Cloverdale-Langley-City candidates John Aldag (Liberals), Rae Banwarie (NDP), and Ian Kennedy (People’s Party of Canada) attended an election debate at Langley Senior Resources Centre on Monday afternoon. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Langley Advance Times)

All-candidates debate happening Wednesday in Aldergrove-Langley riding

The meeting will be held at the Aldergrove Legion

Those still deciding which political party will win their vote in the Aldergrove-Langley riding can take in an all-candidates meeting Wednesday.

The meeting will be held at the Aldergrove Legion at 26607 Fraser Hwy from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Marijuana, affordable housing, and pension plans were just a few topics discussed at an all-candidates meeting for the Cloverdale-Langley City riding, Monday afternoon.

Held at the Senior Resources Centre, 20605 51B Ave, the debate was centered towards addressing the questions and concerns of senior’s in the community are facing.

Presented by moderator Frank Bucholtz, Liberal candidate John Aldag, NDP candidate Rae Banwarie, and People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate Ian Kennedy took part; Tamara Jansen of the Conservatives and Caelum Nutbrown from the Green Party were not present.

The debate kicked off with a question on the reliability of pensions, making reference to the recent shutdown of Sears Canada.

Aldag said the Liberal party’s solution would be to increase old age security by 10 per cent for anyone of the age of 75 or older to help offset the cost of living.

“We would implement an affordable housing plan covering dental, eye, medical, and pharmacare for senior’s which all ties into affordability,” said Banwarie, the NDP candidate.

Banwarie reiterated the response on numerous occasions when questions on housing prices, health care, and pharmacare were brought up, also adding that the NDP planned to set the retirement age back 65.

“No idea why no government has put a universal health care program in place before – we’re all playing the same taxes, right?” Banwarie asked the crowd.

PPC candidate Kennedy cited immigrants as a large reason why there is less availability to affordable housing, reliable health care, and even pensions – promising that his party were lower the yearly immigration total from “350,000 to 100,000,” as “the supply of homes is not high enough while the demand is too high.”

Aldag acknowledged the lack of rental facilities, saying “if we don’t get more involved, seniors and young people may never get to purchase a house.”

Another large concern raised to the candidate was the treatment of veterans, and how many have fallen through the cracks of system when it comes to their mental health.

“Stephen Harper kicked veterans to the curb,” the NDP candidate claimed. “We would re-write the veteran’s charter to pre-2006, making it so there would be one person overseeing the care of 25 vets… which is more than it is now.”

“Armed forces are the backbone of this country, we have an obligation to honor them,” Kennedy said, using the Liberal leader as an example. “How could Mr. Trudeau say to a veteran that we were unable to afford a $30,000 surgery but then turn around and give money to Africa?”

Aldag made reference to mental health in his veteran response, vowing that the Liberals would provide a roof for veterans, with no wait times, to deal with the scars of war.

When it came to transportation, the Liberal candidate said he supported the Surrey-Langley Skytrain expansion, while Banwarie felt that did no go far enough – saying the expansion should be planning to head further east to Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

Read More: Langley-Aldergrove candidates debate environmental issues

The PPC candidate felt keeping fossil fuels at an affordable level by fostering the oil and gas sector was the best way to provide transportation for seniors, also pointing out that he was the only candidate on stage who did not believe in climate change.

That brought about one of the more heated moments of the afternoon for Aldag, when he was singled out for declaring a climate change emergency and supporting the Liberal’s decision to go ahead with the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

“We were not going to be off of gas and carbon in the next two or three years, there needs to be a transition,” he said, assuring that the pipeline project’s future looks bright for going ahead.

The topic of marijuana also raised a bit of a stink with the crowd, with several attendees worrying about health effects from second-hand smoke.

Aldag stood by the Liberal’s actions to legalize the substance in attempts to reduce organized crime and keeping it out of hands of teenagers.

The NDP candidate, referring to his former experience in the RCMP, felt the Liberals legalized pot to make money.

Banwarie said the NDP would put further restrictions to purchasing the product, saying he has not met any families while he was out door knocking that was happy about legalization.

Wrapping up, each candidate vowed to help senior citizens age in a safe and accessible community.

“Everyone deserves to age with dignity,” Banwarie insisted, “we owe where we are are in our society to seniors.”

Aldag said the Liberals would vow to solve and ultimately cure dementia, an increasing affliction since seniors are living longer.

Kennedy said the PPC’s will balance the books in the next two years, and that his party will help the provincial and municipal levels of government by bringing them together, which he felt were better levels to tackle most the issues mentioned.

The debate was hosted by the Langley Seniors Community Action Table, in partnership with the National Association of Federal Retirees and the Langley Retired Teachers Association.

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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