Editor's note: Ahead of the Sept. 20 federal election, BarrieToday has contacted all of the candidates in the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte 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 Doug Shipley, the Conservative candidate in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. More candidate Q-and-A's can be found on our Canada Votes 2021 page.
1. 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?
The opioid epidemic is a devastating health issue that is particularly prevalent in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. My thoughts are with every family that has been affected by this crisis.
I have seen the merits of supervised consumption sites (SCS) if they are incorporated with wrap-around services to enable people to get the assistance they need, and if the site is placed in an appropriate, approved location.
At the federal level, Canada’s Conservatives will address the opioid crisis by investing $325 million in new drug treatment beds, building 50 additional recovery community centres, and providing $1 billion over the next five years in extra funding for Indigenous-specific mental health and drug treatment programs.
To assist in recovery from addiction, Conservatives will revise the federal government’s substance abuse policy framework so that recovery is the overarching goal. We will reorient the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy toward ensuring that everyone suffering from addiction has the opportunity to recover and to lead a drug-free life.
2. 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 am fully and safely vaccinated, as is my entire family. I know that vaccines are a safe and effective tool to stop the spread of COVID-19 and I encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated.
As a Conservative, I also support Canadians’ right to determine their own health choices. For those unable to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or for those who choose not to, I support reasonable measures, such as rapid testing to protect the health of all Canadians. This includes requiring negative test results and/or rapid test results for unvaccinated travellers, and daily rapid tests for federal public servants.
Unlike Justin Trudeau, I do not believe in politicizing vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic for personal or political gain. Along with my Conservative colleagues, I prioritize both freedom and safety for all Canadians.
3. 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?
As a parent and as a Canadian, the tragedy of residential schools is a heartbreaking part of Canada’s past.
As we continue to be reminded of these tragedies, my Conservative colleagues and I acknowledge the deep sorrow and mourning that all Indigenous people and survivors of residential schools are experiencing, and grieve for the Indigenous communities who are sharing in this trauma. These discoveries are a sombre reminder of the devastating and harmful effects that residential schools had, and still have, on many survivors today and need to be addressed.
Conservatives have called for a swift timeline and funding to deliver on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action 71 to 76 involving missing children and providing healing for families.
Unfortunately, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party are cherry-picking the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission instead of doing the hard work of tackling issues that will improve the lives of Indigenous peoples across Canada. A national holiday will not provide First Nations people with clean drinking water or end boiled water advisories on reserves, provide economic opportunities or support for education to more Indigenous peoples, provide mental health support to Indigenous communities, or create other real, needed changes.
4. 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?
Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte is home to a diverse ecosystem that includes parks, forests, farms, bodies of water, and more. I have long enjoyed the beautiful outdoor spaces in our riding, and know that they must be preserved.
That’s why I support the serious plan the Conservatives have put forth, which will combat climate change and allow us to meet our targets and reduce emissions by 2030, all while repealing Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. We will implement a Low Carbon Savings Account (LCSA), which will incentivize Canadians to make greener lifestyle choices that reduce their emissions while also allowing them to decide what works best for them and their family.
Independent analysis conducted by Navius Research found that our plan would effectively achieve the same emissions reductions as the government’s current plan in 2030, while resulting in a boost to jobs and the economy. We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms – but not one where the government pockets your money.
I am proud of our environmental platform, which is a serious plan to fight climate change and protect the environment, but not on the backs of hard-working Canadians.
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?
Under Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, Barrie has become the most expensive city in Ontario for one-bedroom rentals, surpassing even Toronto’s prices. Canada is not building enough homes to keep up with our growing population, which makes homes harder and harder for Canadians to afford.
Construction of rental homes has also been woefully insufficient and has not kept pace with demand, resulting in higher rent for Canadians and the people of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte.
There is also a lot of foreign money flowing into Canada’s housing market. Some of it is being funded through the proceeds of crime, and in other cases foreign investors are sitting on the investments and leaving homes empty. This pushes up prices, putting
homeownership out of reach for many Canadians.
Conservatives have a plan to end the housing crisis and make homes more affordable for owners as well as renters. As part of our plan we will build one million homes in the next three years, provide more Canadians with a path to homeownership by making it easier to get a mortgage, ban foreign investors from buying homes here if they are not planning on living here, and take other decisive steps to address the housing crisis.
For more information on Shipley's campaign, visit dougshipley.ca.