Familiar faces to square off again locally in election

By Kirk Winter

Judi Forbes, the Liberal candidate for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, chats with Conservative incumbent candidate Jamie Schmale in Victoria Park, Lindsay. Photo: Sienna Frost.

Local candidates are off to the races in a federal match-up that pits the Liberal’s Justin Trudeau against new Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh on Sept. 20.

Annamie Paul, the federal Green Party leader, will face her first campaign since Elizabeth May stepped aside in 2019.

At this time, only the Conservatives and Liberals have chosen candidates locally, with the Conservatives of course running incumbent Jamie Schmale and the Liberals once again fielding Judi Forbes.

The Advocate has been told a decision is imminent on both the NDP and Green candidates.

Conservative Party of Canada – candidate Jamie Schmale

Two-term incumbent Jamie Schmale says the Liberals’ election call is “the last thing Canadians want right now” and that Trudeau is “ignoring the will and wishes of the Canadian people” by triggering the vote.

Schmale says his campaign will focus on four key issues: economic recovery including job growth and a reduction of the national debt; a plan to ensure that Canada is prepared for the possibility of a future pandemic by creating a stockpile of essential products and building the capacity to manufacture vaccines; what he describes as Liberal scandals and government accountability; and treatment of mental health like any other health condition, including measures such as greater funding to the provinces for mental health care, incentives for employers to provide employees with mental health coverage, and the creation of a national three-digit suicide prevention hotline.

Liberal Party of Canada – candidate Judi Forbes

The Liberals have not only “had Canadians’ backs” during this pandemic says Forbes, but Trudeau also has the best plan to move Canada out of this public health crisis. During the campaign, she will be highlighting five key issues: a comprehensive plan for economic recovery that includes green technology and job creation; reconciliation with Indigenous communities; a comprehensive plan for dealing with environmental change while minimizing harm to the economy; a serious discussion on basic income and other tools to alleviate income inequality—Forbes herself supports basic income for specifically targeted groups like racialized single parents and people with disabilities; and support for seniors including an increase in Old Age Security payments.

New Democratic Party of Canada

Local NDP president Barbara Doyle calls this election “an unnecessary risk” when so many Canadians are still not fully vaccinated. She says Canada doesn’t need or want an election and would rather see the parties in Ottawa working together to deal with the fallout of the pandemic and the very serious issues being faced by Canada’s Indigenous communities.

Doyle says she expects that the local NDP will focus on universal pharmacare, affordable child care and housing, clean drinking water for Indigenous people and a plan to follow through on the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, action on climate change and the creation of new jobs. Establishing denticare and bringing long-term care under the public umbrella has also been mentioned by party leader Singh as priorities.

Green Party of Canada

Tom Regina, a member of the local Green Party executive, says he hopes that many people will look seriously at the ideas being put forward by Green candidates right across Canada. Regina says the party will likely focus on five main issues locally: managing change on issues like climate, justice and social change in an environmentally responsible manner; electoral reform; basic income; development of environmentally sensitive areas; and finding a balance between preservation and growth in our riding.

–with files from Roderick Benns.

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