By Mark Squibb/August 26, 2021
Conservative Avalon candidate Matthew Chapman says a vote for Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives is a vote for the prosperity of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The big thing I think that people need to understand is that the only federal party that shares the priority of what this district and province needs is the Conservative Party,” said Chapman.
Creating good paying jobs, increasing wages, and getting the economy back on track form the core of the party’s platform, called Canada’s Recovery Plan, explained Chapman.
“Our platform was released very early,” he said. “It was released on the second day of the campaign. That is highly unusual. But it is a very substantial document. And that’s what’s going to get Canada back on the right track. Especially for Newfoundland and Labrador, there’s a lot of great policies in there for this province, especially around 1.5 billion dollars for Newfoundland’s offshore. There’s going to be financial incentive to help back investments. There’s the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs, upward of a hundred billion dollars in revenue in this province over the next 25 years. It solves a lot of problems that we’re currently facing today.”
Offshore oil and gas, Chapman reiterated, is key to that prosperity — a key that he says the Liberals have thrown out the window.
Chapman said there was a vote at the end of May on an Opposition Bill to posit that replacing oil and gas with more environmentally sustainable options is not technologically or economically feasible, and that Canada’s oil and gas industry from Western to Atlantic Canada is essential to the well-being of the nation and should be celebrated. “Not a single Newfoundland and Labrador MP voted to support that,” said Chapman. “The MP for Avalon did not show up for the vote. We need people who are here to represent this district. We don’t need voices for Ottawa in Avalon, we need people from Avalon voting for us in Ottawa. And that’s what I’m promising to the people of this district.”
Chapman ran in the 2019 election, earning 31 percent of votes against MP Ken McDonald’s 46 percent. McDonald, meanwhile, is campaigning to win the seat for the Liberals for a third term. But Chapman maintained people are ready for change.
“I’m hearing a very strong desire for change,” he said. “The sad part is that people desire change because there are a lot of people hurting. There’s a lot of people leaving this province. Our population is declining. I talk at doors with people, and everybody has a story of either a family member or a friend or a former co-worker, or even themselves, who are looking at leaving. And it’s because we don’t have enough good paying jobs here. The cost of living is soaring, and with the province in the debt situation that we’re in, it paints a very bleak future. Those are the reasons people are looking for change, and Conservatives are going to deliver that change.”
Even before Trudeau called the snap election earlier this August, Chapman said folks were gearing up for a potential election.
“You’ll probably notice that we have very few signs on public property, because we had over 500 lawn sign requests before the writ dropped,” said Chapman. “Since the writ dropped, we’ve had dozens of more requests coming in. People are very enthusiastic about Conservatives right now. They are looking for that change.”
The timing of Trudeau’s election call has been challenged by each major party.
“It’s questionable to say the least,” said Chapman. “We are on the verge of a fourth wave, and there are wildfires out west. But that was the Primes Minister’s prerogative, and we can’t really complain about it. It is what it is, and we’re ready to run a very successful campaign.”
And of course, with parties, come party leaders.
Erin O’Toole was elected as leader of the party in 2020 following former leader Andrew Scheer’s resignation in 2019.
Chapman said Toole is just the leader to replace Liberal Justin Trudeau.
“I think the current leadership we have right now is probably some of the most divisive leadership this country has ever seen,” said Chapman. “Erin O’Toole is looking to be prime minster for all Canadians. It doesn’t matter your age, religion, colour, gender, sexual orientation. He’s looking for everyone in this province to have a prosperous life. He’s not a celebrity. He often makes the joke that his birth wasn’t on the cover of Macleans magazine. He was raised in a middle-class family in a middle-class neighborhood. He’s in touch with regular people. He understands the struggles people are facing. And I think that’s evident as you look through Canada’s Recovery Plan. It’s a real plan to help real people.”
The election will be held September 20.