On the minds of voters: Taxation, economy, health care, tuition

Victoria voters define their issues

Mother Sandi Grove-White and daughters Brianna

Mother Sandi Grove-White and daughters Brianna

While federal political candidates swarm the region in hopes of swinging votes, the News did some campaigning of its own.

In an effort to learn what Victoria residents and businesspeople value from their federal government, we caught up with folks downtown last week.

“We pay too much tax – it’s getting too high and we’re not seeing the benefits,” said Joan Driscoll, who with husband Bob, does business in Victoria, but lives in Winnipeg.

The couple are concerned about what they say are cutbacks to health care, leaving people in need of emergency medical care facing waitlists. Meanwhile, they said worse-off countries, such as Belize, make doctor’s visits a piece of cake.

The answer lies in attracting doctors back to Canada with better pay and other incentives, the Driscolls agreed.

The Grove-White family, including sisters Brianna and Kirsten and mom Sandi, said post-secondary tuition was far too high for university students and should be controlled by the next federal government.

Sandi added Victorians have seen far too many elections recently, calling their frequency “ridiculous.”

For his part, Walt Neufeld said the economy should be the No. 1 priority for the federal government.

“If the economy goes well, everything else follows,” he said.

Neufeld, who lives in Saanich but runs a business in Victoria, said government should “stay the course” on its current priorities, after the election. Further, he’d like to see the size of government diminish.

Bob Driscoll said communication and transparency were lacking from the feds. The average person doesn’t know the federal budget well and the government needs to work harder to spell it out for Canadians.

“There’s a budget they put towards all the costs – it is public domain, but it isn’t in hour face. We’re not comfortable enough to look at our paycheques and know where 45 per cent of our wage is going.”

A no-confidence vote following the federal budget and complaints of contempt of parliament toppled Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government Friday. Voters will likely head to the polls in early May.

ecardone@vicnews.com