Editor's note: BarrieToday is providing our readers with profiles on the federal candidates in the Barrie-Innisfil and the Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte ridings. Today we feature Doug Shipley, the Conservative candidate in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. For more coverage of the upcoming federal election, visit our Canada Votes 2021 page.
Doug Shipley is heading into the 2021 federal election with a lot of experience under his belt and hopes that will help lead him to a second term as the riding's Member of Parliament.
Shipley has been the MP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM) since winning the seat in the last federal election on Oct. 21, 2019.
The 55-year-old husband and father of two has lived in the riding for more than 25 years and was a member of city council for three terms, representing Ward 3.
Shipley says he will be taking all he has learned into the next month as the campaign shifts into high gear.
“What I'm taking into this election is a better appreciation of the federal level of politics," he told BarrieToday. "There's a tremendous amount I've learned over the last couple years, but one of the most important is that experience matters. Knowing the way Parliament works is extremely beneficial to doing the job.”
Shipley admits federal politics has become “quite polarized,” with it feeling more combative than ever before.
“It just really seems like us against them and them against us, and a lot of that working together is gone. I’m disappointed in that,” he said. “I’ve always been there to serve my community and I don’t care if you’re Liberal, NDP or who you vote for, I’ll serve everybody. I did that on council and I’ll continue to do that.”
On Aug. 15, Prime Minister Justin Trueau visited Rideau Hall to ask Governor General Mary Simon to dissolve the minority government, setting the stage for a federal election on Sept. 20.
Shipley believes this election will be one of anger and resentment from Canadians and he is already seeing that on the campaign trail.
“I am definitely hearing at the doors that people are angry, frustrated and, quite frankly, almost hurt that an election was called during this pandemic," he said. "We have so many other things we could be working on, but now we just have to get to work and try to win this election.”
In a time when gloom and doom seem to be the way many Canadians are feeling, Shipley says that isn’t how he thinks.
“I’m always trying to be an optimistic guy, that's my personality. Sure, we may have down days, but that happens to everyone and I try to instill that positive attitude to my kids as well,” Shipley said. “I believe we’re going to get through this pandemic and I do believe there are better days ahead.”
Shipley continued by saying he knows some people want a sense of normalcy, and he feels the same way.
“I miss my old life. I miss shaking hands and seeing the smiles on people’s faces when you greet them,” he said. “Not even just at campaign time, but at the grocery store and walking down the street. I just want to get out of this pandemic and back to seeing people and interacting.”
The uncertainty of the pandemic has also made Shipley look at life differently, and he believes many Canadians are doing the same thing.
“It's an old saying: you never know what tomorrow is going to bring,” he said. “People are concerned about their futures and I think we all see that life is a fragile thing. This last year and a half has really shown that.”