With all the issues being debated and promises being made, we took the liberty of breaking down the three big names in the Vancouver Quadra riding so that you know where each one sits on the issues that matter to students.
Joyce Murray of the Liberal Party has been MP for this riding since 2008, and is running for re-election. Scott Andrews is a UBC alumnus himself, and is running for the NDP. Blair Lockhart of the Conservatives, formally a senior legal counsel, couldn't be reached for comment.
Liberals: According to Murray, part of the Liberal party’s plan is increasing employment opportunities for young Canadians.
“There’s many other ways that we have already announced measures to support young people,” said Murray. “For example, a program to create 40,000 jobs a year for youth ... will be very helpful to people going to school because some of those jobs will be jobs that can help support their tuition or summer job.”
Murray said this initiative is restoring and increasing a previous program that “the government cut in half.”
NDP: “I began my UBC degree in 2001 and I actually watched tuition increase every year that I was studying. The average student graduates now owing more than $26,000 in debt,” said NDP Candidate Scott Andrews when asked about student debt.
Andrews points to decreasing transfer payments from Ottawa as a causal factor in this mass of debt. According to Andrews, an NDP Government will provide the provinces with adequate post-secondary education funding from the federal government.
Conservative: The Conservatives have promised to double the government’s contributions to RESPs. They will now give 20 cents on the dollar for regular income families and 40 cents for low income families on the first $500 put into an RESP each year. They’ve also promised to double federal contributions to additional Canada Education Savings grants.
Liberal: The Liberal Party’s plan for sustainability also involves spending $20 billion on developing public transit nationwide.
“[The Conservative Government] dropped their Build Canada Fund for infrastructure by 87 per cent for two years in a row,” said Murray. “We need to do more of investing in infrastructure because interest rates are low right now.”
Murray said that getting the Broadway Line in operation is part of the Liberal Party’s larger plan to develop public transit across Canada.
“The Broadway Line is extremely important. The traffic congestion in Vancouver has economic costs and a human cost in terms of waste of time. How many times have students been passed by busses on Broadway?”
NDP: During his time at UBC, Andrews would see the 99 B-Line bus pass by himself and groups of students on a regular basis. Andrews says that the NDP plan to improve public transit by providing “$1.3 billion every year in predictable and transparent investments across Canada.”
“This will also have the benefit of creating 31,000 good quality jobs in manufacturing transit operations and construction,” said Andrews. “Again Tom Mulcair is committed to being a good partner for municipalities and regional districts to make sure we’ve got a solid urban transit plan in place.”
Conservative: South Surrey-White Rock Conservative candidate Diane Watts announced that the Economic Action Plan’s national public transit fund will provide $700 million for the proposed $2.1 billion dollar Light Rail Transit Project in Surrey.
The party has chosen to support Surrey transit over Vancouver’s Broadway subway line because Surrey’s plan was more advanced, although they will not close the door on the east-west corridor.
Liberals: One of the main goals of the Liberal Party is to increase the Canadian government’s investment in sustainable energy. Measures to achieving this include removing subsidies from fossil fuels and spending $20 billion on green infrastructure over the next decade.
“Canada actually has to transition onto a green energy platform and away from fossil fuels in order to meet our 2 degree centigrade commitment to reducing emissions and global warming,” said Murray.
NDP: Andrews and the NDP are committed to setting numerous environmental goals. They intend to appeal the subsidies on the oil and gas industry, restore funding to the Canadian Research Council, attend the Paris Climate Summit and reduce CO2 emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050.
Conservatives: Conservatives support pipelines such as the Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan, Keystone XL and Energy East pipelines. They’ve committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, although they've announced no specific plans on how this will be accomplished. If elected, they will provide an enhanced tax credit for remote mining projects to help support potential mines that face higher costs because of their location.
Liberals: On the issue of marijuana, Murray said that Canada’s “prohibition policies have failed.”
“I believe that the best way to keep young children from having access to marijuana is to have it controlled and regulated by government, not the gangs,” she said. “That just fuels the gang wars and violence out on the streets. So if we want safer streets and safer kids, it’s important that it’s government, and not criminals, that are regulating and controlling this drug.”
NDP: Andrews says it is clear that Harper’s War on Drugs is not working.
“The current unregulated market, it’s failed. It produces violence, stigma and unfortunately control by organized crime,” said Andrews. “Our marijuana laws need to be modernized. They need to be based on evidence and public principles so the NDP would begin this process immediately by decriminalizing marijuana.”
Conservative: The Conservatives oppose any attempts to legalize marijuana and, comparing it to tobacco, say that legalizing the drug will not keep marijuana away from children.
“We have spent a couple of generations trying to reduce the usage of tobacco in Canada with a lot of success,” Harper said at a rally in Montreal. “Marijuana is infinitely worse.”