The Yarmouth Rotary Club and the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum for the provincial Yarmouth riding. Present were Mitch Bonnar of the PCs, Zach Churchill of the Liberals and David Olie of the NDP. Each candidate was given two minutes to reply to the questions asked. Green Party candidate Jim Laverie was out of the province and unable to attend, however the Vanguard reached out to him so he could provide responses to the questions that the other candidates in the riding were asked.
We have been sharing web postings that include their responses to the questions asked. In this posting the question is: What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
ZACH CHURCHILL, LIBERALS:
“Oddly enough, considering my age, I do have a lot more experience in government and representation than my opponents, but that said, we all bring a different skill set to the table here.
“I think choice is absolutely important to people. I think a lot of folks take our democracy for granted because we’ve been doing it for the duration of our lives, but there are places in the world that don’t have that. I just want to commend my opponents for having the courage to put their names forward, I know it’s not easy. It’s not easy knocking on doors, some are easier than others.
“But I think that the experience I bring to the table and the way I view this role as being community-centred (distinguishes me). I really take that part of the job very seriously. I work hard to get out to every single community event that I can, be engaged with the community, be accessible with people so they know me and feel comfortable talking to me. I think that has helped me to better serve and represent people in this community.”
MITCH BONNAR, PC:
“Well, the first item is I’m double (Zach’s) age. That’s good in one way, bad in another. I wish I was 32 again. I think we all want the same thing. Zach represented the area for almost seven years, it’s time for a change, I think. I bring to the table 35-plus years of business experience, I’m a bulldog and I intend to go to Halifax and fight for us and start this economy growing again.”
DAVID OLIE, NDP:
“First of all, one of the similarities between Mitch and myself is he’s the president of Th’YARC and I’m the vice-president of Th’YARC, so politics does make strange bedfellows.
“Look folks, I’m not under any delusions that there are very many votes in this room for me. I’m running for the people are not in this room. I’m running for the people who may be your employees. I’m running for the people who are in the lousy apartments and the people who really need a hand up to get themselves out of the conditions that they’re in and lead a decent life in our community and make a greater contribution to our community. That’s one of the reasons why we are going to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage, because we’ve got to get the economy churning, we’ve got to get money moving through the system. If people have more money to spend, they will spend it. That’s to the greater benefit of everybody in this room. That’s why I’m focused on social justice issues, poverty issues and that’s the kind of representative you will get if I’m elected,”
JIM LAVERIE, GREEN PARTY:
“I have been a member of two of the other three traditional parties in the past and found they say one thing during elections and do something else after the election. The Green Party policies and a platform are something that I can believe in and am proud to put forward. The Green Party respects Nova Scotians citizens and worker’s rights, the current Liberal government has enacted an unprecedented seven pieces of anti worker legislation.
“The Green Party is the only party committed to ending the current electoral system where one person (the premier) can force their will on citizens, in favour of consensus building proportional voting system that works well in many countries in making decisions. The Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia can be a model of collaboration and decorum working for the good of all Nova Scotians. It can be creative and work collaboratively to deal with issues and spend taxpayers’ money prudently. A fair voting system that represents the popular vote, such as Mixed Member Proportional Representation, can also be introduced to elect our representatives. A reliable representative government fosters a democracy that is participatory, representative and responsive.
“Many citizens, especially youth, are so frustrated and disenfranchised that they do not vote. The Green Party is committed to youth being able to vote at age 16.
“At this time, all decisions are made by one party and one leader, often in secret. There is ample room and clear possibility for improvement. Green MLAs will base decisions on evidence and seek to work collaboratively. Green Party MLAs will be expected to serve their constituents first, and will put more power in the hands of citizens and communities to help solve the challenges that we face. This will be done through citizen assemblies, town hall meetings, and Legislative committee hearings.”
QUESTIONS FROM THE CANDIDATE FORUM: