Editor’s note: The six candidates vying to be your Delta representative in Ottawa were provided with six questions from the Optimist and if they liked, could also provide introductory comments or a biography.
Garry Shearer is running to be the Member of Parliament for Delta to continue his long-standing record of service to the community, which includes positions as the Executive Director of the Delta Chamber of Commerce and past-president of the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen and Delta Hospice Society. Garry and his wife Colleen have deep ties to Delta, having lived and raised a family here since 1982. Garry is a tireless advocate for Delta’s communities and understands the needs of families and small businesses in Delta.
Q1: What is your position on the recently announced Massey Tunnel replacement project? Do you like the plans? Not like the plans?
A: Delta commuters are desperate for a replacement to the aging and seismically unsafe Massey Tunnel. The recently announced tunnel replacement project does not currently have any dedicated funding from the federal government. The Liberals have had six years to show leadership and invest national dollars in this project and have failed to do so, despite having the Member of Parliament for Delta sitting at the Cabinet Table for the entire span of the Justin Trudeau government. For years, Canada’s Conservatives have called for the replacement of the Massey Tunnel, but that call has fallen on deaf ears. A Conservative government will immediately move to get shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure projects to create jobs and get the economy moving, and that includes replacing the George Massey Tunnel.
Q2: What is your position on the Terminal 2 project for Roberts Bank?
A: British Columbia is the gateway to the Asia-Pacific region. The forecasts are clear that we will need additional shipping capacity in the next two decades in order to deliver the goods and services that Canadians need. However, we need to do this the right way. There are currently two proposals for expansion at the Port of Vancouver. Both proposals should be reviewed thoroughly and undergo complete federal environmental assessments. It is then up to the federal government to show leadership and make a decision on the future of the Port in light of local community and environmental implications.
Q3: Recently, South Delta has experienced several incidents of vandalism of the Pride flag at Ladner United Church. If elected, what will you do to help spread a message of diversity and inclusivity in Delta?
A: Everyone should feel welcome and safe in our community. The acts of hatred that have taken place at Ladner United Church are sickening and completely unacceptable. As an MP, I will represent everyone in my riding regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. We must do more as allies to support the LGBTQ2+ community here in Delta and across Canada. During two election campaigns and over six years, the Trudeau Liberals have promised to end the homophobic and discriminatory gay blood ban but have refused to follow through. Canada’s Conservatives will continue to stand up for the equal rights of LGBTQ2+ Canadians and put pressure to end this homophobic and discriminatory policy.
Q4: Affordable housing continues to be a major issue in Delta. If elected, how will you help to work with other levels of government to improve affordable housing in the community?
A: It’s clear that we’re in a housing crisis. Under Justin Trudeau, housing has become increasingly more expensive and out of reach for the next generation of home buyers. We are not building enough homes to keep up with Canada’s growing population, which is a big part of why homes are harder and harder for Canadians to afford. Foreign money is flowing into Canada’s housing market. Some of it is being funded through money laundering and the proceeds of crime, demonstrated by the ongoing provincial inquiry. In other cases, foreign investors are sitting on investments and leaving homes empty. This drives up prices, putting homeownership out of reach for more and more Canadians.
We have a plan to build one million homes in the next three years, incentivize new housing near public transit, ban foreign investors from buying homes without intention to move to Canada, and address unfair and corrupt practices that have driven up prices.
Q5: Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic response has been handled well here in Canada?
When COVID-19 hit, the Liberal government wasn’t ready. Caught unprepared, they made bad decisions that cost lives and crippled our economy. We must never again be caught as unprepared as we were when COVID-19 hit last year. Canada’s Conservatives will make Canada more resilient, reduce our reliance on foreign countries like China, and take seriously our responsibility to protect the health of Canadians. Canada’s Conservatives will ensure Canada is ready to face future pandemics, including the elevated risk of bioterrorism threats through the production of novel pathogens. Our goal is simple: be prepared and take rapid action so that we protect the health of Canadians while avoiding long-term impacts on the economy and mental health.
Vaccines are the most important tool in the fight against COVID-19. I encourage every Canadian who is able to get one.
Q6: If elected, how will you help small businesses in Delta as they rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Delta’s small businesses are the heart of our community. Conservatives will help rebuild Main Streets across Canada and give small businesses the support they need to get back on their feet by launching the Rebuild Main Street Tax Credit. This will provide a 25% tax credit on amounts of up to $100,000 that Canadians personally invest in a small business over the next two years. The existing $60,000 Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan is too small for thousands of small and medium businesses. That’s why we will also launch a new Main Street Business Loan to provide loans of up to $200,000.
We will also provide a Canada Investment Accelerator refundable tax credit for small business, which will provide a 5% investment tax credit for any capital investment made in 2022 and 2023.