The timing for the federal election Canadians are in the midst of and the reasoning behind it in the first place is murky, according to Jeremy Patzer, Conservative Party incumbent for the Cypress Hills – Grasslands riding.
“The timing is rather unfortunate and he (Liberal leader Justin Trudeau) has not been real clear on the reasoning for it. It’s purely a power grab for him,” said Patzer.
“We have all these crises going on -–wildfires, drought, Afghanistan and the threat of a fourth wave of COVID-19, but the Prime Minister wants to go to the polls, so we’re going to the polls and we’re ready for it.”
With opinion polls showing a neck-and-neck race after the first week in the campaign, Patzer is pleased with the progress being made so far and it began with the provincial election in Nova Scotia which saw the Progressive Conservative Party win a majority government on Aug. 17.
“We got a shot in the arm in Nova Scotia,” said Patzer.
The viability of rural Canada is paramount for Patzer, who is running for his second term, and he hopes to continue his work in pushing for the betterment of rural Canada.
Infrastructure projects such as high-speed rural Internet and underground infrastructure such as water and sewer lines need the partnerships between the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
Connectivity to high-speed Internet for all Canadians living in rural and remote areas is a firm commitment for the Conservative Party.
“This is something we have prioritized and to get it done more quickly and efficiently. We have a firm commitment to have this done by 2025. There have been breakthroughs in technology with things like Starlink satellite Internet and there needs to be greater fibre infrastructure,” said Patzer. “For me as a parliamentarian, there needs to be viability for rural Canada with infrastructure and investments in water, land, sewer.”
Patzer wants to see infrastructure dollars earmarked specifically for rural communities.
He points to the multi-billion dollar investment into Toronto area rapid transit projects. Early this year, the Trudeau government announced that more than $12 billion would be spent on five rapid transit projects in Toronto and Hamilton.
“That’s a lot of money being spent for a project that is used by very few people and it adds up,” he said, adding that rural communities need basic infrastructure such as sewer and water lines replaced and the federal government needs to partner with municipalities for these projects.
Rural communities are aging, so the infrastructure is aging at the same time. A lot of investment is being made by these municipalities for replacing the old infrastructure.
“People don’t want to move from their small communities because they aren’t getting the basics.”
Patzer noted that the drought that ravaged the prairies over the past few months has been devastating for producers and the federal government needs to act swiftly.
“The drought is at the top of the list. The producers are getting $100 a head from the province and the feds have to partner with the provinces through the AgriRecovery program. This should have happened already and not just with select provinces, but with all provinces.”
Health care issues have already been raised by the federal party leaders in the early weeks of the campaign and Patzer said there’s going to be “a lot of noise around health care”.
“We are committed to restoring to 6 percent (healthcare transfers) each year for 10 years to the provinces,” he added.
In addition, Patzer will continue to speak out against carbon tax, protect the natural resource industry, push for protections for victims of domestic abuse, and defend the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians.