What will you do specifically for rural communities?
We will create jobs across rural Canada by: connecting rural areas to high-speed Internet by 2025; emphasizing tourism to rural areas; appointing a Minister of Rural Affairs; and ensuring the sale of a farm to a family member is not taxed at a higher rate than a sale to a stranger. I will maintain an office in 100 Mile House and will publicly visit rural communities twice annually for public consultation in addition to meeting with constituents as needed.
How do you plan to prepare our rural communities for future wildfires, flooding and other natural disasters?
I met with residents of Monte Lake and saw the destruction of recent wildfires. If elected, I will fight for federal funds to rebuild. A Conservative government will invest in remote sensing and technology to improve early detection of wildfires and better predict fire behaviour. I will discuss with provincial and municipal counterparts how we can proactively respond to threats of flooding, fires and other disasters and take these responses to caucus.
How will you address issues with childcare in rural areas?
We will convert the Child Care Expense deduction into a refundable tax credit covering up to 75 per cent of child care costs for lower-income families.
What do you intend to do to get people back to work during and after COVID-19?
The Canada Recovery Plan aims to get people immediately back to work. Our Rebuild Main Street Plan aims to revitalize a community’s core by encouraging people to invest in businesses through interest-free loans. These loans will be eligible to be forgiven up to 25 per cent. Once the Canada Emergency Wage subsidy ends, we will introduce the Canada Job Surge Plan to get Canadians back working. An O’Toole government will pay at least 25 per cent, and up to 50 per cent, of the salary of new hires for six months after CEWS expires.
What commitments will you make to addressing climate change locally and nationwide?
Our Carbon Savings Account plan will put money back in citizens’ hands so they can choose how to lower their carbon footprint rather than the government taking carbon tax revenues into general revenue and spending as it wishes. This means people will be encouraged to “go green” while offering a choice as to how to best invest in low-carbon technologies.
How will you address Truth and Reconciliation with First Nations?
This issue is close to my heart. I have extended family members who are Indigenous. My daughter’s name came from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc traditional territory. I have met with Indigenous Elders in the past few months. They detail a history in which the needs of Indigenous people have not been heard. A Conservative government is committed to addressing issues that have affected Canada’s Indigenous population, including: lack of investment opportunities; over-incarceration; and high suicide rates. If elected, I would want to meet with each Kúkpi7 (chief) in our riding within my first 90 days of the election and twice per year while in office. Conservatives have called for a swift timeline and funding to deliver on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action 71 to 76 involving missing children and provide healing for families.
In the North Thompson, what are your plans regarding bringing natural gas into the corridor?
I recently talked with Barrière residents about this issue. I will take a two-pronged approach. Utility companies said that there is an insufficient customer base to justify natural gas and high-speed internet. We must create market conditions to create prosperity in the rural areas, which our plan does.
Second, I will ascertain the costs, impediments and issues relating to natural gas in the area. If the issue is one of funding, I will seek federal money to bridge the amount between what the provider is prepared to pay and the amount to be generated by customers.