Local federal candidates square off with different visions for riding, country
The race to elect a brand new parliament is on for Oct. 21 and the candidates running in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock offer up competing visions for federal representation.
New Democratic Party Candidate Barbara Doyle believes her history gives her an edge over her opponents, at least when it comes to understanding what life is like for both the middle class and those who need additional supports in our communities.
“My personal history has given me the advantage, perhaps over my opponents, of knowing what it is really like to be on both sides of the economic fence. I have been solidly ‘middle class,’ but I have also been homeless, living in the shelter for safety from domestic violence,” Doyle tells the Advocate.
She says she has given to food banks “and I have used them.”
“I put myself through college as an adult for legal studies and I still have student loans,” she notes.
“I believe that politicians need to be ethical, transparent and hard-working but it helps if they can also have a depth of understanding about need.”
Doyle says her experiences have shown her that many of our support systems need reform or simply don’t work well enough to be effective.
The NDP commits to a ban on single-use plastics – and that’s why Doyle won’t have any election signs leading up to the election.
Doyle believes we need a government that reflects the true makeup of the country, “not just the top 1%.”
Gene Balfour, candidate for the People’s Party of Canada, takes a different view. He says that governments (in general) have taken on too many responsibilities that affect the lives of Canadians. There are consequences for this, he says, including “tax inflation.”
“The average worker remits 53% of annual earnings to all forms taxation compared to 38% in 1961. It’s no wonder that housing, raising families and paying energy bills is such a financial challenge for many,” Balfour says.
Balfour also points to a loss of social cohesion, saying that legislated political correctness “has divided Canadians into cultural and financial ‘tribes,’ all battling each other for privileges endowed by our political elites.”
“The expectation of dependency in now ingrained in Canadian culture. When we turn to the government to fix every problem, we lose the skills and habit of personal responsibility.”
Balfour says government deems that veterans’ needs are “not affordable” while “tax-funded paycheques support indiscriminate foreign aid and illegal immigrants.:
The PPC candidate is also a fan of “clear leadership with limited and defined priorities.”
“Prosperity for everyone only grows when elected leaders respect our citizens, are fair to everyone, encourage individual responsibility and cherish personal freedom.”
Conservative Candidate Jamie Schmale (and the current Member of Parliament for Haliburton Kawartha Lakes – Brock) is hoping for another win. He’s got “hard-working families” on his mind and wants to lower the cost of living, make maternity benefits tax-free, and protect the environment for future generations.
“I hear about the challenges our communities face on a daily basis,” Schmale tells the Advocate, such as a lack of access to reliable high speed internet and cellular service, “which limits business growth, hinders online studies for students in remote areas, and poses a safety risk to those who cannot access emergency services.”
“Despite municipalities in Eastern Ontario having a plan to fix some of these gaps, the current government waited until the eve of an election to act on this issue” by providing funding.
Schmale says the local riding is also home to many farming families “who provide the food we eat and power our economy.”
“Family-owned farming operations are now disadvantaged because this government failed to ensure stable markets for our agriculture. In order to attract younger people to enter the trade, the federal government needs to ensure that international markets are easily accessible.”
Judi Forbes, the Liberal candidate, is a mother of four and a past senior bank manager and local small business owner.
She tells the Advocate she wants a seat in the legislature “to help our communities prosper, and to build a stronger future for our families and our grand children.”
“To me, this election provides the people of Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes and Brock with a clear choice,” she says, rhyming off investments and aspirational programs like infrastructure, affordable housing, broadband services, education, national pharmacare, a public transit strategy, and putting a price on pollution.
She says the alternative is to “choose a return to a government where the rich prosper and services for healthcare, education, seniors, veterans and children are cut.”
Forbes says the Trudeau government has delivered on over 90% of the promises made in 2015, although not everyone agrees with this assessment.
Forbes says she believes in “investing in brighter futures for our families, our environment, our businesses, agriculture, and our communities.”
Elizabeth Fraser is the Green Party candidate, a Carleton University student in environmental studies who calls Bethany home.
She tells the Advocate this campaign “is extremely meaningful to me.”
“Not only is it an amazing experience for a young person…to be involved in politics on the ground level, but also because of the significance this election holds.”
Fraser — who only spoke about environmental issues in her response — says she has come to realize the magnitude of the environmental crisis that the earth faces.
“For me, this campaign is about being the voice for environmentalism and sustainability for people in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.”
She says environmental issues are critically important now more than ever and that importance “should be reflected in our politics.”
“This campaign is about advocating for…environmental issues and rejecting the myths that sustainable practices means sacrificing a thriving economy when instead, the opposite is true.”
“I want to show people that they have another option.”
*The Lindsay Advocate has also interviewed all five candidates with more depth and will be releasing these stories gradually in September in alphabetical order by last name. So far, interviews with Gene Balfour for the PPC and Barbara Doyle for the NDP have been released.