Health care dominates debate at Red Deer-Mountain View forum

Three candidates vying for votes in the newly carved Red Deer-Mountain View riding fielded mostly health-care related questions in a forum hosted by the Red Deer Public Library on Wednesday.

Three candidates vying for votes in the newly carved Red Deer-Mountain View riding fielded mostly health-care related questions in a forum hosted by the Red Deer Public Library on Wednesday.

Attendees wanted to know the candidates’ take on a national pharmacare program and how they would address the senior and persons with disabilities housing crisis.

New Democratic Party candidate Paul Harris, Liberal candidate Chandra Kastern, and Libertarian Party candidate James Walper presented their cases in the hope of being the voter’s choice on Oct. 19.

The Red Deer-Mountain View riding runs from Red Deer south of Ross Street to Carstairs, west to Sundre (but not Rocky Mountain House) and east to Delburne and Elnora. It includes portions of Mountain View and Red Deer counties.

Missing from the forum were candidates Earl Dreeshen for the Conservatives, Scott Milne, for the Pirate Party and Simon Oleny for the Green Party. The three were unable to attend because of prior engagements.

Once again it was Canada’s changing demographic and the repercussions which dominated the forum. Today there are more seniors than children in the country.

All three candidates were on different sides of the fence when it came to introducing a national pharmacare program.

Kastern said the Liberals have committed to bring the provinces and terrorities together to begin negotiations on a new Health Care Accord and discuss improving pharmaceutical care in the provinces and the funding required from the federal government.

Walper said the Libertarian Party would approach the issue of affordable drugs in a different way. He said the party would like to free up patent laws. The party believes in a true free market capitalist movement which would bring costs down.

“When it comes to health care in general, we are very much wanting to allow the municipalities to have more power over the federal,” said Walper. “We are very much bottom up than top down.”

The NDP are very much in favour of putting together a national program, said Harris.

He said perhaps it is time to extend the health-care system and revisit some of the things that are falling through the cracks.

“I think we need a national framework that looks at our whole medical system and we need to do that in collaboration with both the provinces and the municipalities,” said Harris.

All three candidates agreed the federal government must collaborate with the municipal and provincial governments.

Harris said the three orders of government – municipal, provincial and federal – need to get rid of the finger-pointing and come together to address the housing crisis.

Kastern said this is clearly issue where one in four Canadians pay too much for housing and one in eight cannot find suitable and affordable housing. She said this is part of the Liberal’s investment in social infrastructure including building new senior facilities, retrofitting existing ones and refurbishing old and empty ones.

Walper said under the Libertarian’s flat tax system, the first $17,300 that a person makes would be tax-free. He said people would have more money to afford more housing.

One person asked about the “national disgrace” of Canada’s First Nations who, for example, are living in poverty and drinking unsafe water on reserves in reference to a recent Macleans article.

Kastern said the Liberal platform has several prongs including Métis reconciliation in addressing the crisis that is the First Nations community. She said there would be an immediate inquiry into the missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Harris said he has been leading a national urban group on urban Aboriginal issues which brings municipal leaders together to discuss what they can do to help people who move into their communities. He said people who do not feel they belong in a community are more prone to suicide and addictions. He would like to continue those discussions and work with municipalities.

Walper said as a politician he would have to go out and talk to individuals in different locations of Canada about how they actually feel and consider any necessary funding to set them up for success.

Candidates also fielded a question on the recent focus on the niqab on the election trail. All three agreed it was time to move on and to focus on what is relevant when considering where to cast a ballot come election day.

The new riding was carved out of the electoral districts of Crowfoot, Red Deer and Wild Rose.

Red Deer College political science instructor Dave Baugh acted as moderator.

The Red Deer Public Library will host a forum for candidates in the Red Deer-Lacombe riding at its downtown location today at 6:30 p.m.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The interchange at Highway 2 and McKenzie Road at the south end of Gasoline Alley is being redesigned with two roundabouts. Construction is expected to begin this month and finish in October. (Graphic from Red Deer County)
Roudabouts coming to McKenzie Road overpass at Gasoline Alley

Project expected to improve traffic flow at busy intersections

A federal strategy to preserve threatened trout could conflict with provincial coal leases in the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. (Contributed photo by Jeff Lund).
Federal regulations could save Alberta’s bull trout by shutting down mining plans, says biologist

Ottawa’s new strategy identifies a 30-metre protected area along rivers and streams

(Contributed image)
Wolf Creek Public Schools will not participate in curriculum pilot

Central Alberta school jurisdiction joins others across Alberta

Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, fom left, celebrate after winning women's gold medal match against Brazil's team at the Beach Volley Worldtour Major Series, in Vienna, Austria on August 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ronald Zak
Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch (24) gets fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu throws to a New York Yankees batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau (13) scores the game winning goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender David Rittich (33) in overtime NHL action in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Canada's Evelyne Viens celebrates scoring against Wales during the women's international friendly soccer match at Leckwith Stadium, Wales, Friday April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Potts/PA via AP
Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

After weekend hiccup at men’s worlds, Grand Slams move into curling bubble

After weekend hiccup at men’s worlds, Grand Slams move into curling bubble

Erickson Gallardo of Canada's Toronto FC and his teammates celebrate after Andres Mosquera of Mexico's Leon scored an own goal during their Concacaf Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRES/AP/Mario Armas
Toronto FC gets vaccine boost but injury list still an issue ahead of Leon rematch

Toronto FC gets vaccine boost but injury list still an issue ahead of Leon rematch

Most Read