Schmale believes small business key to pandemic recovery

By Kirk Winter

Conservative Party of Canada candidate Jamie Schmale. Photo: Sienna Frost.

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes- Brock Member of Parliament Jamie Schmale believes that small business will be the key to Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. He also thinks the Conservative Party of Canada is best poised to create the conditions for that recovery more quickly than any other party.

Schmale made it clear that Canadians shouldn’t even be fighting an election in the middle of a pandemic.

“This is an unnecessary election,” Schmale said in a telephone interview. “This election will cost $611 million and it was only called because the government believed they could achieve a majority. The government did not lose the confidence of the House and other parties had vowed to continue to support the governing party until the pandemic was over.”

When asked what the single biggest campaign plank his party is putting forward that would impact HKLB, Schmale said it is assistance for the economy, in particular initiatives for small businesses that have been dealing with the pandemic for the last 18 months.

“This riding relies on small business and the jobs they provide,” Schmale said. “We have a number of initiatives in place in our platform like GST free month of December for bricks and mortar stores. We believe that will generate $1.5 billion in business activity all by itself.”

“We are also proposing a hospitality rebate that will refund half the cost of meals and non-alcoholic drinks to diners bought in restaurants Monday through Wednesday to assist that hard hit sector to get back on its feet,” the Conservative candidate said.

Schmale also said that the Conservative daycare plan, which will cover 75 percent of the cost of all forms of daycare including paying friends and family to care for children, will allow parents choice where their children will be placed and allow Canadians to return to the workforce in greater numbers.

He also said a wide variety of daycare options, both public and private, would give parents flexibility outside of traditional daycare centre hours that are of little help to shift workers.

When asked if family caregivers would have to issue receipts Schmale was unsure. Asked if family caregivers would be declaring the income made while caring for relatives, Schmale expected that would be the case. The potential for financial abuse by private daycare providers was not something Schmale was worried about, believing the choices offered parents would outweigh the potential for abuse.  

Schmale said that the key is getting people back to work creating small business pay cheques and not debt. Schmale also fears that inflation caused by government debt will impact people’s ability to purchase what they need if prices begin to spiral upwards.

On the climate front, Schmale suggested that a “combination of actions” will help Canada hit its climate targets.

“We believe in incentivizing technological change. We also want to reduce trade with China, the world’s biggest polluter and bring manufacturing back to Canada where it will provide jobs and prosperity,” Schmale said.

“There is too much red tape for businesses in Ontario,” Schmale said. “We also need to do something about having the highest electrical costs in North America if we are serious about creating jobs in what used to be Canada’s manufacturing hub.”

When asked what the Conservatives plan to do for agriculture, Schmale touted the opposition private member’s bill passed in parliament that took the carbon tax of fuel used on farms. A second opposition private members bill leveled the playing field on family-to-family sales of the family farm. Schmale claimed the previous rules in place made it “easier for a farmer to sell to a stranger than to family.”

He is also hoping that making inroads in Africa, with over a billion people, will open up markets to Canadian farms and farmers, and that Canadian agribusiness will be ahead of the curve by getting into Africa before many of its main competitors do.

When asked about the Afghani refugee crisis and Canada’s promise to take 20,000 Afghanis who assisted Canada over their two-decade commitment to that nation, Schmale avoided saying how many Afghans a Conservative government might take.

“It was an absolute shame that Canada abandoned those people. There was opposition pressure in parliament starting in May to get people out.”

He called the situation “a massive failure and a global embarrassment for Canada.” “We have left those people to fend for themselves.”

Schmale was asked for his thoughts on the unusually large numbers of undecided voters who have yet to pick a party late in this campaign.

“The prime minister thought no one was paying attention to politics when he called the vote. It was summer and things were opening up again. Politics was front and centre. I believe many voters unsure of their choice are kicking the tires of many other political parties before they make up their minds. We hope we provide a solid alternative for voters.”

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