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BSOM hopefuls ready to rock as campaigns officially get green light

Candidates in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte say they're already hearing some of the same issues come up while door-knocking

And they're off!

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dissolving government earlier today in Ottawa, the federal election race is officially underway.

There are five candidates hoping to come out on top in the Oct. 21 in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM). 


The riding is guaranteed to have a new representative in Ottawa, with Conservative MP Alex Nuttall choosing not to seek re-election. Candidates include Dan Janssen (NDP), Brian Kalliecharan (Liberal), Marty Lancaster (Green), David Patterson (People's Party), and Doug Shipley (Conservative).

BarrieToday reached out to each of the local candidates to get their take on issues, campaigning and what's in store in the weeks ahead. Lancaster did not respond by publication time. 

Dan Janssen, NDP

Dan Janssen is no stranger to local politics, having run for the NDP in the last provincial election. 

"Our first priority, and something that remains our top priority, is getting out there and talking to voters," Janssen told BarrieToday. "When I knock on doors, I'm not there to collect data like other candidates in our riding are doing. I'm there to have a conversation, and to find out what's important to people and their families. That's what we've been doing and that's what we will continue to do."

While out canvassing, Janssen says people are "really hungry for change."

"People want tax fairness, a just transition to a green economy, head-to-toe health care and electoral reform," he said. "They want a government that looks out for them, and not the big corporations."

In order to be successful, Janssen says he'll rely heavily on many of the people around him. 

"I have a great team around me," he said. "Together, with the strength of the NDP’s New Deal for People, we have what it takes to win this election.

"Personally, I know that meeting people face to face and listening to their concerns is the best way to connect and bring about the positive change needed in our community and our country."

Brian Kalliecharan, Liberal

For political newcomer Dr. Brian Kalliecharan, today was no different than any other. 

"I'm going to keep doing what we have been doing for a number of weeks: get to every voter in this riding, knock on thousands of doors, make thousands of calls and earn the votes of my neighbours," he said. "As a small-business owner, I've never been afraid of a hard work and a little elbow grease."

At the doors of local voters, Kalliecharan says people are worried about their futures as well as those of their children. 

"They're worried about the high cost of living and making ends meet," he added. "They're worried about leaving a clean planet for the next generation.

"And I cannot tell you how many people tell me we need to figure out the public transportation to Toronto," Kalliecharan added. "I keep on hearing that they want to pick a party that has a plan to invest in Canadians, in roads and bridges and in our children."

Kalliecharan says being new to the scene might actually work in his favour. 

"I've never run for public office before, so I think that gives me an advantage," he said. "I don't speak like a politician. I'm going to keep my focus on helping the residents of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. I'm going to work my butt off to be as many places as possible and be present and active in our community.

"This is such a beautiful riding, with some of the nicest people, schools, parks and landscape in the country. I'm so proud to be part of this community."

David Patterson, People's Party

For the new People's Party of Canada, under the leadership of former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier, it's all about knocking on as many doors as possible in the coming weeks, says candidate David Patterson. 

"Our first priority will be to get out and speak to as many people in the riding as we can, to listen to their concerns," Patterson said. "From my conversations with residents of Barrie so far, the main concerns seem to be about high cost of living and high levels of immigration."

Patterson says getting the party's message out is paramount. 

"Our ability to win this election will depend on helping the people of BSOM learn about our People's Party policies, which will reduce consumer costs, reduce taxes and create jobs," he said. 

"We will stimulate business investment through a lower business tax and by eliminating the capital gains tax," he added. "This will result in more jobs and lower consumer prices. We are the only party promising to phase out the supply management system, which makes chicken, eggs and dairy products more expensive. Eliminating supply management will save the average family over $300 per year."

Immigration is also a high priority for the PPC. 

"We will reduce the number of immigrants per year and will take a higher proportion of immigrants who are able to work," Patterson said. "This will result in more stable and steady growth in home prices while keeping rents more affordable for the average family.

"This will also reduce government expenditure and make our social services more sustainable," he added. 

Doug Shipley, Conservative

Doug Shipley's is a well-known face in Barrie politics and he's been through a few campaigns over the years. 

"We've been working very hard for a few months already," he said. "We've had our team in place and we've been out knocking on doors. We've had a good push.

"Quite frankly, not much is going to change except now signs can go up," added the veteran city councillor, who has represented Ward 3 since 2010. We have everything in place and we're ready to go. We've got five more weeks, so this is kind of the sprint now to the end. We've been doing the marathon over the summer and we've got all our ducks in a row and are ready to go."

Some of the main issues he's been hearing keep coming up. 

"We've knocked on over 25,000 doors already and without a doubt, the message I'm hearing is affordability and good government," Shipley said. "There are some people out there who are struggling, and we're hearing about it day in, day out. We have to make life more affordable. Our motto really sums it up with 'it's time for you to get ahead'. It shouldn't be government getting ahead, it should the people."

Shipley says his priority is to simply get his message to the people.  

"The nice thing is I've got some good name recognition," he said. "I'm surprised how many people out in Oro and Springwater are familiar with Doug Shipley. A lot of people follow Barrie politics, which pleasantly surprised me, but I think my work ethic is what I need to get out there and show people.

"I've proven myself for nine years in Barrie and now I need to make sure people throughout the rest of the area are aware of my work ethic and my commitment," Shipley added. "There's only one thing I can promise, and that's that I'll be there for them. I'll answer all calls and emails. If they have a question, I'll be there."


Raymond Bowe

About the Author: Raymond Bowe

Raymond is an award-winning journalist who has been reporting from Simcoe County since 2000
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