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ELXN42: No surprises at all-candidates meeting in Coquitlam

Port Moody-Coquitlam candidates stick to party script
Port Moody-Coquitlam all candidates meeting
Candidates from Port Moody-Coquitlam (except for the Marxist-Leninist candidate Brian Sproule who is running in a Burnaby riding) wait their turn to speak at an all candidate's meeting held at Banting middle school last Thursd

There were few moments of passion in a tightly-scripted all candidates meeting held at Banting middle school last Thursday in advance of the Oct. 19 federal election.
For the most part, voters who turned out to hear Conservative Tim Laidler, Liberal Jessie Adcock, Green Party representative Marcus Madsen and NDP incumbent Fin Donnelly likely heard what they expected as the Port Moody-candidates kept largely to their party's election messaging.
Topics ranged from domestic to international policy with the candidates expressing confidence in their own experience and their party's platform as they fielded questions from the Burquitlam Community Association.
Conservative Tim Laidler cited his background as a veteran and experience running a non-profit for veterans as well his party's low-tax plan as reasons he should be elected, but he was occasionally under the gun to defend Conservative policies, such as Bill C51.
Laidler said the Anti-Terrorism Act has been "misinterpreted" by many but will actually protect, not target Canadians, by allowing government agencies to share information.
"It's for terrorists, to keep Canadians safe," Laidler said.
But that perspective didn't sit well with the other candidates.
The NDP's Donnelly said Bill 51 was "too broad," positions agreed to by Liberal Jessie Adcock, who said it needs more oversight while the Green Party's Marcus Madsen also had problems with government powers under the new bill.
"It's a blank cheque, it puts the general public under suspicion," Madsen said.


Port Moody Coquitlam all candidates
Amidst a colorful array of election signs, a campaign volunteer watches the Burquitlam Community Association all-candidate's meeting, which was held last Thursday. - Diane Strandberg

Adcock offered her technology background and long-time residence in the riding as her experience and said she would work hard to represent constituents if elected. But it was her party's plan to incur deficits that she spent time explaining, noting that the funds will go to infrastructure such as affordable housing and transit systems which she said were "in a shambles,"  and programs for seniors and families.
Donnelly, meanwhile, noted his long residency in the riding and previous civic experience in addition to his time as MP as reasons for voting for him. He said the NDP had a fully-costed campaign that would provide $15 a day day care, restore environmental legislation and combat climate change, which he said was the "biggest threat facing humanity."
The Green Party's Madsen said coming from Germany gives him an international perspective and said he had small business experience as well to make him a well-rounded candidate, who would be independent and speak for constituents rather his party. His party is against pipelines he noted and would make life affordable by removing taxes for lowest income people and promote a skilled workforce.

One topic that all four candidates had different views on was the future of the senate, which Donnelly said needed to be abolished because it's a waste of money, while Adcock and Laidler said Canadians aren't prepared for a long constitutional debate. Laidler said Stephen Harper has already promised to stop appointing new senators while the Liberals would appoint a non-partisan group to advise on appointments, Adcock said.
As for the Greens, Madsen said the senate "could be an important chamber, provided the provinces and territories should have a say.

• Adcock said the Liberals would re-open veterans offices and initiate centres of excellence on PTSD.
• Laidler said when he left the armed forces he was told there was no pension and found that "was not true," because veterans can get a lump sum up front and injured soldiers can get payments all the way to age 65 and beyond.
• Donnelly said the NDP would increase support to veterans with more money, as well as enhance support for injured soldiers and increase the survivors pension
• Madsen said Canada "could do better" by providing better access to benefits so soldiers don't fall through the safety net.

A representative from the Marxist-Leninist Party, Brian Sproule, spoke on his party's behalf, but the local candidate Roland Verrier did not attend.