Maverick – Dr. Stacey Gastis

Written Responses

Following is a 2-part question…

How important do you believe the blue economy — aquaculture — is to our future? And what is your plan to develop it?


Aquaculture is an important industry for this riding. Unfortunately, there has been much misinformation spread about aquaculture which has led to job loss and financial hardship. While some celebrate industry closures, I grieve for the losses incurred by the people of this riding. The answer lies in putting the toxic rhetoric aside and working with ALL concerned parties to develop a solution that benefits all in our riding. I reject the absurd notion that a solution is beyond what we can achieve.  


Following is a 2-part question… from the BC Salmon Farmers Association  

Do you support salmon aquaculture in B.C.? How do your views align with your party and where do they diverge?


I support a salmon aquaculture industry that balances the environment, owners and workers of the salmon aquaculture industry without detrimentally affecting the wild fishing industry.


Minister Bernadette Jordan has been quoted saying the removal of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands by June 2022 was not based on science, but rather social licence. Former Wei Wai Kai Chief Assu stated he felt “railroaded” by the decision. If elected, how do you plan on supporting First Nations who sign agreements for ocean pens in their territory?


We have been given two years and one month; we should use them proportionally, especially in reference to this issue.  I will listen to First Nation leaders, their concerns, and desires.  I believe that First Nations people truly desire success for themselves and all people of this riding while protecting our vital resources and environment for this and future generations.  I hope to see the wisdom and best practices of the First Nations developed through generations of experience be adopted in combination with science to establish practices that are world class. Anything less than this is a surrender to those who lack vision and leadership abilities.    


Land-based closed containment has been suggested by some as a viable transition for salmon aquaculture in B.C. by 2025, however many studies confirm land-based by 2025 will not only increase carbon emissions, but will remove the entire industry out of B.C. What do you think a viable and responsible transition looks like?   


A suggestion is NOT science therefore NOT a viable option.  As I stated above, a solution is possible by working with all stakeholders using proven scientific facts and knowledge that have been proven through hundreds of years of experience.  This is how a viable and responsible transition will be determined but only if we have the will to put preconceived ideas aside and work together.


How will you ensure the health and viability of salmon populations in our oceans?


I personally won’t be able to as I am not an expert in this field. I have faith that those who work in the salmon fisheries have the knowledge and desire to ensure the long-term viability of our salmon populations. The Member of Parliament for North Island Powell River is duty bound to put aside personal ambition and self-serving interests aside and create an environment in which stakeholders create solutions.


How will you ensure Indigenous Peoples have equitable access to society?


I believe that when all the citizens can share equally in prosperity and freedom, we can build a truly equitable society. I condemn those who publicly disparage one group of people in a cheap act of partisan politics as these divides us which, in the long term, is a cancer to our society. Respect for one another is how we ensure EVERYONE has equitable access to the benefits of the society our ancestors worked and sacrificed for. 


Following is a 2-part question…

Would you agree the relationship between the Canadian justice system and racial minorities is fractured? What policies can be put in place to repair this?


It is obvious that the current system is ineffective. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that can make everything better. Anyone who says they have the solution has closed their mind to new ideas and strategies. The short answer is that hard work and innovation are required. While we can learn from our successes and failures and those of other countries, we must develop solutions that are beneficial to all without sacrificing the protection every person needs.

The backlog in Canada courts is months and in some cases years – what is your plan to re-align the system to ensure timely access?


Another complex situation that has no easy solution. As with other problems that challenge us the answer is through working together with the legal system, victims, and offenders. This is unlikely to be a fast and easy solution. Positive change will involve considerable effort fraught with failure as well success. Nonetheless, we must strive for a better system, a system that works for everyone.


Do you support protecting old-growth forests in B.C.?


The answer is the same for the use of all our natural resources. Balance between preserving our environment to protect all life and responsible resource harvesting must be and can be achieved. I am convinced that solutions are possible. That being said, I know that old growth forests are a vital part of ensuring the health of our communities. I am also convinced that the forest product industry has a genuine interest in the long-term viability of the forests for both economic and environmental protection reasons.


What is your plan going forward to balance protection with Indigenous land rights?


The two issues are interconnected and must be treated as such. It is in the best interests of all society to abandon preconceived ideas that are neither effective nor respectful of each other. 


In light of the consistent battles with the USA regarding Soft Wood Lumber, what is the best way forward to create a sustainable forest industry in BC?


The reality of the softwood lumber issue is that we are dealing with another country that has much more economic power than Canada. Ottawa has little reason to effectively represent BC’s softwood industry interests given the potential harm that US trade retaliation could inflict on Eastern Canadian industries. A substantial increase in secondary and tertiary processing will bring more wealth to forestry workers and industries through new markets. Additionally, greater wealth derived from our forest products may reduce the need for harvesting trees. As a member of the Maverick Party I am free of the party discipline of the other parties and will represent the interests of this riding to Ottawa not the interests of Ottawa to the voters of North Island Powell River. If I am elected to represent North Island Powell River this is something that I will relentlessly advocate for.

The world is facing growing supply chain issues and rising inflation. What steps will you take for the impact on Canada to be minimal?


There is no one easy answer to this problem that is causing so many local businesses to fail and people to suffer. A critical component of economic recovery and growth is for the repatriation of manufacturing to Canada and our riding. My answer to the softwood lumber issue is one example of this. Another key is to lower the crippling taxes and reduce the paralyzing bureaucracy that hobble new and established businesses. Carbon taxes have been proven to be completely ineffective in addition to increasing costs for manufacturers. Politicians who have imposed these carbon taxes on our industries and consumers have created this economic disaster and offer no solution. No other party is advocating for inter-provincial free trade, while this is an issue of Provincial jurisdiction, I will be a strong supporter of this in the House of Commons.    


What action will you take to ensure the people of North Island – Powell River are included in the economic recovery efforts?


I believe my answer to the previous question addresses this issue if the person elected to represent this riding vigorously pursues proposed solutions. 


The Canadian Tax system has become increasingly complex and seemingly unfair to most. What actions will you take to reduce the complexity and increase fairness?


What I have heard from the people I have spoken with is that too much of the tax money we willingly pay is being squandered. While giving aid to other nations in times of desperate need is truly laudable and the finest of Canadian traditions, we must use the finite amount of tax revenue for our own people first. The same is true between the provinces, Provincial tax revenues must be used at the will of each province’s citizens and not transferred to governments that cannot or will not operate within their own budgets. Common sense and history have proved that budgets do not balance themselves. Politicians and governments seem to have forgotten that tax revenue comes from the people and spend it without respect for the work and sacrifice of working people to earn that money.  By holding governments genuinely accountable for spending our tax dollars is an essential element of reducing waste which can in turn reduce the tax burden on Canadians.


How will you ensure everyone pays their fair share?


I believe that Canadians cherish the services that keep us healthy and safe while acknowledging that they are not free. Canadians are generous by nature and paying our fair share of the wealth we earn is reasonable. As Canadians struggle under the yoke of an increasing tax burden upon their finances some are forced into the impossible position of providing the essentials for their families and paying their taxes. Increased governmental financial efficiency and a reduced tax burden will result in less stress upon taxpayers and decrease their resentment.         


How well has the federal government handled the COVID-19 pandemic?


Let’s be honest, the federal government’s response has been and continues to be disastrous. As the pandemic was first developing, we were told that face masks were ineffective, it is racist to ban people travelling from other countries and that Canada was at low risk from Covid 19. Now, the government is demonizing people that have differing opinions on the pandemic and vaccines for purely partisan purposes. The Prime Minister declared to the United Nations that we as Canadians were intolerant of diversity and needed to change. This is hypocrisy of the highest order and is proof of the government’s utter ineptitude.

Political and social debate in our society has become fractious, contentious, and downright uncivil, why do you think this has happened?
And what role do our politicians play in resolving it?


This situation has been developing for many years. When a political party adopts the policy of ‘throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks’ to gain political power and the media propagates these attacks the public takes sides. When one element of society is attacked it seeks to defend itself and return the attack. While this is an effective method of obtaining or retaining power the cost is a society divided against itself. I categorically reject demonizing different sectors of Canadian society and hope that other politicians will follow my lead and conduct themselves in a manner that unites people.

How well do you think people understand the Canadian political system? What would you do to improve that understanding?


People have varying degrees of knowledge of our political system. Each of us has the freedom to decide how much they want to know and that needs to be respected. As education is under Provincial Jurisdiction it is the decision of each province to set the standard.


What is your opinion of the current state of gun control in Canada? What would you change?


Penalizing law-abiding gun owners to reduce gun related crime is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Punishing law abiding people in the mistaken hope that criminals will stop committing violent crime is counterproductive. The Criminal Code of Canada has laws that prescribe punishments for criminals. These laws must be applied to those convicted of gun related crimes, otherwise there is no credible deterrent that dissuades criminals.