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BARRIE-INNISFIL: Q-and-A with Conservative candidate John Brassard

'I don't discourage anyone from getting vaccinated, but I respect the right for each individual to decide what's right for them,' says Brassard
2021-08-23 John Brassard headshot
John Brassard is the Conservative candidate for Barrie-Innisfil.

Ahead of the Sept. 20 federal election, BarrieToday has contacted all of the candidates in the Barrie-Innisfil riding with five questions related to the local opioid crisis, COVID-19 vaccine passports, Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, climate change, and affordable housing. The following answers were received from John Brassard, the Conservative candidate in Barrie-Innisfil. More candidate Q-and-A's can be found on our Canada Votes 2021 page.

1. As we brace for a fourth wave of COVID-19 and a more aggressive delta variant, many are suggesting Canada should embrace a vaccine passport. What is your view on this?

I believe vaccines and vaccine passports should not be a political issue and Canadians do not want to see the politicization of the pandemic during this election campaign. Instead of mandatory vaccinations, I support a reasonable and balanced approach that protects every Canadian’s right to make personal health decisions with the need to keep communities safe.

A Conservative government would not support mandatory vaccines or COVID-19 passports, but would require unvaccinated passengers boarding a plane, cruise ship or interprovincial train to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

Unvaccinated federal employees would also have to pass a rapid test each day. Vaccines are a critical tool and I believe they are effective at stopping the spread of the virus, but public health authorities have provided options for those people who don't wish to be inoculated.

I made the choice to be fully vaccinated to protect my mom and dad, family and community. I don't discourage anyone from getting vaccinated, but I respect the right for each individual to decide what's right for them.

I realize some people in Barrie-Innisfil will decide not to be vaccinated. It’s a choice that comes with a responsibility to use every tool available to protect others, including rapid testing, wearing masks and physical distancing.

2. We are a rich country in many ways, but many Indigenous reserves still don't have clean drinking water. The tragedy of residential schools has ripped open the hurt and trauma many of our Indigenous families have felt for generations. Many of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations remain unheeded. How would you address these issues and help heal these wounds?

Reconciliation and healing for Canada's Indigenous Peoples begins with respect. An entire section of the federal Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC) released in 2015 was titled Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials.

When I read the TRC after becoming an MP, the magnitude of the devastation this system caused Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and the lasting impact it has had to this day became clear to me Conservatives will develop a comprehensive plan to implement TRC Calls to Action 71 through 76, fund the investigation at former residential schools in Canada where unmarked graves may
exist, including sites where children have already been discovered and ensure that proper resources are allocated for communities to reinter, commemorate, and honour individuals discovered, according to the wishes of their next-of-kin.

Like many Canadians, I grew up not knowing the history of the residential school system in Canada, the impact on Indigenous children and families, and the generational damage the system has had on Indigenous Peoples. We need a detailed set resources to educate Canadians of all ages on the tragic history of residential schools and a national monument in Ottawa to honour residential school survivors and the children who were lost.

3. Recently, a major scientific report warned of increasingly extreme heat waves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. Scientists say it’s a "code red for humanity." What tangible ways will your party address climate change in both the short- and long-term?

Protecting the environment has always been a core Conservative value. Our party was built by farmers, hunters and anglers who respect and live off the lands and waters we need to conserve. We all want a green future for our children  with clean air, pure water and Canada’s beautiful, wild spaces protected.

Canada’s Conservatives will invest in projects to put Canadians to work, cut commute times, and clean up the environment.

In 2010, the previous Conservative government committed to conserving 17 per cent of terrestrial lands through protected areas and other conservation measures and will increase that goal to 25 per cent.

We will fight climate change, meet Canada’s Paris climate commitment and protect the environment, but not on the backs of working Canadians or by hurting the economy and driving away jobs and investment.

We will also insist that major polluters like China clean up their act and bring the provinces together to implement an innovative Personal Low Carbon Savings Account to put a price on carbon for consumers without one penny going to the government.

Our plan will ensure all Canadians can do their part to fight climate change and at a carbon price that is affordable.

4. For the past several years, Barrie has had a devastating drug crisis, one of the worst in the province. How do you think the opioid problem should be addressed and what is your stance on the proposed supervised consumption site (SCS) here in the city?

Conservatives will treat the opioid crisis as the national emergency that it is. We believe that law enforcement should focus on dealers and traffickers. The last thing those suffering from addiction should have to worry about is being arrested. Any interaction the government has with them should focus on keeping them safe and helping them recover.

A Conservative government will commit $325 million over three years to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and build 50 recovery community centres across Canada, based on need. We want to partner with the provinces to build treatment capacity, and federal funding will not be contingent on the provinces matching funds.

It’s also critically important to continue supporting prevention, harm reduction and enforcement as we accelerate recovery efforts.

Our plan also includes enhancing the delivery of culturally appropriate addiction treatment and prevention services in First Nations communities with high needs and we will provide $1 billion over five years to boost Indigenous mental-health and drug-treatment programs.

5. Housing is a human right, but many people in Barrie are not able to afford a roof over their heads. The cost of living continues to rise while the price of housing and rent skyrockets well beyond affordability for the average person. What would your party do to address this?

We have a housing crisis in Barrie-Innisfil and all across Canada. Conservatives have a housing plan that focuses on the national crisis and includes a two-year trial ban on foreign buyers who don’t plan to live in Canada.

The supply of homes — to own as well as to rent — is not keeping up with our growing population and too many foreign investors are sitting on properties as investments.

Our plan will require municipalities receiving federal funding for public transit to increase housing density near transit lines and encourage investment in rental homes by allowing Canadians to defer capital gains when the rental property is sold and releasing a portion of federally owned properties to be used for new homes.

The Conservatives’ policies also include encouraging foreign investment in affordable, purpose-built rental housing for Canadians and changes to mortgage rules making it easier for families to buy a home.

Our comprehensive plan will help build a million homes across Canada over the next three years.

For more information on Brassard's campaign, click here