My Tech Guys continue to live stream most of the political events in the Comox Valley. This post will be a live recording of the 2019 Chamber of Commerce Courtenay Federal All Candidates Debate held at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary (view map) on W
You can read more about the candidates below.
Gord is a passionate advocate for the people of Courtenay—Alberni. He puts partisan politics aside to do what is best for his constituents, the environment, the economy and all Canadians.
Born and raised in Victoria, Gord has lived in Port Alberni since 2015. Up until then, he was a small business owner and municipal leader in Tofino. As the proud father of three children, he wants to leave a better Canada to the next generation—and he’s determined to do everything he can to get the job done.
Sean was raised in Orillia, Ontario, and moved to B.C. in 1993. He recalls the first breathtaking drive up the Sea to Sky highway, and the stunning majesty of the Coastal Mountains and Pacific Ocean.
Sean and his wife of 21 years Teresa (R.N.) and their two sons Erik (6) and Isak (3) have a home in Parksville. Teresa works full-time, and Sean is a busy and active dad in the boys’ lives.
His career includes working for Canadian Pacific Hotels, Whistler-Blackcomb, Intrawest, and Arc’teryx. He now owns a graphic design company, Wood & Company Creative which services businesses large and small. Sean holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems.
Sean’s business as a graphic designer requires him to work closely with his clients to help them creatively solve their problems, just as he will listen to his constituents and work to find creative ways to improve the community. He believes that creativity and imagination are important parts to innovation, and a clean future where all Canadians can thrive. He wants his children, as well as generations to come, to enjoy a stable, sustainable economy which allows our beautiful landscapes to sustain its people, just as it has done in the past.
He was motivated to run for the Green Party of Canada by a commitment to helping keep his community and his country an amazing place to live and raise families.
“The Island is a beautiful place to live. The Greens are a strong voice to guide the country in the direction we need to go. As a federal Green candidate, I’ll be able to spend more time with my party leader than the other candidates, in order to be sure that the people of Courtenay-Alberni benefit the most from my election. Green MPs are encouraged to vote for their riding needs over party goals.”
Sean spent 5 years as a volunteer firefighter in Parksville. He is proud to have been able to give time and effort to his community in one of the most dangerous and demanding jobs.
As an elected member of parliament, he would champion tax relief for the dedicated volunteer firefighters, search & rescue and auxiliary Coast Guard members in his riding of Courtenay-Alberni and across Canada. These courageous men and women help keep our municipal taxes lower, and any tax relief we can give them will flow right back into our communities.
Volunteerism has played a strong role in Sean’s history. His grandfather George Buttimer volunteered in 1940 to the Canadian Provost Corps in New Brunswick at age 32, but in 1945 was killed in action in Europe. Sean’s mother volunteered for various church, school and women’s groups, and his father volunteered as both an ambulance attendant and a police officer in Ontario. Continuing this volunteer path, in 1996 he sold most of his belongings to self-finance a 3-month trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he taught basic computer skills to adult learners. Seeing the poverty of Eastern Africa in the mid-1990s has changed how he views the world.
Sean is dedicated to a full, positive and respectful campaign and meeting constituents all across our district.
Byron is a businessman and community volunteer with deep roots on Vancouver Island. He speaks French, have worked for an MP in Ottawa and have the political, legal and financial education and experience to be an effective representative for you and your family. He is listening to your concerns and, if elected, will deliver real results for our communities.
Byron was raised by a family with strong community values. His commitment to Vancouver Island is complimented by diverse experiences. Public policy and public service are in his blood and he is committed to:
- making life more afforable,
- making our communities safer,
- growing our local economy and
- protecting our environment.
Jonah was born and raised in Powell River, and growing up spent many hours, days and weeks in Port Alberni with his grandparents attending the Fall Fair, camping with his family at various Vancouver Island campsites, and playing a variety of sports at almost all of the high schools in the riding.
Jonah, who has been fascinated with politics for a long time, works at the BC Legislature, and previously studied Political Science at the University of Ottawa. During his time in Ottawa he regularly volunteered on Parliament Hill giving him an in-depth look at the inner workings of our Federal government and an appreciation for how decisions are made. This experience also underscored the value a strong politician can add to their community.
Jonah’s first leadership achievement dates back to his home to Powell River and his high school days when he, along with a few friends, founded the Powell River Youth Resource Center and raised the necessary funds to keep the doors open for the first year of its existence. What he is prouder still of, is the fact the Center is still open to the teens of Powell River as a new generation have picked up the slack when Jonah and the other founders left Powell River following their graduation.
Jonah is passionate about the outdoors, loving to hike and camp near as many small lakes across Vancouver Island as he can find. Jonah’s other passion is volunteering with experience in a wide variety of causes. He has coached basketball for the past three years and really enjoys the mentoring aspect of coaching teenage boys.
Jonah has three main concerns, first use the infrastructure money the federal government is investing here locally to support local governments. He knows from his time in Ottawa this is a constant battle to keep Courtenay Alberni in the minds of decision makers at all times. Second, support the creation of more local jobs to help keep people in local communities for the long term. Finally a commitment to protecting the environment both locally and nationally.
Barbara Biley represents the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada. Biley says the current electoral system doesn’t give Canadians an actual say in matters. This is why if elected, Biley says the party will give citizens the chance to solve a variety of problems, including climate change.
“Right now, our situation is that all the decisions about the development of the economy and everything is made by government acting in the interests of the biggest global monopolies and there’s no possibility within that situation to turn it around. So we need fundamental democratic reform, democratic renewal in Canada so that Canadians become the decision-makers and are able to tackle these problems,” Biley said. “The solutions are there, science has them, the people have them. It’s the political system that’s blocking us from solving any of these problems.”
Biley says healthcare is a basic right and that the government is responsible for providing it, including dental care and mental health support. She says that also means it’s the government’s responsibility to provide pharmacare. If elected, the party’s plan is to overcome one hurdle first. “We have a problem in Canada where it’s the monopoly’s based on a profit motive that provide the drugs that people need to stay healthy or to cure conditions. And that’s the problem that has to be overcome. We should be investing in the development and production of pharmaceuticals and taking it out of the hands of the monopoly,” she said.
Biley says the problem with having political parties coming into power is they want to fight to stay in power, which leads to other issues being dismissed. When asked about ensuring long-term protection and success along BC’s coastline. “Our party per se, would not be doing this or that. Our party is fighting for change in the direction of the economy so that it meets the needs of Canadians. Our party is fighting for democratic renewal so that it is Canadians who are the decision-makers on all these matters. If Canadians were the decision-makers, there would be measures in place to protect the coastal waters, to protect the environment. To protect the people.”
There is a growing income and wealth gap in Canada, but the Marxist-Leninist Party won’t be addressing it. Instead, Biley says they want to give Canadians the power to change the situation. “It’s not a matter of a party being elected and magically coming to correcting the problems that exist. These problems are fundamental and if Canadian workers, women, youth, people were in charge of the economy, there would be protection and regulation to prevent the exploitation of our resources for private profit and the development of all sectors of the economy, healthcare, education based on something other than the needs of the people, social needs of the people.”
“So it’s a social responsibility and the change has to come about by empowering people. Having people speak in their own name, make decisions in their own interests. We don’t have that now,” Biley adds.
She says an important issue that has not been discussed at all is war and Canada’s participation in conflicts around the world. Biley says her party believes Canada should activate its force for peace, instead of participating in sanctions against other countries. “This is a very dangerous situation… I believe that the question of making Canada a zone for peace and a factor for peace in the world is an extremely important issue.”