In Response to Your Letter

In Response to Your Letter

In Response to Your Letter 150 150 Cindy Derkaz

Thank you for your recent email with a succinct list of your demands and clear statement that your vote depends on the actions that I will take.

I have taken time to compose what I hope you will find to be a thoughtful and informative response. Personally, I am tired of receiving “boiler plate” responses from politicians and as an MP, I would endeavour to provide helpful and timely answers.

I am a passionate environmentalist who has worked on, and advocated for, many environmental issues in North Okanagan-Shuswap where I have lived for almost all my life.

I have responded to your points below.

Implement a strong and credible climate action plan that meets our international commitments to keep global warming below catastrophic levels. 

My Background. I ran in this riding in 2015 because I believed that Climate Action is the most pressing issue facing the planet. My team worked very hard and we came in a strong second (CPC 39%; LPC 30%). I am running in 2019 because I do not want to see Canada return to a Conservative government and once again be mired in denial and complacency. I am concerned that a Scheer government will take us out of our Paris Agreement commitments the way the Harper government withdrew Canada from the Kyoto Accord.

You and I agree, there is a climate emergency and time is running out. We must make the environment the top election priority, locally and nationally.

My husband, Don Derby, and I “walk the talk” when it comes to the environment. We have made the switch to electric vehicles, do not travel by air for vacations, donate to, and volunteer for, environmental causes and are fanatical about composting and recycling. I am a life-time member of Shuswap Environmental Action Society and have contributed 100s of hours of pro bono legal work on environmental issues over the decades. I am also a member of the Sustainable Environment Network Society in the North Okanagan

What the government has accomplished. Since 2015, the Liberal government has been firmly committed to action on climate change and the environment. When I think back to this time in 2015, I am proud of the direction this government has taken and the leadership that Canada is once again showing in the world. At the end of this letter, I have set out some of the many accomplishments.

However, I know that we can, and must, do more. That is why I want to represent North Okanagan-Shuswap. I am embarrassed that our Member of Parliament (MP) is still “on the fence” on the issue of human activity and climate change. We deserve better.

What I Will Do. As your MP, I will speak up for more aggressive climate action and protection of the environment, including protection of freshwater and salmon (I support closed containment aquaculture).

And you can count on me to listen to environmental groups doing the important work on the ground in our riding. I will consult with local organizations to see if they would like regular accountability sessions (in person or by teleconference) for the purposes of exchanging information. An MP needs to know what is happening on the ground to effectively represent the riding.

Establish economic equality and ensure social justice 

My Background. I have been a lifelong champion of social justice issues.

Those of you who know me will be aware that I speak out against bullies and champion the rights of minorities and the vulnerable in our communities.

I believe that housing is essential to healthy communities.

I am also a strong proponent of universal, equitable and sustainable guaranteed minimum income for Canadians. The time has come to build on the success of pilot projects and move towards this model.

What the government has accomplished. As with the environment, I am proud of the Liberal government’s progress including: the income-tested, tax-free Canada Child benefit providing 9 out of 10 families with more each month for their kids; over one million more Canadians employed than in 2015; the lowest poverty rate, ever; the first ever National Housing Strategy putting $40B over 10 years to house Canadians; more childcare spaces; increase in the Guaranteed Income supplement for seniors; pension reform, to name a few. As above, I have set out more details below.

What I will do. We need an effective MP at the table to Ottawa to advocate for North Okanagan Shuswap. I have the skills, experience, energy and boots-on-the-ground determination to do the job.

Respect and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People 

My Background. I work respectfully toward reconciliation in my relationships with indigenous communities. I agree with Kukpi7 Christian that reconciliation must begin on here on the ancestral, traditional and unceded lands of the Secwepemc and Sylix.

I was profoundly disappointed to see the Conservative senators’ procedural shenanigans that dealt a death blow to NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s private members’ bill to bring federal laws into harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

What the government has accomplished.  I was pleased that Prime Minister Trudeau has promised to implement this legislation if re-elected:

There have been significant investments in infrastructure, housing and health for Indigenous People. Again, some of the accomplishments are set out below.

What I Will Do. I will continue to respect and promote the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples. We must all acknowledge the truth about Canada’s history and work to bring about reconciliation and equity.

Restore native biodiversity to healthy sustainable levels and ensure a livable planet for our children 

My Background. As noted above, I have a long history of supporting environmental causes.

What the government has accomplished. I have set out some of the accomplishments below. There are many. The most recent cause for celebration is the anticipated announcement of funding for protection of Jumbo Valley

What I Will Do. I will continue to advocate for protected areas and species at risk.

I have taken the time and effort to respond thoroughly to your questions. I hope you agree that I am a progressive, environmentally committed candidate who would be a strong voice in Ottawa. By the way, I would be the first woman MP ever elected in north Okanagan-Shuswap.

You may not have voted Liberal in the past; I ask you to consider voting for me, because I believe that we can work together to achieve common goals.

If we can defeat Mel Arnold on October 21st, it’s one less MP for Andrew Scheer. But to do that, we need your help.

Here’s how:

  • Volunteer: Become part of our volunteer team where there’s an opportunity to contribute your time and skills. There’s something for everyone and we have fun! We will train you and I will always “have your back”. Any help would be great: door-knocking, phoning (from our office or your home), help with organizing and hosting events, helping in the offices, administration and data, signs…. Even two or three hours would be great. Interested? Sign me up!
  • Donate: The campaign is funded solely by individuals’ donations to our local riding association. Every donation will help us win! Here’s the link:
  • Signs: This is easy and helpful. Would you like to have a sign for your lawn (or your condo balcony/window) to show your support for Cindy Derkaz? If so please click to let us know.
  • Vote: This is easy. Click to confirm that you will be voting for me.

When the polls close on October 21, we will know in our hearts that we have done everything possible to elect a progressive government.

Thanks again for your email.

Warm regards,


Cindy Derkaz
2019 Candidate
Liberal Party of Canada in North Okanagan Shuswap
“Taking your voice to Ottawa”


Summary of Accomplishments

Climate Action

The 2016 Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, negotiated with the provinces and territories, is the first ever National Climate Action Plan. This plan has guided the government’s policies.

Canada has an ambitious goal of reducing its carbon output to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Here are some of policies implemented since 2016 which will help achieve this target:

  • A nationwide price on pollution. As we have seen in British Columbia (BC) over the past decade, pricing pollution provides a powerful economic incentive for individuals, businesses and communities to invest in low carbon options – e.g. electric vehicles, solar power, retrofitting homes, more efficient equipment for industry, and rapid transit in urban centres. And despite the recent election of conservative provincial premiers (i.e. Ford, Kenney, Moe), the federal government has stayed the course. It is no longer free to pollute anywhere in Canada. Andrew Scheer has committed to “axing the tax” and taking us back more than a decade in the fight for the environment.
  • Regulations to reduce methane emissions by 40% to 45% by 2025.
  • Accelerated phase out of coal power (the end of coal power by 2030 will have the same effect as removing 1.3 million cars from the road).
  • Creation of the Clean Fuel Standard that will reduce carbon pollution by 30 million tonnes.
  • Creation of the Clean Energy Innovation Program to help Canadians living in remote and rural communities to reduce their reliance on diesel by investing in clean energy solutions (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.).
  • Creation of the Emerging Renewable Power Program which will fund renewable energy technologies.
  • Oil and gas drilling ban in the Arctic.
  • Working on national regulations to reduce emissions of air pollutants from the petroleum and petrochemical sectors, including oil and gas activity.
  • Investing in renewable energy – through active investments in in clean technology, Canada is now a global leader in renewable energy. There are too many examples to list here but let me know if you would like more information about some of the exciting projects.


Here are some of the many significant environmental accomplishments since 2015:

  • Establishing land and marine protected areas (MPAs) and parks (as of August 1, Canada has exceeded its commitment for MPAs.).
  • $1.5B Oceans Protection Plan.
  • $1.3B over five years to support Canada’s biodiversity and protect species at risk, including $500B to create a new Nature Fund to protect species at risk and expand wildlife areas and sanctuaries.
  • Moratorium on tanker traffic on the north coast of BC.
  • Investing in ocean and freshwater science, including hiring 135 scientists at Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
  • Investing in rebuilding fisheries stocks.
  • Modernizing Canada’s Fisheries Act (the habitat provisions of which were gutted by the Harper government). To date 64 of the 75 Cohen Commission recommendations have been satisfied.
  • Action on microbeads and plastics.
  • Restored the Great lakes Protection Initiative.

Income Equality and Social Justice

This government was elected on the commitment to help the middle class and those working to join the middle class.

The tax free, income tested Canada Child Benefit has been transformative in supporting low income and lower middle-class income families. Nationally, 9 out of 10 families are receiving more money every month. Right here in North Okanagan-Shuswap, $6.8 million goes to support over 19,000 children every single month. Families have told me how they are able to provide their children with a better quality of life such as participating in sports and summer camps because of the extra help each month.

Back in 2015, in this riding, I heard all the time that people did not have jobs, With the significant investment by Canadians in the economy over the last four years, I am now hearing that there is a labour shortage.

We have enhanced many social programs. Here are a few of the ways this government has helped low and middle-income families while making those with more, pay more:

  • Cut Middle Class Income Taxes

o    Cut taxes for nine million middle class Canadians.

  • Creating More Childcare Spaces

o    Creating up to 40,000 new spaces for children by investing an historic $7.5 billion over 11 years in early learning and child-care.

o    Through the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, helping more families have access to affordable, high-quality, flexible, and inclusive child-care.

  • Strengthened the Canada Child Benefit

o    Boosted the CCB to keep pace with the rising costs of living, by making annual increases starting July 2018— two years ahead of schedule.

o    Annual increases will occur to ensure no family is left behind.

  • Introduced the National Housing Strategy

o    Providing more families with affordable housing through the $55 billion+.

o    National Housing Strategy to reduce chronic homelessness by 50%.

o    Removing over 530,000 Canadians from housing need.

o    Creating 100,000 new housing units, repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units.

o    Starting in 2020, offsetting rental costs by an average of $2,500 per year with the new Canada Housing Benefit.

  • Launched the National Housing Co-Investment Fund

o    $13.2 billion investment under the National Housing Strategy is the largest housing fund in Canadian history – solely dedicated to the creation and repair of affordable homes.

o    Will create up to 60,000 new affordable units and repair another 240,000 over the next 10 years.

  • Executing our Poverty Reduction Strategy

o    Developed Canada’s first ever Poverty Reduction Strategy, investing in key areas of poverty reduction including housing, child-care, retirement, general cost of living, and more.

o    Helped lift 825,000 Canadians, including 300,000 kids, out of poverty since 2015.

o    largest poverty reduction in Canadian history and has resulted in the lowest poverty rate we’ve ever seen.

Indigenous Rights

Our government is committed to the rights of indigenous people, I support that and will continue to support that.

  • Ensuring Clean Drinking Water in Indigenous Communities

o    As of August 22, 2019, lifted 87 Long-Term Drinking Water Advisories on public systems for reliable access to clean and safe drinking water with 56 left – on track to remove all long-term water advisories on reserves by 2021.

o    Investing an additional $172.6 million over three years to speed up the construction and renovation of water systems.

  • Developing a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program

o    Helping close the earnings gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples by focusing on training for high-quality, better paying jobs – Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program. ($2 billion investment over five years and $408.2 million per year thereafter).

  • Implementing a new Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework

o    Partnered with Indigenous organizations to co-develop an Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

o    Reflects the unique cultural needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation children across Canada.

o    A commitment of $360 million, starting in 2017- 18, has been made towards the Framework over the next three years.

  • Signed BC Tripartite education agreement which will benefit all First Nations students in BC and 200 First Nations, supporting students who attend either on-reserve schools or public or independent schools.
  • Approval of more than 218,000 requests under Jordan’s principle.

One of our British Columbian MPs, Terry Beech, has posted a series of excellent reports on our government’s accomplishments. While the focus of these reports is his riding of Burnaby-North Seymour, many of the facts presented can be broadly applied across the country. To read more, I suggest starting with 55 of our Government’s Most Impactful Investments.

Here is a summary of the achievements of the government over the past four years: Accomplishments Summary.