Maple Ridge council has pitched questions to federal candidates.

Maple Ridge council grills federal candidates

Poses 10 questions to six contenders in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge

The City of Maple Ridge council is weighing in on the federal election, asking candidates how they would treat their junior partner, if they became elected MP for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.

Council fired off 10 questions to the six contenders, asking them about issues ranging from housing, child care, policing and the long-desired fish way to allow salmon to get past the Alouette reservoir dam.

“Thanks to all for the courage to put your names forward to stand for election. We hope that our questions and responses may assist voters in their decision-making process,” Mayor Mike Morden said on Facebook where replies were posted.

One of the hot-button issues posed to candidates, asked them if their party would speed up “critical transportation and community amenities.”

Conservative candidate Marc Dalton said that the Liberal government has only spent 60 per cent of the money earmarked for infrastructure. “In other words, a very high percentage of projects announced, have gone nowhere.” Dalton said that several projects he’s fought for are going ahead, such as the HOV lane between Maple Ridge and the Pitt River Bridge along with improvements for the Haney bypass.

But Liberal MP Dan Ruimy listed several areas where the government has allocated money for that infrastructure. The federal government has alloted $29 billion for public transit, Ruimy said. The government is also making its public transit funding permanent, so cities can plan better.

Ruimy added that in 2019, it doubled the money given to cities from the federal gas tax fund.

NDP candidate John Mogk said that expansion of the West Coast Express, was a priority, as was the four laning of Lougheed Highway to Mission and the Harris Road underpass. Ruimy had announced earlier this year funding for four laning of Lougheed Highway. However, provincial funding for that has not yet been committed.

Another hot button issue was criminal justice reform.

“Conservatives believe that, given the opportunity and appropriate supports, Canadians who suffer from addiction should have the ability to recover,” Dalton replied. He said that Liberal government has failed to provide leadership on addiction. “The cycle of injecting, overdosing, and reviving with no adequate assistance to get addicts treatment and into recovery is simply not the type of health care that Canadians deserve.”

Ruimy though said Liberals will set up a community justice centres program that will set up courts beside social services, adding they will spend another $6 billion on criminal justice. “This includes appointing 225 more judges to improve access to justice.”

As well, Liberals would support the provinces allowing them to hire 425 new prosecutors and 225 new judges to reduce delays in the court system.

Mogk said the NDP will “restore judicial independence by reducing reliance on mandatory minimums and allowing trial judges more discretion when it comes to sentencing.

“We know that community-based and restorative justice approaches help to heal communities that have been impacted by crime,” Mogk said.

Ariane Jaschke, Green party candidate, said her party would “ensure illegal handguns are intercepted and kept out of our cities.” It would also direct Canada Border Services Agency, “to weapons smuggling and reduce pursuit of people living in Canada without proper residency, but who are otherwise law-abiding.” It would also launch a confidential buyback program for handguns and assault weapons.

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