The dust has settled and the sun has risen following the 44th federal election and Barrie's two Conservative MPs say they are ready to get back to work helping their constituents.
Doug Shipley was re-elected to his second term in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM) after 22,411 people checked his name on their ballot, claiming his seat by almost 7,200 votes over Liberal candidate Tanya Saari.
Shipley says he's glad to get back to work after what Elections Canada tagged as a $610-million campaign, more than $100 million than the 2019 election cost.
“It piles up the work, because for weeks we are essentially not the MP,” Shipley told BarrieToday on Tuesday. “We’re not allowed to answer emails, not allowed to help people like we normally do. It's about trying to get caught up after a five-week stall plan, ending up close to where we were before, and now we have to rev it back up and away we go.”
Shipley said he was back to work this morning and looks forward to helping his constituents. However, he also reminds people in the riding that he can only do so much with the Liberals holding power.
“The problem is going to be that the Liberal government sets the agenda. Some may not know, but since we are the Official Opposition, we are there to question the Liberal government moving forward,” Shipley said. “Unless it's a private member's bill, we really have no say in the matter.”
Meanwhile, John Brassard is back for his third term in Barrie-Innisfil.
"It's clean-up day. With 1,500 signs, give or take, we've got four crews out picking them up," Brassard said of the campaign team's immediate plans. "You've only got about 72 hours to get your signs off the streets and we don't want to be on the wrong side of bylaw, so it's a big day."
As for the next political steps, Brassard expects a caucus meeting soon where everyone can address concerns they heard on the campaign trail.
"We'll have that meeting, whether Zoom call or otherwise I don't know, and try to iron out what our next steps are with the many concerns we heard from Canadians we spoke to," Brassard said. "As I said last night after winning the seat, affordability is the main issue I heard from constituents. I'm sure my fellow MPs heard the same thing and now we have to wait for the Liberal government to put out their agenda and I'm hoping, I'm certain, they heard the same concern on this campaign trail."
Shipley echoed those sentiments around affordability.
“We’re talking about the price of groceries, the price of gas, the price of housing. It's a problem and it's getting worse and at 4.1 per cent inflation, it's not going to get better unless we do something,” Shipley said. “People are struggling right now and I’m hearing that loud and clear.
"I can only hope that Liberal MPs heard the same thing while they went door to door," he added. "We’ll have to make sure they are reminded day in and day out of the struggles Canadians are facing.”
Both Brassard (2006-15) and Shipley (2010-19) previously served on Barrie city council, a fact not lost on Mayor Jeff Lehman as he pored over the federal election results.
“The results mean two former city councillors will continue to represent us in Ottawa," Lehman said. "This means we have MPs with an in-depth understanding of the city’s issues and priorities. Both John and Doug look out for opportunities for Barrie to benefit from federal programs and advocate for issues affecting Barrie, such as the housing crisis, Lake Simcoe and business supports.”
2021 FEDERAL ELECTION RESULTS
Barrie-Innisfil (174 of 175 polls reporting, 2:04 p.m., Sept. 21)
John Brassard (Conservative) — 23,845 votes (47.7 per cent)
Lisa-Marie Wilson (Liberal) — 14,318 votes (28.6 per cent)
Aleesha Gostkowski (New Democrats) — 7,919 votes (15.8 per cent)
Corrado Brancato (People's Party) — 3,918 votes (7.8 per cent)
Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (200 of 201 polls reporting, 2:04 p.m., Sept. 21):
Doug Shipley (Conservative) — 22,411 votes (45.1 per cent)
Tanya Saari (Liberals) — 15,214 votes (30.6 per cent)
Sarah Lochhead (New Democrats) — 8,494 votes (17.1 per cent)
Chris Webb (People's Party) — 3,537 votes (7.1 per cent)Source: Elections Canada