Candidate forum gets lively when discussing economy

Fuhr comes out swinging

Stephen Fuhr was in attack mode when it came to the Canadian economy during a candidates forum Wednesday morning hosted by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.

Fuhr, the incumbent Liberal in Kelowna-Lake Country, got more aggressive than he has been throughout the campaign when it came to a question about the mortgage stress test.

When Fuhr stated the Liberals have no intention of eliminating the stress test, which some have complained is keeping them from buying a home, Conservative Dan Albas retorted potential homeowners and real estate professionals are frustrated with the test. He said a Conservative government would rework it.

"Further to that, we also have the Liberals now saying they are going to add a speculation tax on top of the provincial speculation tax we already have," said Albas.

Fuhr shot back that the biggest single factor that moved the real estate market was the economy. He blamed the former Conservative government under Stephen Harper for failing to grow the economy, which stalled the housing market.

"The party that can grow the economy, that's the biggest single factor. These guys couldn't grow the economy. It was flatter than a pancake from 2008 to 2015, years after the recession was over," stated Fuhr.

"We wanted to do this responsibly, we wanted to get people into housing. We can grow the economy – because we did, and we can. They can't. And now, they are going to pull $53 billion out of the economy.

"Who can grow the economy, who can't? That's the biggest single factor that will affect this problem."

The breakfast event began with a speed dating-type event where candidates had the opportunity to go from table to table making their pitch, before hitting the stage to answer questions.

Here are some highlights from each of the other candidates:

Daniel Joseph (Independent) - Kelowna Lake Country

One of the most important things for me is addressing our homelessness and our drug abuse here in Kelowna-Lake Country. Addressing the environment, and making sure we are taking action on the environment. We shouldn't have Greta Thunberg calling out climate action ... leaders and government should be the ones taking climate action and actually making some changes.

Silverado Socrates (Independent) - Kelowna-Lake Country

I am promoting peace through tourism. I am running as an independent, but I lean green. I hope to use my assets as both a former world-class athlete and a tourism operator-owner for over 30 years to help bring Kelowna and the Okanagan to a different communication strategy where we can see the peace we need to see in the world.

Joan Philip (NDP) - Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

I really believe the New Democratic Party is the one that is going to lift everyone up, except the top one per cent. We need a holistic approach because everything is connected. We need a strong economy. I believe small business is the backbone of the country. We need to tackle homelessness, and we need to convert to renewable energy.

Tracy Gray (Conservative) - Kelowna-Lake Country

It's been mentioned today about all of the tough choices that Premier Doug Ford (Ontario) has been making, and that's what happens when you have a longtime Liberal government. You have to come in and fix the house. You have a very important decision to make during this election. Please consider what has happened over the last four years – have there been policies and tax changes that have been helpful to your business? Are there policy and tax changes that have been helpful to you and your family?

For the last year, I have been out door knocking, meeting with residents, business people and stakeholders, and doing lots of listening. I have a much better pulse of the community than ever before

Mary Ann Murphy (Liberal) - Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Murphy told a story about one of her experiences while door knocking during the campaign.

"We were out door knocking last week, and a fellow came screaming off his balcony at me. I used all my skills to take the situation down. I lowered my hands, I dropped my voice and started to step backwards. I said: 'Sir, I'm not here to upset you, what can I do?' He said: 'I'm so upset with you Liberals, you've ruined a perfectly good drug dealing business.'"

Travis Ashley (Green) - Kelowna Lake Country

I'm a 26-year-old father of two. I'm a young man just fighting for their rights, and my rights. I could be talking to you about all the crises we face, but that word is being so overused. It's almost like these crises aren't even seen as a crisis anymore, which is what's really bothering me. It's this incremental change and the lack of political will and courage, and the truth that's really destroying me from the inside out. What I need now is strong leadership.

Robert Mellalieu (Green) - Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

I came to the Green Party for the economics. Canada needs better infrastructure. We are currently laggers on the world stage. We don't have a proper electrical grid, we're not taking advantage of 21st century technology. This is not a country that is a leader in the world. Canada used to be a leader. The Green Party wants us to be leaders again.

John Barr (PPC) - Kelowna-Lake Country

If there is a sign that I could hold up it would be "to hesitate," because the direction all of these other parties are going to take us is to more spending and more governance. I feel we need less governance, we need less money spent and less money collected. That's why I'm here, and that's what I'm standing for.

Allan Duncan - (PPC) - Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

We are pursuing, with the People's Party of Canada, our core principles of freedom, personal responsibility, fairness and respect. We think those are good principles and good values to bring with our growing network in Canada to the established heirarchy in Ottawa. A new voice, a new location politically for people to put their energies into. I hope to bring that voice to Ottawa ... something new, something fresh.

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