Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to our online chat. Just a few more of these to come before the Big Day!
Today's guest is Liberal candidate for Cambridge, Bryan May. Bryan, thanks for the time. Are you ready to answer some questions?
Hello to everyone. Thank you to 570 News for the opportunity to reach out to the citizens in this new format.
I feel the biggest issue in Cambridge is a lack of leadership at the federal level. We have a member of Parliament who feels that his role is simply to cut cheques. I will fight for everything that Cambridge deserves but also provide leadership and vision to make sure that money is spent wisely. As well as jobs, education, affordable housing, and cost of living are on the hearts and minds of Cambridge residents.
We have a platform that changes the priorities of our current government. Our platform is responsibly costed unlike that of the NDP or Conservatives. They both have billion dollar wholes in their platforms. A Liberal lead government is purposing $8 billion worth of new spending. We will pay for this by not cutting taxes for the richest companies in this country - $6 billion this year and $6 billion next year. This money will go to families and small business, and help create a strong middle class – which is the backbone of our economy. As well as allow us to start paying Harper’s $54 billion deficit.
I believe that full disclosure is the only responsible option with regards to the Afghan detainees file. An inquiry is the responsible thing to do and the right thing to do. Canada’s position in the world has taken a slide over the last 5 years as a result of the Conservative parties’ position on foreign policy and immigration. This is simply one example of how far we have slid. Other examples include loosing the seat at the UN Security Council, loosing Camp Mirage, and taking a reduced role in the international green house gas negotiations. We need strong leadership to step-up and reclaim our place in the world now.
Times are tough, and middle income families are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet. This is why the Liberals and I believe that helping families now should be our highest priority. I believe the oil companies and big banks are doing well, and an additional tax break for them is not required to maintain our competitive advantage over our friends to the south. We feel families have waited long enough to be at the front of the line. The Liberals are purposing the Family Pack which will help families in areas of child care, caring for elderly loved ones, and helping students be able to go to school. Developing a sustainable economy will help in these turbulent times to protect the long term future of homeowners.
Some interesting questions -- and responses -- already today. If you're just joining us, take a moment to glance back at what's already written. And if your question is already in the queue, hang in there! I'm sure your answer will appear in short order. Our next question comes from Sean.
Sean I’ve heard from so many individuals that are in your position. We need to develop long term strategies to focus on the structural unemployment issue in Canada. The Conservative economic action plan focuses on the short term without a long term vision and with no strategy to help people like yourself. Many of the jobs that the Conservatives are patting themselves on the back for creating are temporary and part-time. We have a lot of work to do to get back to where we were before 2008. A Liberal government is prepared to focus on key champion sectors of health and bio-sciences, green energy, and digital technology. Cambridge is uniquely positioned to benefit from all three of these areas. This is the economy of the future and we need to embrace it now, and become a leader in the world before we are left behind. Allowing companies like Nortel to be sold off is simply not in the best interest of Canada or Cambridge.
I would agree with your assessment of the Conservative parties’ record. They have done very little to ensure that students can get post-secondary education, and be able to find a job to pay off their debt. The Liberal Party will implement a Learning Passport which will provide up to $6000 for students to help make post-secondary education affordable. We will also create an EI holiday on small and medium business that hire young people which we believe will help 170,000 students in this country. Another $1500 in student loans can forgiven for any student who serves as a volunteer either at home or abroad. We will also forgive up to $40,000 of student loans to new doctors who practice in rural areas. The NDP platform sounds wonderful but please look closely at how they intend to pay for it. The revenue simply does not exist and the NDP are being irresponsible promising opportunities for students that they cannot deliver. I’d give them an F in accounting for their platform.
Sorry, Susan, I accidentally mis-clicked and removed your question about the Liberal platform and how it will be paid for without raising taxes for businesses and families. Bryan, can you please respond?
I cannot be more clear when I say we will not raise taxes on families. We will not raise taxes on small business. We will not raise the GST. The Liberal plan is simple – we will hold the corporate tax rate at 18% generating an additional $6 billion worth of revenue this year. This is how we will pay for our platform. We feel families deserve the opportunity to get back on their feet. We will also not spend $13 billion on American style mega-prisons which don’t work.
I understand that he’s a great chiropractor. I also respect anyone who decides to serve their community, and put their name forth on a ballot.
I agree that there are high stakes in this community as the races will be tight. At the beginning of the campaign we had a great kickoff with Michael Ignatieff at Karen Redman’s office which was open to all who wanted to attend. This is a fundamental difference between Ignatieff and Harper – he does not restrict access by requiring an invitation and creeping Facebook. Ignatieff has proven through his work over the past 18 months that he is easily the most accessible of all the leaders. We hope he can return to engage the citizens again before May 2nd but this is a big country.
The only poll that matter’s is the one on election day. My focus is getting the voter turnout up from the last election. I feel everyone should take the opportunity to have their voices heard. I will work with whoever is elected and I will work for all Cambridge citizens, not just those who have voted for me.
I believe we have to take a long look before we make any decision on legalizing marijuana. I support decriminalization of simple possession but not trafficking. I don’t think the government should legalize it simply to generate revenue. I believe that that the Conservative plan to take us down the road of an American style judicial system is wrong. The United States spends billions upon billions keeping people in jail and breeding better criminals. I believe if we want to reduce crime in this country we need to get people a job, we need to get people an education.
We've just about reached our 10-minute warning. I'll ask Bryan to respond to 2 more questions (or 3 if he's really quick) before we move on to closing remarks.
First off Giuseppe, I want to thank you for your dedication and hard work. You should be proud of 20 years in business through some tough times. I agree that small business in this community, in this country need help from the federal government. We will support small business as this is the backbone of our economy. The EI holiday we have purposed on hiring youth will help bring costs down and enable you to hire new staff. Our education package will ensure that you are able to hire skilled workers. I wish you all the best and look forward to helping you achieve another 20 years.
Bill, I’ve had the opportunity to tour a number of factories over this election. The message is clear – we are not out of the woods and we need to prepare for possibility of sliding into yet another recession. The high dollar and high gas prices are canaries in the coal mine that we need to pay attention to. The Conservatives ignored these indicators in 07/08, we cannot make the same mistake again. The major problem I see now is that we do not have the money to address the problem with a $54 billion deficit. We need strong leadership to address this issue head on, and not simply ignore it and hope for the best.
First of all thank you for engaging. Many of those who do not follow politics have tuned out. It has been my goal during this election to tune citizens back in, and express how important it is that they are involved in the process. I have a passion to serve citizens of Cambridge and Canada. I will bring leadership as well as the resources that Cambridge deserves. My experience has prepared me to serve those in need and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Cambridge needs a strong voice to prepare us for a changing world, and lead us into the future. I will speak for Cambridge not for the party to which I am a member. Thankfully I belong to a party that allows me to do so. I hope to have your support on May 2nd – thank you.
OK, folks, that's all the time we have for today. Before we let you, go, Bryan, any final thoughts?
Thank you Mike for the opportunity to be here today, and speak to the constituents in this format. It’s exciting to use technology to reach out in different ways to get my message out. I hope everybody takes an opportunity to look at all of the platforms and decide for themselves what is best for them. Look beyond the rhetoric and ask yourself does this make sense? I hope that the 36% increase in advanced poll is an indicator of what we will see on May 2nd. Voter turnout is important and critical to ensuring a strong democracy. A democracy that is currently under fire and one that I hope to fix. Thanks again. Vote for May in May!
Thanks again for your time today, Bryan. And thanks to all of you for the questions. Please join us again tomorrow when we welcome Kitchener-Conestoga Green Party candidate Albert Ashley to this online forum. Talk to you then.