Environment, economy, housing: New Tecumseth residents talk election priorities

New Tecumseth residents may have different priorities heading into the Sept. 20 federal election, but they can all agree that the next government has a lot of work to do.

While the pandemic continues to dominate the news and impact people’s lives on a daily basis, there are many other issues that Canadians want the federal government to focus on.

Simcoe.com asked New Tecumseth residents to tell us what they think the next federal government needs to prioritize over the next term in office.

Tottenham resident Laurie Neville, 66, said there are “so many important” issues impacting Canadians, from the environment, support for seniors, children and family, health care, and the economy.

Neville has long advocated for better drinking water for her community, so it comes as no surprise when she says the environment should be the dominant issue.

“We need clean air and water along with abundant farms and green spaces,” she said. “This election, I’m voting for the candidate who commits to clean water and a healthy environment — now and after the election — whether that candidate is elected or not.”

Carol Parks has called Beeton home for the past decade, and prior to this she lived in Adjala for nine years.

Affordable housing is at the top of her list.

“I own my house, so this is not about me,” she said. “My concern is for young people who want to strike out on their own and simply can’t do it. I have a family member who is working two jobs and still can’t afford to even rent an apartment on her own. I really think this needs to be addressed.”

She said one of the ways to address this is to make it easier for property owners to build alternative types of housing, like granny suites.

“Of course everything would have to be built to code, but cut a lot of the red tape involved,” she said.

Tottenham resident Nick Dougherty, 76, is a small-business owner who runs an automated window shading company.

He doesn’t think there is any way to justify an election right now.

“Trudeau seems to think that he can convince the voting public that his government’s handling of the pandemic needs to be rewarded by a majority. There are so many flaws in that premise, it’s mind boggling.”

Dougherty wants the next government to focus its attention on the economic recovery.

“I worry that millions of dollars are promised by all parties which would increase the debt and the deficit well beyond the current unprecedented level.”

He also wants to see Canada improve its relationship with China, and he thinks pension reform is long overdue.

“The elderly on fixed incomes are falling behind and it’s become intolerable,” he said. “It’s time to give reasonable increases to pensioners.”

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Simcoe.com wanted to find out what is motivating New Tecumseth residents to head to the polls for the Sept. 20 federal election.