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Off to Ottawa: Brassard eyes co-operation, Shipley looks to 'just get this started'

City's two Conservative MPs say they're ready to get started; Parliament reconvenes on Thursday in Ottawa

As the 43rd Parliament gets ready to start this week, the two local representatives are preparing for a new beginning for their Conservative Party and themselves.

John Brassard was sworn in as the Member of Parliament for Barrie-Innisfil last Friday at a ceremony in Ottawa. His Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM) counterpart, Doug Shipley, was sworn in the week before on Friday, Nov. 22 as he prepares for his rookie term in the federal position.

BarrieToday spoke to Shipley about the upcoming session of Parliament, which gets underway Thursday, and asked what he expected in his first foray into the MP's role.

“I’m expecting a bit of a learning curve, for sure. This is new territory for me,” admitted Shipley. “However, I have great staff here in Barrie and out in Ottawa who I know will make my transition easier."

Shipley served on Barrie city council as the Ward 3 representative for nine years and stepped down immediately after winning the Oct. 21 federal election. It was announced at the Nov. 25 city council meeting that a byelection will be held to fill the position early in the new year.

Despite having been in politics for many years, Shipley will be entering a new and unfamiliar phase.

BarrieToday asked the BSOM representative if he was nervous about what lies ahead.

“I was more nervous at my first city council swearing-in than I was for this position,” Shipley said. “I’m not nervous now at all, but I think when the day comes that I’m in my seat, I will look around and realize how real it all is at the moment. I don’t know if it will be more nervous or excited.

“I do know that I just want to get going; let's just get this started," he added. 

Brassard also spent nine years on city council, representing Ward 7, but stepped down in 2015 when he won the Barrie-Innisfil MP's post.

After serving four years in the MP's role, Brassard, who was re-elected in the recent federal election, told BarrieToday what he expects during this term.

“We’re in for a much different dynamic with this minority federal government than we were during their last four years of majority,” Brassard said. “I expect a lot more co-operation and partnership.”

Both Shipley and Brassard said voters were very clear that they were growing tired of what Shipley called “nasty politics.”

Brassard said he's going into his first minority government-led Parliament with high optimism.

“I plan on walking into Parliament making sure we all listen to each other and get along with each other, because I don’t believe it has ever been more crucial,” he said. “We have so many major issues that will only be dealt with properly if we co-operate.

“Canada has been punching above their weight the last few years on several issues and I would really like to have a national conversation on them," added Brassard, who was recently re-appointed as Deputy Opposition Whip for the Conservatives.

Household debt and environmental issues were high on the list of his constituents' concerns when Brassard was campaigning.

Brassard told BarrieToday he will pressure the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep their promise to financially support programs that help with the health of Lake Simcoe.

“We are completely committed to ensuring the health and future of our very important Lake Simcoe,” Brassard said. “During her visit to Barrie in October, Chrystia Freeland (who was recently named Deputy Prime Minister) and the Liberal government committed to protecting Lake Simcoe by investing $40 million over four years towards its clean-up, and we intend to make sure that promise is kept.”

Parliament resumes Thursday, Dec. 5 at 9 a.m. with the first order of the business being to elect a Speaker of the House.

One of the candidates for Speaker of the House will be Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton.

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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