Questions, questions, questions

  • May. 10, 2005 6:00 p.m.

Since there is not going to be an all candidates meeting on the islands, the Queen Charlotte District Teachers’ Association and the QCI Chamber of Commerce put together a list of questions they’d like the candidates to answer. All four candidates submitted responses, and we are publishing them here unedited. (see stories, below).

As well, Observer reporter Alex Rinfret attended the all-candidates meeting Monday in Prince Rupert. Her report will be in the Observer on Thursday.

Economy
1. Will your party continue to reduce both business and personal taxes to ensure that BC remains competitive with its neighbours and an attractive place to invest and work?
2. How would your government work to increase employment opportunities on the islands?
3. What is your position on the privatization of Crown Corporations? What is your position on reversing the process?

Tourism
70% of all visitors to BC visit the Vancouver coastal area and mountains. If elected, what would your government do to encourage the tourists to visit the rest of the province, particularly these islands.

Forestry
1. How will your government ensure that the BC timber sales for small business are protected and expanded to allow greater opportunities for small businesses?
2. New forestry legislation is viewed by many as a framework for big companies to have control over forestry resources. Will you commit to consulting with small business and northern communities to better understand concerns and the long-term implications of changes such as the removal of cut levels tied to communities.
3. How would your government implement policies to stop the export of raw logs and require local value-added processing?

Energy
What is your stand on lifting of the moratorium for oil and gas exploration in Hecate Strait?

Health
If elected, will your government ensure health care clinics are funded for small communities without hospitals, on the QCI islands and other northern communities?

Transport
The economy and tourism can only advance as swiftly as the transportation system can move goods and people. If elected, will your government ensure that ferry transportation is protected and upgraded for the QC Islands?
Aboriginal Interests
What is your position on the legal decisions recognizing rights of the Haida? Would your government honor existing commitments?

Public Education
1. Across the province, 113 schools have been forced to close because of under-funding. On Haida Gwaii, two of our schools are in small communities where students and parents live in fear of their school closing. What will you do to ensure that no schools are closed in Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte?
2. During the last four years the BC Liberals have used declining enrollment to justify the cuts made to education. In fact, only one in four of teachers cut can be attributed to declining enrollment. What will you do to ensure that staffing levels are sufficient to provide top notch educational programs?
3. Before the Teachers’ Collective Agreement was stripped by the Liberal government, students had more schools to attend, more selection of courses, more attention in the courses they were taking, more access to libraries, and more support from specialist teachers. What will you do to ensure that these very important aspects of public education are again guaranteed for students?
4. The Liberal government removed all the contractual protections for students with special needs. Now they are integrated into regular classes without adequate support. This situation has become a great concern in schools of Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte. What are you prepared to do to ensure adequate support for students with special needs?
5. Will you support full collective bargaining rights for teachers, including the right to bargain working and learning conditions?

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