It’s almost election day. In the leadup to Monday, Sept. 20th, our newsroom is speaking with local candidates.
We touched on three hot-button issues: housing affordability, COVID pandemic recovery, short and long-term action on climate change, and one other topic they may have as a campaign priority.
Today, it’s North Island-Powell River Maverick candidate Stacey Gastis.
The semi-retired veterinarian and father of two resides in Comox and has since 1993, alongside his wife who’s also a veterinarian.
While new to politics, Gastis sees a monumental yet achievable goal of bringing power and a voice of reason to Ottawa from the west so western families can thrive and reach their full potential.
For Gastis, this election’s all about freedom. It’s ultimately what inspired him to run. And when it comes to COVID-19 pandemic recovery, he said people in Canada need to start working again, not the opposite.
As well, with house prices on the rise, Gastis said it’s the Maverick’s goal to lower taxes, ultimately helping people live comfortably and make ends meet.
As for climate change, when speaking with Vista Radio he said engineers need to get involved. He says Canada needs people actually working in related industries to come up with solutions.
If elected, what would the Maverick Party do to address housing affordability?
GASTIS: “It’s a complicated issue, no easy answer on this one. We’ve basically got two groups,” Gastis said.
“The boomers are retiring and then moving down to our area and that’s what’s really putting the pressure on home prices. I mean it’s unbelievable what’s happened.”
“People from Vancouver and Calgary have moved into every area in our riding, including right up to Sayward and Port Hardy. I don’t see anything changing with that. That pressure’s going to continue. Where do they want to go? They all want to leave the rest of Canada and actually come to where we live. That’s just a fact of life.”
“The concern that I have is that my 21 and 24-year-old sons are unable to purchase homes. To come back here and live where we do is not easy unless they get a job in the resource industry. I think that what we need to do is try and engage as many job opportunities for them. They’ll have to sort of fix their own future and I’ll do the best that I can.”
Gastis continued, “But what really needs to happen is we need to get Ottawa out of the way from taxing us and decreasing the opportunities for people to actually be employed and make a half-decent living, where you don’t have to have three people in the family trying to make ends meet.”
What is the Maverick Party’s view on how to handle the COVID pandemic?
GASTIS: “If we’re going to do this, it needs to be quick. We need to get people back into working, not the opposite,” Gastis said.
“While we sort of negotiate which way it’s going to go, and we monitor how things are going to happen now that the fall and the winter’s coming, at the same time we cannot keep people from having to put food on the table. It’s not an easy issue.”
Gastis continued, “I think that that has to be provincial. Everything I would do in my power and the Mavericks would be to basically stop Ottawa from dictating how this is going to go and let the actual provinces decide what’s going to happen.”
What would the Maverick Party do to mitigate climate change?
GASTIS: “One of the things that we need to do is we need to get the engineers involved,” Gastis said. “We need to get all the people that are in all the industries to actually come up with solutions. That’s where you can actually get real ideas that are plausible and that are going to work.”
“What we do not need is more government taxes, and we do not need a carbon tax that’s going to actually affect people and families from working and employers from having to pay for those taxes.”
He added, “What we really need is, instead of a penalty, are engineers to step up to the plate and allow them to do it as quickly as possible.”
Finally, is there one topic that you would like to talk about?
GASTIS: “Freedom is huge and it’s in our name. It’s in the Maverick Party name, right in our logo. This is why I stepped up to become a candidate,” Gastis said.
“The umbrella of freedom means freedom of choice and what you are going to do to your body. The freedom of movement, the freedom to be able to go and work where you want to work, and not being mandated by any government that limits or segregates or puts you in a position where you’re going to lose your job or else. That is exactly what we’re up against.”
He continued, “We need to stop that kind of thing from happening to the west. While the Maverick Party will only ever run candidates from Manitoba and to the west, that’s the way we’re going to get our voice and our power back to be able to stop Ottawa from basically taking our resources and not really sending much back. It limits our ability to take care of ourselves.”
“It’s all about freedom to me, this is what this election’s about,” Gastis added.
Stacey Gastis of the Maverick Party is running against NDP-incumbent Rachel Blaney, Conservative’s Shelley Downey, Liberal’s Jennifer Grenz, Green’s Jessica Wegg, Marxist-Leninist’s Carla Neal, and Paul Macknight of the People’s Party.
Watch a recent North Island-Powell River all-candidates debate here.