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Election 2021 Cariboo-Prince George Q&A: Audrey McKinnon, New Democratic Party

We asked each candidate four questions, here are McKinnon’s answers
NDP candidate Audrey McKinnon. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Audrey McKinnon is the New Democratic Party candidate running the Cariboo-Prince George riding.

We asked all of the candidates four questions, here are her answers.

What is your vision for a pandemic recovery?

A recovery from the pandemic is going to require rebuilding where it counts – by making investments in communities and families.

Our plan is to make bold investments in community infrastructure, affordable housing, energy efficient retrofits, pharmacare, long-term care and training.

To jump-start economic growth, we will also strengthen public services, create good jobs in every community and deliver help to those who need it most.

Through these investments, we will create more than a million new jobs in our first mandate.

Through our progressive wealth tax that unburdens ordinary tax-payers like you or I, we will reduce inequality and create more affordable, accessible services, like pharmacare and dental care.

The importance of representation in Parliament that is willing to fight for you cannot be understated in this. I will make it my priority to make sure your voice is heard in Ottawa and that the specific needs of Cariboo-Prince George are reflected in this plan so that we are all included in this economic recovery.

The pandemic has revealed the cracks in our society and we must use this as an opportunity to make a more equitable, healthy society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

What will you do as a federal government to increase housing affordability for everyone?

More than any other topic, the cost of housing is the one I hear most often on the doorstep.

We need to act urgently to create affordability in the housing market here in Cariboo-Prince George.

We plan to create at least 500,000 units of affordable housing in the next 10 years and it will be my role as your Member of Parliament to make sure those units are created where it is most needed in this riding.

We plan to work together with provinces and municipalities to build capacity for social, community and affordable housing providers, as well as to provide rental support for co-ops and meet environmental energy efficiency goals.

The added bonus of this plan is that it will create thousands of jobs and help with our economic recovery, while helping community members access affordable, secure housing.

It’s important that we also streamline the application process and create dedicated fast-start funds for the construction of co-ops, social and non-profit housing so that communities can get the expertise and assistance needed to get these projects off the ground now, instead of years from now.

What impact will climate change have on the Cariboo-Prince George riding, and what will your party do to combat those effects?

The climate crisis is already having major impacts on Cariboo-Prince George with wildfires displacing thousands of people and unseasonable temperatures like this summer’s heat wave, which killed hundreds of people across the province.

These weather events will continue to repeat and grow more frequent and extreme until we take serious action.

A New Democrat government will take climate leadership by setting an ambitious target of reducing our emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

We will reach this goal by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, changing the mandate of the Bank of Canada to focus on contributing to net zero, and creating jobs to make a just transition from fossil fuels possible that ensures workers can continue to put food on the table during a shifting economy.

We will also make our homes and workplaces more efficient and safe from extreme weather by retrofitting all buildings by 2050, create a National Crisis Strategy to help communities reduce and respond to climate risks, protect 30 per cent of our land, freshwater and oceans by 2030 and we will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, respecting and trusting Indigenous land stewards on the path forward together.

What concrete efforts should Canada be making toward reconciliation with Indigenous people?

Canada has undeniably committed genocide on Indigenous peoples and recent confirmations of thousands of children whose lives were unjustifiably stolen have forced a solemn reckoning for the federal government.

It is time to find every child and bring them home.

We will fully fund the search for burial sites at former residential schools, including the commemoration, reburial and protection of residential school cemeteries according to the wishes of Indigenous communities and Survivors.

Survivors had the courage to speak Truth, and Reconciliation will only regain its meaning when the federal government is willing to act.

We will act on all 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, without compromise or excuse.

We will ensure the appointment of a special prosecutor to pursue those who harmed Indigenous children in Canada’s residential school system and we will require that churches and governments hand over all records that could be helpful in identifying the children laying buried in unmarked sites.

New Democrats will also co-develop a National Action Plan for Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples to ensure that Canada’s laws, policies and practices are consistent with Canada’s human rights commitments – including cultural rights, land rights and rights to self-determination and self-government.

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