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Whistler asks tough questions

Campaigners battle it out at all candidates meeting

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On the same note, one member of the audience asked McIntyre if there were any future plans to privatize Crown land. She replied that privatization was not something that she would like to see.

Other general questions involved provincial policy on fish farms, on P3 agreements (public-private partnerships) for infrastructure projects, on local support for seniors, and where candidates stood on privatizing public lands.

Fenton came alive whenever the issue of privatization was raised, suggesting that the Liberal government planned to privatize ICBC, B.C. Hydro, and even provincial water Ñ ÒthatÕs nextÓ he said. He pointed to the fact that the government has already sold B.C. Rail to CN Rail, as well as privatized components of health care and B.C. Hydro.

ÒAccountability is not there like government is when it comes to the private sector,Ó he said. ÒPrivate companies love (P3Õs) becauseÉ they know theyÕre going to get a cheque from the governmentÉ but they assume none of the risk.Ó

He also suggested that the Liberal and Green Party approach to health care, which would see a mix of public and private health care, was dangerous.

ÒAnyone who says we can have private and public health care doesnÕt know what theyÕre saying,Ó he said. ÒLook at the American system. And there are companies in the States right now just waiting to get in here, it said as much in the Romanow Report. I think weÕre being set up, quite frankly.Ó

Perry said P3 agreements have to be evaluated individually, and that community needs should take precedence. He also supported a mix of private and public health care that is similar to successful universal health care services in Europe.

McIntyre said the reality is that P3 contracts were sometimes the only way to get projects off the ground, especially in small towns like Pemberton where there is a limited tax base and money for important large capital projects is hard to generate.

Each candidate was given two minutes at the end of the evening to sum up.

For McIntyre, the important message was for the province to stay the course, and not to slip back Òto NDP thinking and the consequences of the 1990ÕsÉ or the policies of the Greens which would cripple the recovery and our resource industries.Ó

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