INNISFAIL - Earl Dreeshen is back in the Red Deer–Mountain View riding campaigning and convinced Canada’s Recovery Plan is the right tonic to get the country back on track on all fronts.
The massive 160-page recovery plan, calling for billions of dollars in new spending to lift Canada out of the pandemic while creating new jobs and getting government spending under control, was unveiled by the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) on Aug. 16, one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dropped the writ for an election on Sept. 20.
CPC leader Erin O’Toole promised the federal budget would be balanced “over the next decade” and that unsustainable debt can not be passed on to future generations.
Dreeshen, who is seeking his fifth consecutive riding victory since 2008, conceded the CPC plan will take time to “transition” out of the current massive COVID-era federal debt.
“It’s not going to be easy,” said Dreeshen. “But in our platform, we never said it was going to be easy. There’s a lot of work that is going to be required. But the only way we’re going to manage is to get our economy running on eight cylinders again, and right now we are unfortunately sputtering.
“There have been so many roadblocks that have been put up in this last six years and certainly in this last two years, so we have to find ways to use the taxpayers’ money wisely,” he added.
The plan outlines four new incentives directed at the business community, including the creation of the Canada Job Surge Plan. This would pay up to 50 per cent of the salary of new employees for six months following the phasing out of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
There is also Canada Investment Accelerator, Rebuild Main Street Tax Credit and Main Street Business Loan business incentives designed with tax credits and loans to help small and median sized businesses, which the CPC insists will create jobs.
Dreeshen also said the country must now focus on health care, especially mental health, noting many Canadians are drained from the prolonged stress of the pandemic.
“They are saying, ‘we made it through but we’ve seen the stress that has been on either our parents or on our children and there’s been a lot more damage happened here than many people are aware of,” said Dreeshen, adding he has been double vaccinated against COVID-19 virus and that most Canadians have done the same.
“And businesses are trying to find that way of finding a new normal,” he added. “One of the frustrations they have is to get people to work for them because there are many people still getting paid to not work.
“And that is frustrating because lots of businesses would love to give back, and now that they can have people back, but they just don’t have folks who can keep them fully staffed.”
Neither the Liberals or the NDP have yet to announce a riding candidate. However, the Maverick Party, formerly known as Wexit Canada, has chosen Mark Wilcox, an airline pilot from Carstairs. Wilcox says the party’s goal is to obtain a stronger voice for the West, the way the Bloc Quebecois does for Quebec.
Dreeshen said he is not looking at other party platforms, including the Maverick Party. However, no matter what form of separatism the Maverick Party is selling, Dreeshen is emphatically marching on as a proud Canadian.
“It’s (separatism) not something we should be looking at,” said Dreeshen. “I’m a strong Albertan but I believe that we have a fantastic country and I’m not prepared to give up on it.”