In the lead up to the 2021 federal election, Doppler invited local residents to tell us why they support their chosen party. We’ll publish their responses throughout this week, in random order.
By Tony Clement
This election is about who we trust to guide us in the future in a very uncertain world. The pandemic has dominated our lives for 18 months, here in Muskoka and around the world, and its impacts will reverberate for the foreseeable future. Understandably voters are asked to pass judgement on the past two years since the 2019 election (this election is needless and reckless during a fourth wave, but here we are), but also to focus on what needs to be done henceforth on so many fronts: joblessness, economic growth, housing, cost of living, environmental plans, indigenous, personal safety, and more. This is at a time when divisions — social, economic, regional and cultural — seem at an all-time high.
I’ve been asked to put the case for Erin O’Toole and Canada’s Conservatives. I will not dwell on Mr. Trudeau. His record is well-known, and he can speak for himself. I will focus on the positive attributes of Mr O’Toole and his Conservative team, including our local MP, Scott Aitchison.
First, let me say I’ve known Erin O’Toole for decades. When I was Ontario Minister of Health and MPP, Erin’s dad John was my colleague in the legislature and my parliamentary assistant. Later Erin, after stints in the RCAF and as a Toronto lawyer, got elected to Parliament in a 2012 byelection in Durham riding. I was happy to campaign for him at that time. He rose fast, becoming Minister of Veterans Affairs (never an easy job) in the latter period of the Harper Government. I supported him for leader in 2021 and I have never regretted the decision. He’s a person of good character, an excellent strategic thinker, and has a solid understanding of our country and its regions. He’s a “sunny side up” kind of politician who is not angry or mean. I like him.
As importantly he’s crafted a policy platform—160 pages long—the likes of which had not been presented by a Conservative leader for at least 15 years. Entitled “Secure the Future”, it among other things sets out adding one million new job hires, mostly by working with small business owners. It also would add one million new homes, including by deferring capital gains taxes on new rental housing builds and banning foreign investors buying homes they don’t live in. The Conservatives want to invest in mental health services and, as I am the national co-chair of Reshoring Canada, which advocates for Canadian supply chain resilience and local manufacturing, I was very pleased to see commitments for local PPE and vaccine manufacturing, and securing our critical minerals supply chains.
The Conservative campaign ran into some rough waters recently on the issue of gun control. Controversies are an inevitable part of campaigning, and sometimes issues come out of nowhere. A key test of leadership is how a leader handles adversity. In this case controversy erupted because of the nomenclature used by the Liberals regarding “assault weapons”, a term that actually does not exist in Canadian law or regulations. In any event, Erin O’Toole faced criticism, reconsidered his words, and pledged to keep current regulations in place until a wide-ranging review could be done, including with all relevant stakeholders. For me, it also illustrated that in the pressure cooker that is national politics, O’Toole didn’t lose his head or lose his focus. He can be trusted to do the sensible thing.
In conclusion, Erin O’Toole seeks to unite rather than divide our fraught society, and set Canada’s course on issues people care about, including climate change and environmental goals. It’s clear Canadians desire change in this election, and want to trust their politicians again. I believe Canada’s Conservatives under Erin O’Toole can meet your expectations and deserve your consideration.
See the Conservative Party platform here.
The Hon. Tony Clement was MP for Parry Sound-Muskoka 2006-2019 and served as Minister of Health, Industry, Treasury Board and FedNor under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
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