Langley Advance 10 Questions: Liberals Polak and Coleman respond

Langley’s Liberal candidates offered extended answers to our 10 Questions survey.

Note: Liberal candidates for Langley East, Rich Coleman, and Langley, Mary Polak, returned a single set of answers.

1. Do you support the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline?

YES

Responsible resource development means welcoming investment and job creation in British Columbia. It means respecting environmental processes and not opposing new projects out of hand. Today’s BC Liberal plan means resource development done the British Columbia way – with strict environmental review processes and strong monitoring once in operation.

Any heavy oil project must meet our five conditions before it will be approved. These conditions set the bar high and ensure BC’s environmental protection, First Nations’ participation and economic benefits for British Columbians. We have always said that we would measure Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain project against these five conditions.

The Trudeau government approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project with 157 conditions and BC added 37 legally-binding conditions that are designed to supplement those 157 conditions.

Our government also secured economic benefits for all British Columbians that will see BC workers first in line for the expected 75,000 person years of good-paying jobs and up to $1 billion for the Province for projects that protect our environment and benefit our communities.

2. Should the province intervene further to cool real estate prices?

NO

Affordable housing is more than a roof over someone’s head, it’s the opportunity to buy a home, put down roots, and start building equity. Our BC Liberal government is guided by 6 principles as we work to address housing affordability:

 Ensuring the dream of home ownership remains within the reach of the middle class

 Increasing housing supply

 Smart transit expansion

 Supporting first-time home buyers

 Ensuring consumer protection

 Increasing rental supply

With a strong and growing economy, BC is a highly attractive place to live, work, and raise a family. It’s no surprise that housing prices have increased. We recognize that this has impacted affordability for many British Columbians.

So our government has taken strong action. To assist new purchasers, the First Time Home Buyers Program can help save up to $8,000. And through the BC HOME Partnership program, our government is providing repayable down payment assistance loans to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price, up to $37,500. More than 1,000 first time purchasers have been approved for these benefits since the program began in January.

And we have instituted a luxury tax of 3% on home purchases more than $2 million, while also ending self-regulation of the real estate industry. In Metro Vancouver, we implemented a 15% tax of foreign buyers.

Going forward, we commit to expanding the Home Renovation Tax credit eligibility to those renovating their homes to accommodate secondary suites.

At this time, we don’t intend to do anything further, but we will continue to monitor the situation and, guided by our principles, would consider action at the appropriate time if required.

Langley Advance Survey Responses BC Liberal Candidates

3. Should schools be built before anticipated population growth?

NO

Our government works with school districts to develop long-term plans that address capital planning, the scale and scope of major seismic upgrades, and community growth.

When making capital funding allocations, our government’s priorities are:

 Addressing high priority safety issues, like high risk seismic mitigation and structural issues;

 Adding classrooms in areas of rapid residential growth; and

 Ensuring schools are well-maintained, well-functioning and durable.

Since 2001, the BC Liberal Government has invested more than $87 million on capital projects in the

Langley School District, including

 Expanding Langley Fundamental Middle/Secondary;

 The new Lynn Fripps Elementary;

 Richard Bulpitt Elementary;

 The new Yorkson Creek Middle School; and

Major projects currently underway include a seismic upgrade of Langley Secondary School, a new Willoughby Secondary and an addition at RC Garnett Elementary.

We represent a growing area of the province and we commit to continuing to get the funding the Langley School District needs.

4. Should modest tolls be placed on all bridges and major highways to fund Translink?

NO

Today’s BC Liberals are focused on keeping taxes and fees low, leaving more money in the pockets of British Columbians. That’s why have committed to cap bridge tolls at $500 annually for commuters using the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges. This cap would also apply to the replaced Pattullo Bridge and George Massey Tunnel Replacement, once in operation.

The legislative requirement is that any new revenue source must receive a mandate from those who would pay for it. We remain committed to working with mayors and will hold a second referendum at their request.

5. Should fast growing Langley have its own courthouse again?

YES

Today’s BC Liberals are committed to improving access to justice and to our courts. The Lower Fraser Valley Court Strategy is based on growth projections in our region over the next 20 years. Plans include a new five-courtroom provincial courthouse in Langley, adding three courtrooms in Surrey, and expanding Chilliwack’s courthouse by two courtrooms.

Langley Advance Survey Responses BC Liberal Candidates

6. Should political donations be capped for MLAs and parties?

NO

We believe that British Columbians should have the choice to contribute to the candidate they support, not forced to subsidize all parties through their taxes.

There are a lot of ideas and options for further changes to how we fund political parties and campaigns so our government has committed to create an independent panel to recommend changes. These are decisions with far-reaching consequences and shouldn’t be made by politicians alone, and certainly not right before an election.

7. Would you support a moratorium on removing land from the ALR?

NO

The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), which includes six regional panels, is an independent, administrative tribunal responsible for making land-use decisions within the ALR and that’s where this should remain. The ALC bases its decisions on its mandate of preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia. The ALC looks at many factors when carrying out its mandate and each application has its own distinct set of circumstances and is considered on its own merits, including local considerations. We respect its authority and independence.

8. Should BC allow 18 year olds to smoke legal marijuana?

NO

If re-elected, we will immediately form an expert panel, made up of health and public safety experts, to advise on the development and implementation of regulations that bring the cannabis industry out of the hands of criminals and under a strictly monitored and enforced regulatory framework. For example, we will ask them to advise on how and where cannabis should be sold, restrictions in terms of proximity to schools, number of stores in a community, and safeguards for British Columbians who do not want to be exposed to second-hand smoke – especially children.

When it comes to the appropriate age for cannabis use, before we make a final decision, we want to ensure the expert panel hears and considers the evidence with regard to potential health impacts.

The minimum age for cigarettes and alcohol is 19 and we anticipate the age for cannabis use to remain the same but we will wait to hear from the expert panel.

9. Would you support raising provincial taxes to help house the homeless?

NO

Today’s BC Liberals have made jobs and economic growth a priority to ensure we are able to take care of the people that we love. As a result, we are able to make investments in programs to help people in need without increasing taxes.

Our government is taking significant steps to increase address homelessness. Since 2001, we have allocated $6.3 billion for housing for low-income British Columbians, vulnerable seniors and families. This includes more than $203 million this year for more than 14,000 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized units and rent supplements to support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness across British Columbia.

In 2015/16, we helped 158 homeless individuals or those at risk of homelessness, funding shelter spaces at the Campbell Valley house of Hope, Fraser Gardens, and the Gateway of Hope. In addition, Stepping Stones has a number of rent supplements available to assist those who have nowhere else to stay.

We remain committed to helping homeless individuals in Langley. The strong economy that our government has fostered means we can accomplish this without increasing taxes.

10. Should addicts be prescribed heroin/opioids to help control the overdose crisis?

NO

In response to this crisis, which has involved some 1,300 deaths, the BC Liberal government has:

 Invested $100 million to fund a comprehensive strategy to combat

overdoses;

 Increased access and coverage for opioid substitute treatments, like suboxone;

 Met our 500-treatment bed commitment;

 Established a BC Centre on Substance Use – the first of its kind; and

 Distributed over 30,000 free Naloxone kits.

Going forward, Today’s BC Liberals will use $10 million provided by the federal government to continue to prevent overdose deaths. We will also fund an additional 250 mental health and problematic substance use beds by 2022.

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