Editor's note: BarrieToday has been profiling federal candidates in the Barrie-Innisfil and Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte ridings. Today we feature Tanya Saari, the Liberal candidate in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. For more coverage of the upcoming federal election, visit our Canada Votes 2021 page.
Tanya Saari hopes to bring a new perspective to the riding of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM) in the upcoming federal election.
A well-known and self-employed realtor in the Barrie area, Saari grew up in Port Elgin and after stints living on both the east and west coasts of Canada. She settled in the city with her husband and three children more than 16 years ago.
Saari, who began her professional career at CIBC, owned and operated her own business and currently works as a realtor. She says she has always enjoyed helping others and has served as an active volunteer with various local organizations, including Redwood Park Communities, the Alzheimer’s Society, and the Rotary Club of Barrie.
Although the 2021 federal election will be Saari’s first time running federally for the Liberal Party, she says she's not a total newbie when it comes to running for office. In 2018, Saari ran in Ward 3 for a seat on Barrie city council and again in the byelection in October 2019. She officially announced her bid for MP in June.
Saari tells BarrieToday the Liberal Party has always been a party she has supported.
“I just resonate with their morals and their values and I believe in them. That solidified (the decision to run) for me was how well (the Liberal Party) handled the pandemic on a federal level with vaccine procurement and financial aid for Canadians and businesses,” she said.
Saari says that was enough for her to agree to throw her hat in the ring and run as the Liberal representative for Barrie-Springwater-Oro Medonte (BSOM).
In the 2019 federal election, the BSOM Liberals received 16,805 votes — or 31.2 per cent of the votes cast — leaving them around 4,000 votes shy of the win.
Saari, who was acclaimed as the nominee by the national party and the Liberal Party executive, says she believes the riding needs an active representative who is going to address some of the main issues that she has been hearing from potential constituents while she has been out knocking on doors.
“Affordable housing is a huge crisis that we are having right now,” she said, adding the opioid crisis is another big issue that desperately needs to be addressed. “We need to pay some attention to that on a federal level, even though it is more of a municipal and provincial thing. All three levels of government need to work together to make some changes there.”
Also of particular interest to residents in BSOM riding, Saari says, are the environment — particularly protecting Lake Simcoe — and global warming; building a stronger, better and more inclusive economy after the pandemic; and protecting and improving social infrastructure from child care to support for seniors.
“There are some pretty hardcore local issues we need to address and I think working together federally with the government that is in power will mean that more can be done," she said.
Saari described herself as a “hard worker” and a “community-driven individual," both of which she believes will suit her well should she be selected to represent the BSOM riding in Ottawa.
“If you’d asked me five years ago if I would be standing in front of you as a federal Liberal candidate, I would have thought that was absolutely out of the realm for me,” she said. “But, I just believe so strongly in the party and the changes that I can bring forward because I am driven to make change, that I can do the job.”
The federal election will take place Sept. 20.