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Federal all candidates meeting well attended in Houston

Federal all candidates meeting well attended in Houston

There was little talk last week about the local forest products industry at the federal all canidates meeting.

Six Skeena–Bulkley Valley candidates faced off in a debate at the Houston Community Hall on Oct. 8 with over 120 Houston residents attending.

Jody Craven, the People’s Party of Canada candidate, added he was disappointed there was hardly any talk about the local forest products industry, which is facing several challenges, including an impending 16 per cent reduction in annual allowable cut.

NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach said he was surprised by some of the views expressed by other candidates regarding LGBTQ rights.

During the debate, People’s Party of Canada candidate Jody Craven answered a question from a community member about his views on gender dysphoria, when a person feels their gender identity does not match their biology.

“I have a daughter, she’s two and a half and I know she’s a girl,” Craven said. “It’s hard to talk about what the government is doing to our children. It’s sad. Boy, girl, [it’s] simple.”

Christian Heritage candidate Rod Taylor also expressed his views on the subject during the debate.

“Young children should be protected from gender confusion, which is being pushed in many [school] districts,” Taylor said.

Bachrach said these comments — one of which received applause from the audience — concern him.

“Canada has really progressed in becoming more inclusive and I’m concerned about how such hurtful comments are felt by members of our community,” Bachrach said. “I strongly believe we must respect people’s right to be who they are and love who they love.”

Candidates also talked about climate change, the economy and support for seniors during the debate.

When challenged by a member of the audience on whether the so-called climate crisis is real, Green Party candidate Michael Sawyer said most of the science that has been essentially classified as “climate change denying” has been reviewed by other scientists and has been found to be flawed.

On the economic front, Conservative candidate Claire Rattée vowed to support small businesses and enterpreneurs by working to eliminate measures she says make life more expensive, including the carbon tax.

Liberal candidate Dave Birdi said the most important message he was trying to convey during the debate was his party’s commitment to improving the lives of seniors, including efforts to reduce drug prices.

”We want to work with the provinces on the best way to achieve universal pharmacare as one part of a national plan to strengthen medicare,” Birdi said after the debate.

Voter turnout has been on an upward trend after it hit a historic low of 58.8 per cent in the 2008 election, according to Elections Canada data.

The rate climbed to 61.1 per cent in 2011 and 68.3 per cent in 2015.

In the Skeena-Bulkley Valley electoral district, which includes Houston and comprises almost the entire northwest quarter of British Columbia the voter turnout has risen slightly since 2006 when 63.13 per cent of voters cast ballots, according to Statistics Canada.

The rate fell to 56.51 per cent in 2008, then climbed to 58.86 per cent in 2011 and rose even higher to 69.76 in 2015.

Also on the rise is the turnout of Indigenous voters, who make up about 33 per cent of the population of Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

British Columbia, the country’s third most populous province, had a turnout rate of 70 per cent in the 2015 federal election, according to data from the Conference Board of Canada think tank.

Election day is Monday, Oct 21, check your voter’s card to see where your polling station is located. You can also register at your polling station the day of the election.