Seated are Ed Fast, Senator Yonah Martin, Bob Zimmer, Alice Wong and Mel Arnold. Standing are the Conservative Candidates from across the lower mainland ridings.

By Junita Thakorlal

Vancouver: The Conservative Party of Canada held a BC Caucus meeting this past Monday at the prestigious law offices of Denton’s and invited the ethnic media for a face-off. Attending were radio, television, and print media outlets representing the South Asian, Chinese, and Korean communities ready with their direct questions.

Casualties: one, and his name was Justin Trudeau.

Widespread values that are held by the audience of which the individual media agencies represented were relatively similar and tended to be traditional. Reporter Cora Yu of The Epoch Times, a Chinese and English newspaper, claimed to reach 40,000 weekly readers in the local Chinese community and started off the question-period by getting straight to the point: the Canada-China relationship. She asked questions about Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou who is facing extradition to the USA, and the deteriorated relationship with China partly due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s failure to appoint a new ambassador to China after former Liberal MP John McCallum was fired in January of this year.

The BC Conservatives present were MP Bob Zimmer, Chair – Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy & Ethics; MP Alice Wong, Official Opposition Shadow Minister for Seniors; MP Mel Arnold, Deputy Shadow Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard; MP Ed Fast, Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change; and Conservative Senator Yonah Martin. Also attending was Scott Lamb, President of the Conservative Party of Canada.

“So many opportunities are slipping away from Canada as we watch important international relationships eroding,” said MP Zimmer. “Even the relationship with India where taxes on pulses, a staple in the South Asian diet, increased to a whopping 60 per cent. All of these failures affect Canadians and we haven’t even begun to see the long-term effects of them yet.”

Yu continued, “cannabis was another issue where Chinese-Canadians generally disapprove of, and constituents were not included on the consultation process before it was pushed through. We can’t change the past, nor is it feasible to expect the law to be retracted, but what will the Conservative Party of Canada do about public safety?”

Although the general consensus by all attending was that Justin Trudeau was premature in legalizing cannabis, MP Fast replied, “it would be fairly difficult for us to retract the legalization. All we can do is figure out how better to manage the process. We would take a hard look at how we can make the guidelines stricter and take a look at access. Currently there is a discrepancy between selling to minors and how much a minor can carry. Minors should not be able to carry any cannabis [at all], but this is the type of loophole we would look to close.”

MP Zimmer chimed in, “safety on the roads is also a major issue as the Liberal government has failed to provide regulations and a reliable system for testing the toxicity of those caught driving while under the influence of marijuana. We would look to see where these types of issues can be tightened. And now Justin Trudeau is pushing through edibles on the day of the election! It’s simply irresponsible to do so without proper guidelines and research.”

Yu continued, “the Chinese culture is one that is naturally conservative by nature, but the community needs to know where the Conservative Party of Canada stands on local issues as well. For example, sexualized education for children in elementary schools seems to be a very Liberal concept that is generally not accepted as required for a child’s development. What would the Conservative Party of Canada do about this topic if they come into power?”

Although Ministry of Education is a provincial mandate, the response was in the question itself.

There were many other issues that were discussed including:

  • the newly passed Bill C-71 which although aimed at controlling legal gun possession has made it slightly easier for criminals to obtain firearms in the process;
  • the mortgage stress test and other taxes which is making affordability more difficult for the average Canadian;
  • immigration, refugee, and settlement issues where international student issues are reaching a crisis stage and a flood of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications due to a loophole created by the Liberal government has set regular applicants further down the track;
  • environment and the vague declaration made by Justin Trudeau on the ban on single-use plastics;
  • Indigenous issues including the Indian Act and how it impacts Canadians;
  • Liberal scandals including SNC Lavalin and Trudeau’s India trip.

The result of the 3-hour long question and answer period: Conservatives 1 Liberals 0. It’s high time Canadians get better acquainted with the issues that concern them and engage in discussion with their local politicians and candidates. Or we just might lose at the polls this October.