By Lyonel Doherty
An MP who was a long way from home helped local Conservative candidate Helena Konanz knock on doors in Oliver Wednesday.
Jamie Schmale, shadow minister for Northern Ontario, spent a couple of hours with Konanz talking to the locals about issues.
“Talking about how we are going to help people not just get by but start to get ahead,” Schmale said. “I think after four years of Liberals in Ottawa, people are feeling the pinch. They’re feeling the cost of living get more expensive and we’re here to talk about how we’re going to change that and ensure they have more money in their pocket to spend on themselves and their families.”
Schmale said a recurring theme that comes up during their door knocking is the economy. He noted that people aren’t feeling as relaxed as they used to feel.
“The fact that their paycheques aren’t going as far; people are quite concerned about that, and they’re noticing that they’re going to have to make cutbacks in their own lives.”
Schmale said people are looking at their affordability of life and realizing they are not where they think they should be.
The MP said the Conservatives are talking about how they are going to lower taxes; giving people more money in their pockets. But also how government needs to live within its own means to ensure fiscal security.
“We don’t want to put more burden on our children and grandchildren on the bills we’re racking up today.”
Schmale said the cost of fuel and groceries in BC is rising, but the same can’t be said about people’s paycheques.
He stated that people are seeing the increased burden of taxes, watching more of their money going to government instead of themselves.
“This is not a provincial issue, this is a national issue and people are very concerned.”
The MP said crime is another concern that he has been hearing about; the fact that criminals aren’t, in some cases, doing the time they should for serious crimes.
“We (the Conservatives) want to change that.”
For example, the MP wants to ensure that repeat violent offenders and those using weapons in the commission of a crime are serving the sentences they should and “not getting out early or creating a revolving door which demoralizes our police services.”
Konanz said she has also been hearing a lot of concerns about the cost of living. For example, some people are worried about how (or if) they will be able to send their children to hockey this year.
“What are they going to have to give up in order to do that?”
The other thing she is hearing from people is they are ready for an election and ready to change government.
Konanz said the older population are concerned about the revolving door that criminals are using to escape justice.
“The true criminals, the bad guys, they need to stay in prison.”
But the candidate said help is needed for people suffering from addiction and mental health problems.
“They need to be separated from the people that are just not very good people.”
Konanz acknowledged the concern that many constituents are feeling regarding old age security and whether it will be there when they need it.
She is also hearing worry about the government spending so much money.
“We got to make sure that we don’t get any deeper into debt than the $100 billion deficit that Trudeau has put us in just in the last four years.”
Konanz said by being responsible with money the Conservatives can make sure that programs like old age security are kept solid and proteted.