatory framework to control this particular trade, as is done with alcohol.

Erinn: The criminal code is made in Ottawa and it is not right that local governments do cherry-picking as to which parts of the criminal code they will enforce. I don’t want to raise my three children in this sort of atmosphere. I have been to Amsterdam and I don’t like what I see there one bit

Is it right to have Trudeau hand-select Jody to be in Parliament to speak for the Aboriginals? In New Zealand, the Maori people are allotted a given number of seats to make sure they are properly represented.

Jody: It is true that Mr. Trudeau asked me to run for a seat. I don’t think he did so just because I was aboriginal. One reason I chose this particular riding is that I was born here. I feel that I have other talents and training and experience and am not going to be just a mouthpiece for the aboriginal point of view. I recognize that the constituency of Vancouver Granville has little or no First Nations content. As for the New Zealand type of allocation of seats, I would not be in favour of it. But overall electoral reform such as proportional representation – yes, we are in favour of that.

Erinn: The truth and reconciliation report contains some 94 recommendations and he says he cannot understand how Mr. Trudeau, within an hour of the report coming out, could sensibly say he accepts all of them. The complexities of many of the issues do not permit such a quick off-hand approval. Clearly Trudeau had not had time to analyse these items.

Should the auditor-general have a free hand to look into all operations which come under the Department of Aboriginal Affairs? At present, this department is not subject to the same depth of investigation as other departments of the government.

Erinn: In his view all government department should be transparent and accountable and that is that.

Jody: All bands are required to submit audited reports on all their expenditures – it is a very rigorous process and there are no exceptions. This applies to all funds transferred to the bands from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. However, more measures should be in place to make sure this rigorous process covers funds received from sources other than the department.

What is going on with respect to acquiring F35 fighter aircraft and also naval frigates?

Erinn: Procurement, especially for defence, is something that must be subject to transparency and accountability and there is a lot of room for improvement in this process. With the F35, one problem was that the air force people insisted that there was only one plane that would be compatible with our allies.

Jody: I don’t have much to add to this discussion.

President Scott thanked the speakers.