Catching up with Barrie-Innisfil candidates ahead of the 2019 federal election

Leading up to the federal election on Oct. 21, candidates in Barrie-Innisfil have been campaigning by knocking on doors, attending events and making phone calls.

The riding, which encompasses south Barrie and Innisfil, formed in 2015.

Global News caught up with the area’s candidates to see how their campaigns are progressing and what they’re hearing from residents.

John Brassard, Barrie-Innisfil’s Conservative Party candidate

Brassard is the incumbent of the Barrie-Innisfil riding and has previously served on Barrie city council.

The Conservative candidate told Global News that’s he’s been knocking on doors for the upcoming election since May but that he’s been door-knocking every summer since he became a city councillor in 2006.

“I don’t want to be one of these politicians that just come around at election time,” Brassard said.


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At the door, Brassard said he’s finding the issue of affordability is top of mind for people.

“People feel like they’re just getting by, that they’re not necessarily getting ahead.”

The candidate said cutting the carbon tax, removing the GST and HST off home heating bills and a universal tax cut will help families save money.

The environment, Brassard said, is another issue that is important to residents.


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“The crown jewel that is Lake Simcoe and making sure that it’s clean and it’s sustainable and it’s viable for generations to come – that’s top of mind, particularly for a lot of people at the local level.”

Brassard said his party would reinstate the Lake Simcoe cleanup fund, and on a federal level, would implement Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer’s “Real Plan” to protect the environment.

“From our standpoint, our focus is going to be on improving technology, making sure that Canada becomes a world leader in green tech and green energy, and providing the type of incentives that we need in order to do that.”

Lisa-Marie Wilson, Barrie-Innisfil’s Liberal Party candidate

Wilson is a trustee of the Simcoe County District School Board. The Liberal candidate said she’s been knocking on doors in the riding since the beginning of September.

Wilson said the focus of her campaign is to “inform voters” about what “Liberals speak for and value.”

“There’s a lot of things that end up happening in these campaigns that deflect from the real issues,” she said. “I don’t think that’s a good approach.”


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The candidate said she’s heard a lot from residents about housing affordability and the environment.

“ have a national housing strategy, which is a blueprint for reducing homelessness by 50 per cent,” Wilson said.

When it comes to fighting climate change, she noted how a Liberal government would put a price on pollution.


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“We have a number of goals,” the candidate said. “So, a net-zero emissions by 2050 … This is where there’ll be no carbon emissions or where emissions are completely offset by other actions that remove carbon from the atmosphere.”

According to Wilson, residents also have concerns regarding education. She said a Liberal government would provide full- and part-time students with up to $1,200 more per year through increased Canada student grants.

“We’re going to give students two years after graduation to get started in their career before they even need to begin paying off their student loans, interest free,” Wilson added.

Pekka Reinio, Barrie-Innisfil’s NDP candidate

Reinio is a school teacher and community advocate.  He said he started doing some light door-knocking in August but began campaigning more heavily in September.

“In this riding, for me, it seems like there’s two main priorities,” Reinio told Global News. “The two main ones would be housing and climate change.”

Housing can be broken up into two categories: renting and buying, the candidate said.

“If people are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent, we are looking at providing those renters with a subsidy of up to $5,000 per year to help them cover those extra costs that they incurred.”


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An NDP government would also implement a foreign buyers tax for individuals who live out of the country and own investment properties in Canada, Reinio said.

“ will lead to more supply for us, more opportunities for us to buy homes rather than foreign investors,” Reinio added.

When it comes to tackling climate change, the candidate said the NDP would stop all subsidies to fossil fuel investments.


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“We would be investing in the renewable industry, and so that would help us move over to more renewable energy sources.”

In order to help pay for programs and services, Reinio said the NDP will impose a wealth tax.

“That’s one per cent tax on people who have over $20 million in assets. That would generate money that we can use to run our programs.”

Bonnie North, Barrie-Innisfil’s Green Party candidate

North is a community activist and small business owner, who also serves as a deputy leader for the Green Party of Ontario.

She said she’s been lightly campaigning since about May and June but that she started canvassing more heavily in July.

“It doesn’t even matter, in a way, to me, what our vote totals are this election,” North said.

“What matters to me is knowing that Greens are inspiring ourselves and are being inspired to get out there and make a difference.”


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North said the issue of housing affordability is huge within the riding.

“We want to have a national housing strategy,” she said. “We want to appoint a minister of housing, and that minister would strengthen the national housing strategy to meet the needs for affordable housing that are unique to each province.”

In addition, North added, the Greens want to legislate housing as a human right.


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In addition to housing, North said she’s heard a lot about the opioid crisis in the region. “Barrie is proof that we’re not doing enough.”

North said the federal Greens would improve access to mental health and addiction services to help combat the opioid crisis. She also noted that the Greens want to decriminalize substance use.

“We do not believe that addictions are a criminal problem. We believe they’re a healthcare problem,” the candidate said. “We want to deal with it from that lens.”

Stephanie Robinson, Barrie-Innisfil’s People’s Party candidate

As Barrie-Innisfil’s People Party candidate, Robinson told Global News she started talking to people in June but that she started campaigning more heavily after the writ dropped in September.

Robinson said many people have been speaking to her about their day-to-day concerns and expenses, like paying taxes.

“I’m able to say, ‘If you make under $15,000, you won’t pay any income tax,'” she said. “If you make between $15,000 and $100,000, your rate will be dropped.”


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Robinson noted that the People’s Party would also eliminate the carbon tax, the capital gains tax and supply management. By getting rid of supply management, Robinson said, Canadians’ grocery bills would be reduced.

“I’m also hearing, ‘What about our nation’s debt? Why are we buying and paying for things basically on our grandchildren’s credit card?'”

The People’s Party, Robinson said, would balance the federal budget within two years.


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“Maxime Bernier is an amazing financial man. He really is,” the candidate said.

“He knows all the ins and outs of that. I don’t understand all of that. I don’t profess to understand it all, but I do know, from a personal standpoint, if you have ‘x’ number of dollars to work with, and you start and cut back on what is being sent out, then you can balance the budget.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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