SURREY — Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was in North Surrey Wednesday for a “roundtable dialogue” at the Surrey Board of Trade office in Whalley, touching on a variety of issues including, of course, local politics.
The byelection Monday, Dec. 11, is brought on in South Surrey-White Rock after Tory MP Dianne Watts resigned her seat to seek the leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party. Former White Rock mayor and Liberal MLA cabinet minister Gordon Hogg is the Liberal candidate while Kerry-Lynne Findlay, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, seeks to keep it a Tory riding.
“It’s always a battle, it was a tight race in the last election and we know that every election is tough,” Scheer said. “We don’t take any byelection, any election, anywhere, for granted, so I’m here today to support our candidate Kerry-Lynne Findlay. I know she’s working hard — she had a great record in the previous government, acquitted herself excellently in a meaningful cabinet post.
“I’m hoping that they send a Conservative member to Parliament so we can keep this Liberal government honest. We’ve seen them break the faith with Canadians on many different issues, and now they have both the prime minister and the finance minister, for the first time in Canadian history, under investigation by the ethics commission. So we believe voters in this riding are looking for honest representation and my message to them is send a message to Justin Trudeau that you can’t raise taxes on hard-working Canadians. You can’t have one set of rules for Liberals and one set of rules for everyone else, without facing consequences.”
Meantime, Scheer said the round-table investigation covered a “wide range” of issues from local business taxes to NAFTA, natural resources, and First Nations issues.
On NAFTA, he said, his party is willing to work with the Liberal government, “speak with one voice” in U.S. and “make the case for trade in Canada” but also expressed concern the Liberals are “not taking this as seriously as they should have right away. We knew a long time ago there was going to be a president that had a more protectionist view, whether it was the Democract or Republican. The Liberals should have been building alliances with interests in the United States that depend on trade with Canada earlier, and doing more with that.”
“More work could have been done earlier,” Scheer said.
Discussion on Surrey touched on infrastructure, he said, and mortgage changes affecting people trying to enter the home buying market, “especially as it relates to what we know is going on in this area with increasingly higher and higher housing costs.”