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Whistler asks tough questions

Campaigners battle it out at all candidates meeting



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As for new taxes for social programs, Perry said they would come from a five cent per litre gasoline tax that truck drivers, some businesses and low income people would be exempt from paying; from reinstating taxes that were cut by the Liberals; and from the resource industry by raising stumpage fees and energy royalties, and by withdrawing subsidies for industries like mining.

Fenton was quiet on the subject of taxes, but said the NDP does have a fiscal plan to restore funding to social programs without increasing taxes or cutting other services.

McIntyre acknowledged that some of the Liberal Party decisions have been tough, but said now that the economy was improving British Columbians could expect to see government funding increase in all areas.

Regional development was also an issue. In regards to the Pemberton Airport, all three candidates said the final decision belonged to the community.

ÒThe municipality should have the largest say, they are the ones that have to rezone and accommodate the development,Ó said Fenton.

Perry said he would prefer not to increase the runway to allow jets to land, but said the people of Pemberton should ultimately vote on just what kind of airport they would like to see.

McIntyre agreed. ÒWe will have to think twice about landing big jets in a community like Pemberton to service a place like Whistler,Ó she said.

One questioner asked what the vision was for tourism in Whistler and Sea to Sky communities.

McIntyre pointed to new regional tourism funding through the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Liberal PartyÕs doubling funding for Tourism B.C. and increasing the percentage of hotel taxes going to Tourism B.C. by 2008, as well as the benefits of hosting the Olympics. Locally she did not have any specific ideas, but said she would find out how Whistler can benefit from these programs if she was elected.

Perry said he would restore funding to provincial parks, and kill the Liberal plan to build privately operated lodges within parks, while restoring the Ministry of Tourism.