Angelina Ireland is the People’s Party of Canada candidate in Delta. Ireland holds a master of arts degree in political science from Carleton University and has been an accountant for the past 20 years. For 15 years she has been an entrepreneur providing client accounting services to small businesses.
Q. Your party, which is contesting its first election, was founded by former Conservatives, including Conservative leadership runner up Maxime Bernier, so what separates the two parties?
A. What we’re doing is historic. What we are, really, is a coalition of ex-members from the Conservatives, the Liberals, the NDP who are standing as candidates. We also have quite a large contingent of people who haven’t voted for 20 years because they are, quite frankly, disappointed with the politicians and they dislike politicians. They don’t see us as an ordinary political party because we vow to do things differently. It’s about people who are concerned about Canada and were concerned about Canadian sovereignty and Canadian policy. For example, our issue against globalism cuts across all party lines and that unites us as a party.
Q. The People’s Party says it would lower the number of immigrants Canada accepts every year, cutting that figure in half or more, often at the expense of family reunification. Is that policy at odds with Canada’s diverse culture and welcoming nature?
A. What we need to talk about, first of all, is that to say we are an anti-immigration party is incorrect. We know the value of immigration and it’s very important to this country. What we’re saying is that we need to focus and make sure that we get skilled immigrants to come to Canada because we need workers. We have an aging workforce, so we need to have people to come to work shoulder-to-shoulder with us and we need them to pay taxes, which is important. We’re looking at the figures and, currently, it’s 26 per cent coming here as “skilled” and what we’re saying is we want to increase that to more like 80 per cent skilled workers. The business community would benefit because they’re always saying to us they need more workers. Currently, we have about 350,000 immigration people coming to Canada (annually). Now do you have a family doctor? Because a lot of people in this country don’t. We have a housing crisis in this country. So what is the benefit of bringing in so many people to Canada when we don’t even have housing for them and can’t figure that out? We need to talk about the reality of our situation. Do you want to create a humanitarian crisis in this country? When we accept people to come here, we have to make sure they have the necessities of life. This is a fairly small country because we all live on the 49th parallel, so we have to make sure we can supply their basic human needs. Down the line, two or three years from now, we will be faced with a situation we don’t want. These are the types of questions we need to answer before we bring in as many people as possible.
Q. The People’s Party is concerned that too many new Canadians haven’t integrated into society, but rather have maintained the values and cultures they left behind. Does a functioning society require that all its members subscribe to a certain set of values?
A. Our perspective on this is that we want people who come to Canada to be Canadians. That’s important and regardless of your race or your religion or your sexual orientation or sexual identity, number one, we are Canadians first. We believe that unity is our strength and that we come together like a team. Everybody comes from a different place, expect those who are First Nations who were here before us. In order for us to be successful, we feel we’ve got to stand as being Canadian. We feel that’s the best avenue forward to addressing the issues that we face in this country like the housing crisis and the economy, anything. We stand together as Canadians when we face them.
Q. Governments around the world have declared we’re in a climate change crisis, yet the People’s Party feels those claims are alarmist. Is it irresponsible for our federal government not to take action to address the issue?
A. I want to make sure that my position is clear. I don’t want to be called a denier because that’s completely unfair. I have said that, yes, the climate is changing, there’s no debate about that, but the climate has always changed. The climate will continue to change and the earth has been around for four billion years and in that time there has been climate change so dramatic that, for example, Canada used to be covered in ice. The Sahara Desert used to be a rainforest but that has changed. We do not deny that climate is changing. What we’re saying is that for the government to make people pay carbon tax is not addressing the issue. We don’t believe that carbon is a pollutant, it’s a building block of life. We don’t want to be alarmist with people and we don’t want our children to be so frightened that they only think they have a few years to live. We believe that because the climate does change, there’s certain things we can do to mitigate the damage and that’s where we want to put our money. We don’t want to have the government scare us to death and tax us to death and make us give all our power away. What we need are contingency funds to specifically deal with the mitigation of what’s happened… we also believe the debate is around whether humans cause climate change. We say that humans cause a very small percentage.
Q. Some find the views of the People’s Party as extreme, akin to Donald Trump’s America. Canadians have long had different sensibilities than our southern neighbours so do you think they’ll be receptive to your party’s policies?
A. What I’m asking is for the people to look beyond our opponents who just want to keep our policies from them. A flat tax, is that extreme? We don’t believe in corporate welfare, is that extreme? We spend $29 billion in corporate welfare while our seniors and veterans are not being given enough to buy food. We want to defend freedom of speech and feel our fundamental freedoms of speech and parental rights, and the freedom of the press, are being eroded. I ask you, is that extreme? We need to sell our oil to the world market. We have ethical oil here. That doesn’t seem to be extreme to me. We want to address equalization payments across the provinces. Is that extreme?