Editor’s note: The Journal invited the six local candidates in the federal election to participate in a Q&A on issues. The answers of the five who participated are presented in alphabetical order this week. People’s Party of Canada candidate Brian Everaert did not respond.
1 – What do you see as the most pressing issue in Sarnia-Lambton right now, and why?
The most pressing issue is affordability. Too many people are within $200 of not being able to pay their bills due to tax increases imposed by the Liberals – the carbon tax, payroll tax, small business tax and the elimination of thousands of dollars of tax credits that were benefiting Canadians. Shortage of affordable housing is a huge issue in Sarnia-Lambton. The Conservative Housing First program was successful in getting the homeless into housing, but was cancelled by the Liberals. The Liberals have been all talk and no action on affordable housing. The Conservatives will cut taxes and put thousands of dollars into the pockets of seniors, veterans, first-time homebuyers and lower-income Canadians.
2 – Do you believe climate change is caused by human activity? And what should Canada do about it?
Yes, human activity is a contributing factor to climate change. The real issue is how we will deal with this. The Conservatives have A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment.
This will have Canada take a leadership role to help bring global solutions to this global problem. Our plan is to make Canada a leader in green technologies and export these to the world – creating Canadian jobs, and making meaningful contributions to addressing climate change. Taxing people is NOT the way to resolve this problem.
3 – Residents know Sarnia is in the grip of a serious addiction problem. Any solutions?
Alcohol and drug addiction is a serious problem here. Multiple people in our community have died of contaminated drugs, and taken their own lives because of addictions. Too many people in our community have died of an opioid overdose. The current Liberal government’s response has been totally inadequate. Conservatives have a full strategy from prevention to recovery. We must keep fentanyl from coming into the country, stop over-prescription, educate all about the harms of drugs, and create detox and recovery spaces so individuals can get the help they need to get off drugs. We will also support mental health programs so the traumas that lead to addiction can be addressed.
4 – Despite a robust economy, none of the major parties are promising to balance the budget in the next four years. Is that a mistake?
The out-of-control spending of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have left Canadians in a bad place, especially as many economists are predicting recession. Much of the money has been spent in other countries rather than addressing the issues here at home. Conservatives will move the country back to fiscal responsibility. Andrew Scheer has written to all provincial and territorial leaders to promise that under a Conservative government, health and social transfers will increase, while we return to a balanced budget within five years.
5 – Sarnia-Lambton’s economy rests heavily on the oil and gas industry. How should this community position itself in a world moving away from fossil fuels?
The world will not be off fossil fuels in the next 30 years. Justin Trudeau has said that he wants to shut down the oil sands. His incompetence on pipelines has cost 100,000 jobs in oil and gas. The Green Party and the NDP are all anti-fossil fuel and anti-pipeline. That should be of concern for residents of Sarnia-Lambton, where many of our jobs are in this industry. Over the last number of years, Sarnia-Lambton has been diversifying into the green and the digital economies. This work should continue so that a transition of employment, not the devastation seen in Alberta occurs. A responsible transition to the new reality is the way to proceed.