Editor's note: In the coming days, BarrieToday will feature profiles on the federal candidates in the Barrie-Innisfil and the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte ridings. Today we feature John Brassard, the Conservative candidate in Barrie-Innisfil. For more coverage of the upcoming federal election, visit our Canada Votes 2021 page.
John Brassard is hoping that experience will serve him well next month as voters head to the polls.
Brassard, the Conservative Party candidate for the riding of Barrie-Innisfil, has served as MP for the riding since it was first created in 2015. Since then, he has been appointed as the critic for urban affairs, Opposition critic for Veterans’ Affairs, Conservative leadership team/deputy Opposition whip and the shadow minister for Veterans’ Affairs. Prior to being elected as Barrie-Innisfil's Member of Parliament in 2015, he also spent nine years as a Barrie city councillor.
“Experience is going to matter in this upcoming election,” said Brassard, who was a firefighter for more than 30 years and served as an executive member of the Markham Professional Firefighters’ Association, including a three-year term as president.
Brassard says he will focus on the five pillars of the Conservative Party platform and also believes the protection of Lake Simcoe and the environment is critical.
“I have been working over the last six years to try to have the government reinvest into the Lake Simcoe clean-up fund," Brassard told BarrieToday. "I know it was part of our platform in 2019 and (it was) indicated as being critical in the latest (Conservative Party) platform. It is not just me, but my colleagues who surround Lake Simcoe who are the Conservative MPs; we understand how important it is.
"Our environment and the people rely on Lake Simcoe as a matter of recreation and tourism… so making sure the sustainability of Lake Simcoe and the watershed for now and the future is important," he added.
As the former co-owner of a sports apparel marketing company, Brassard says he knows how critical it is to focus on supporting local businesses, their employees, products and services.
“We need to lift up everybody so they’re competitive not just here at home but around the world," he said.
Brassard, who will celebrate his 32nd wedding anniversary during the campaign, told BarrieToday he believes he has been a strong voice in Ottawa for the residents of Barrie and Innisfil since first being elected in 2015 — and especially over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March 2020, Brassard has spoken in the House of Commons 194 times on topics including emergency relief for individuals and small businesses, advocating for the airline industry and the travel and tourism sector, veterans’ issues, the need for rapid COVID-19 testing and improved federal pandemic supports; wrote 40 letters to 10 federal ministers, requesting the reinstatement of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, advocating for Barrie-Innisfil residents stranded abroad at the beginning of the pandemic, additional support for seniors and Canadian veterans, maternity leave benefits, emergency financial assistance for airlines, the motor coach and tour industry.
“If you look back over the last 18 months, I have been engaged and active as a Member of Parliament,” he said. “It’s been an extremely busy period for me, but looking forward, I love my job as a Member of Parliament, I love helping people and I am really hoping to continue on that as we move forward.
“There is a lot at stake. Not just economic recovery, but the cost of living is going up and people are finding it more expensive; wages are not going up in proportion to the cost of living. I look at the families of the people I represent as though those are my family… and what do I want to do and what do I need to do to ensure we are going to secure the future for not just this generation but future generations.”
The federal election will take place Sept. 20.