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Editor’s note : The Journal invited the six local candidates in the federal election to participate in a Q&A on issues. The answers of the five who participated are presented this week, in alphabetical order.
Tom Laird
Tom Laird

Editor’s note: The Journal invited the six local candidates in the federal election to participate in a Q&A on issues. The answers of the five who participated are presented this week, in alphabetical order. People’s Party of Canada candidate Brian Everaert did not respond.

1 - What do you see as the most pressing issue in Sarnia-Lambton right now, and why?

It’s not a surface issue such as the opioid crisis, shortage of affordable housing, the carbon tax response to climate change or fiscal accountability. It’s a scarcity of sound leadership. The immediate quest for power and status is placed ahead of the long-term good. This results in chronic financial mismanagement as political parties promise to buy our votes with our own money. Principles are abandoned for the sake of political advantage. The maxim to “love our neighbour as ourselves” or to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us” is seen as an impediment to success. The CHP remains committed to the Judeo-Christian values and principles that made our country great and will give us a brighter future.

2 - Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? And what should Canada do about it?

Earth’s climate is extremely complex and in a state of change. During the dust bowl years of the 1930s, average temperatures in North America were higher than today. Evidence suggests Norse settlements on Greenland 1,000 years ago included agriculture (requiring a warmer growing season). Some research suggests higher atmospheric CO2 levels are the result of higher temperatures, not the cause. While human activity may have some effect on earth’s climate, there are likely other factors. The climate change hysteria and fear mongering we see today is rooted more in politics than in science. The CHP would not burden the economy with billions of dollars of cost to fight a climate trend that may be inevitable – or not.

3 - Residents know Sarnia is in the grip of a serious addiction problem. Any solutions?

Addiction in our community is not unique. It’s an issue across the country and requires a national effort.  We need to take a better look at caring for the most vulnerable in our society - the very young and the aged. We also have an extreme problem with opioids and illicit drug use. Stricter controls regarding opioid prescriptions, use, and disposal are needed to reduce the amount of opioid medications in the community. Legalizing marijuana, often a gateway drug to harder drugs, was absolutely a step in the wrong direction. CHP would re-criminalize the possession and sale of recreational marijuana. CHP would favour stricter drug enforcement, harsher penalties for those involved in trafficking, and would invest in community resources to assist those battling addiction.

4 - Despite a robust economy, none of the major parties are promising to balance the budget in the next four years. Is that a mistake?

CHP has always been committed to fiscal responsibility. This begins at home with our commitment as a party and as candidates not to run deficits. We believe government has a duty to its citizens to manage the tax dollars entrusted to it in a stewardly way. Despite what some politicians seem to believe, we all know budgets don’t balance themselves. It takes hard work, and sometimes making hard choices, to bring spending in line with income. Government is not well equipped for economic efficiency. A CHP government would take a critical look at what government ought to do and what can best be done by private citizens and step away from areas where the public would be better served by the private sector.

5 – Sarnia-Lambton’s economy rests heavily on the oil and gas industry. How should this community position itself in a world moving away from fossil fuels?

CO2 is a naturally occurring component of the atmosphere and is necessary for plant life to exist. It makes up about .04% of earth’s atmosphere. Studies suggest its impact on the earth’s temperature is overstated by climate change alarmists. The CHP opposes the carbon tax and government-led “cap and trade” schemes as ineffective solutions to a questionable problem. Moving quickly away from a fossil fuel-based economy to “renewable” energy sources will disproportionately affect the lower-income members of society. However, fossil fuels are not infinite, and working towards cost-effective renewable energy to replace part of our dependence is a sound long-term strategy. CHP would support research into efficient use of fossil fuels, reducing chemical releases to our air and water, and economically viable “green” energy.

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