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Candid Candidates

One incumbent, two hopefuls contend for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky

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JM:  I'm going to have to politely suggest that the cuts at the federal level were not matched at the provincial level. That's incorrect. The federal government pulled approximately $600 million of support out of British Columbia. We had a number of programs that we were working with them on where we each provided a subsidy and everything, but we did not withdraw our funding. Our contributions were not cut back, and we have continued to add to that.

But I also totally appreciate that there are issues, there is a higher demand than there are spaces, and than there are staff to service it. In general this is not just related to our corridor, it's in the province and it's across the country. We have a very big issue on child care, I think it requires the federal government's attention, and I hope that we would work with the federal government to try and deal with these issues.

Not only have we put almost $2 million in major capital grants and minor capital grants, we were on standby to fast-track the applications for staff from other jurisdictions, and we worked very hard for that, (and) we provided a significant financial incentive for people to return to the field of early childhood education and we were discussing... trying to provide a specific incentive for the infant and toddler area as well.

We have provided almost 200 StrongStart Centres across the province. I appreciate that it's not childcare, but it's also another way in which we're supporting parents and youngsters.

Pique: The carbon tax is a complicated and controversial issue for B.C. What are your views about this tax, and plans for it to grow through 2012?

JM: B.C. is the first jurisdiction in North America to put a price on carbon, we've been heralded by environmentalists for having the courage to do it. I think that's one of the reasons why this is such a high-stakes election, a lot of the environmental movement is looking and wanting to make sure that we succeed.

At the same time we're rewarding conservation, we're giving people grants to retrofit homes and grants for energy efficient appliances, things like that. I think the most important thing, and the NDP has been muddying this issue, is we also have a cap and trade system through the Western Climate Initiative that will be introduced in 2012. And the NDP voted against this legislation. They voted against the carbon tax, they voted against cap and trade. Our plan on the carbon tax, as you know, is $10 a tonne going gradually up to $30, the Green Party wants it at $50 tomorrow. We think we have a gradual, moderate plan that is superior to the other options.