A campaign in COVID times is drawing to a close.
Voters in Nanaimo-Ladysmith and across Canada have only a few days left to make their final decisions before they mark their ballot on election day, Sept. 20.
For the five people running for MP in the riding, it will be a busy final few days. There’s an all-candidates’ forum Wednesday, Sept. 15, and they will then concentrate on making their colours seen and their messages heard.
For Michelle Corfield, Liberal Party candidate, the final week will be about continuing the conversation that was central to the election call – COVID-19 recovery.
“This is one of the most important elections we will see in our lifetimes as we’re coming out of COVID and trying to rebuild our economy and our country and create that safety that we all need,” she said.
Corfield said the Liberals have a full, costed plan to align COVID-19 recovery with other overlapping priorities such as health care and mental health, affordable housing and climate targets. She said she’ll continue to try to engage with voters “in a very safe manner,” mostly via phone and e-mail, and wants to talk about local issues such as the Liberals’ old-growth forest protection plan and potential health-care investment.
Tamara Kronis, Conservative Party candidate, is also finding that voters seem to be concerned with COVID-19 recovery and she said they’re clamouring for change.
“What we’re seeing at the doors is people really want to get rid of Justin Trudeau and what we’re hearing over and over again is that they’re excited about our economic recovery plan,” she said, adding that even people who haven’t traditionally voted Conservative like what they see in the platform.
Kronis said she’s tried to run her campaign like she would a constituency office, talking and listening. She said she keeps hearing how hard the last couple of years have been for people.
“I’m hearing about people’s personal mental health struggles, the struggles that they’ve had in their families and the fear and anxiety that they feel when they see prices going up at the grocery store and up at the gas pump and they see the spending that is continuing to come out of Ottawa,” she said. “We have to get that under control.”
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) September 8, 2021
Lisa Marie Barron of the NDP said over the final week of the campaign, she will be talking about affordability and social support and ways New Democrats would try to make things better for “everyday people.”
The NDP’s approach to mental health and addictions, she said, is something that she wants to continue to communicate because she said it’s “interconnected” with issues like pharmacare, affordable housing and general affordability that impact the safety and health for individuals and the greater community.
“I bring with me that on-the-ground experience that is different than the other candidates, working in addictions…” she said. “Part of the reason why I’ve decided to run for the NDP is to be able to run for a party that understands the impact of lifting us all up so no one’s left behind.”
Barron said she’ll be door-knocking and making phone calls and her campaign team will be helping with that effort, encouraging people and educating them on how to vote.
“I’m trying to share with people that there are safety protocols in place … I just want to make sure that people feel confident getting out to have their vote count,” she said.
Paul Manly, Green Party incumbent, said climate change is the issue he most wants to talk about during the final week of the campaign. He said the Greens “have the only credible plan” to meet emissions targets and criticized Canada’s emissions accountability act as a “weak piece of legislation,” noting that every election is already a chance for climate action accountability.
“If we don’t work towards those targets and we don’t pull together on this planet, then the economic cost is going to be massive as we’ve seen with the fires and the floods, and the death and the destruction that we’re facing,” he said.
He also hopes to debate housing with other candidates, as he said other parties’ pledges to build affordable housing can’t keep pace in “competing with predatory investors,” and more systemic changes are required.
Manly said he’s got a series of campaign events scheduled for this week, and he will also continue to reveal endorsements from community and climate leaders.
Stephen Welton, People’s Party of Canada candidate, said part of him wishes he could focus more on issues like fiscal responsibility, immigration and climate change, but said COVID-19 response has to be the primary talking point. The PPC is opposed to the vaccine passport system that provinces are introducing.
“To our minds, values and principles, this is a violation of rights and freedoms,” he said.
Welton is also interested in talking about the PPC’s environmental platform, he said, as he thinks “layer after layer” of carbon taxes are making life more unaffordable.
“We are less about this fear of the world ending and we’re more about practical changes that don’t kill our economy…” Welton said. “A lot of our inflationary pressures are in the carbon tax – the cost to heat our homes, the cost to drive our cars.”
Welton said he and his campaign team will try to be visible over the final days of the campaign and, like every party, will be encouraging people to go and vote.
“We want our democracy to work and it works better if people get engaged and make an informed choice,” he said.
Voter information cards with addresses of voting places were mailed out in recent weeks. For more information about where, when, and how to vote, visit www.elections.ca.