Five candidates now in the running for Perth Wellington

With at least five candidates running locally in this riding, a number of issues will be aired during the month-long federal election campaign.

Gary Schellenberger

Incumbent Conservative MP Gary Schellenberger contends the number one issue for Canadians is still the economy.

And it is something he wants to deal with sooner than later.

“I can hardly wait to get back to be able to pass the budget.”

He said a lot of people  do not believe another election is needed, “especially now,” with the way the current economy is. He added that many people simply believe the money could have been better spent.

Schellenberger was elected in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2008.

Through his previous municipal experience, Schellenberger believes he has a keen understanding of the needs of rural and small-town Ontario.

“I’m running a bit on my record,” he added.

He felt the people of Perth Wellington were well served by the results of Canada’s economic action plan.

He pointed out numerous water, sewage, and recreation projects that have taken place across the riding.

One of those projects was the Mount Forest sewage treatment plant, while a more recent one was the installation of an elevator at the Arthur community centre to make the upper hall more accessible.

He stressed the decision making process of how those funds were used, was done at the local level.

He did not believe the work of the government was complete in less than a full term.

“We’re still not finished and there’s more to be looked at.”

Farm issues will remain a priority as is the economy in general.

He said that while Canada has led the way in the world coming out of the recession, “sooner and stronger – but we’re not over the hump yet.”

Bob McTavish

Running for the Liberals is former Perth County Warden Bob McTavish.

He was acclaimed last month by the local riding association here.

McTavish has over two decades of experience, having been a municipal leader in Perth County and he has served on boards for the local school system, the Stratford General Hospital, and the Stratford Shakespearean Festival.

He served as reeve of North Easthope for nine years, and mayor of Perth East for six years, with a cumulative 19 years on Perth County council, including a year as warden.

McTavish has been reported being critical of the Conservative proposal to cut $250-million from Agriculture Canada’s Business Risk Management Fund and its effect on hog farmers.

The 78 year old Stratford resident wants to provide a strong alternative for local voters.

McTavish had strong hopes for the party, despite the area being a Conservative stronghold for the past three federal elections.

Ellen Papenburg

The coming federal election may seem to be coming up suddenly, but Ellen Papenburg has been waiting a year-and-a-half.

In a recent telephone interview with the Advertiser, Papenburg said she has been preparing for the election.

“I’ve been talking to people about the issues,” she said.

She said Perth-Wellington has a lot of farm communities “and I’m concerned about protecting family farms so that they can continue. Without our farmers, we are nowhere.”

Health care is also a priority to her.

While Drayton is fortunate to have its medical clinic and family health team, Papenburg said 20% of Canadians do not have proper access to health care.

She also stated recent years have seen numerous cuts to health care, and she would like see those restored.

She said the NDP want to see that change, so that all Canadians can have that access as well as reduced waiting times.

During World War II, her parents lived in Amsterdam during the occupation, and as a result, Papenburg sees the importance of democracy and the importance of farmland.

“I think democracy is now tarnished. Ethics have gone out the door with the previous government.”

Papenburg is a small business owner, a Unitarian Lay Chaplain, past-president of the Drayton Rotary Club, and an active member of the Drayton community, where she has lived for nearly 20 years with her husband and son.

She considers her involvement with the local Rotary Club a very big part of her volunteering in the community.

Papenburg said people seem to be afraid of the NDP raising taxes, “but raising taxes is not necessary if the budget process can be worked with.”

She, too, has concerns with the possibility of corporate taxes being reduced event further. Papenburg questioned how further corporate taxes can be made “when the average Joe is paying 32% when corporate taxes are 11% – it’s just not fair.”

John Cowling

John Cowling has run for the Green Party federally in the last three elections. His best showing so far was in the 2008 where he was the only candidate or party to increase the number of votes received over the 2006 election. 

Asked if he would do anything differently this time around, Cowling said, “This time we are going to focus on a ‘grown-up,’ 21st century-style campaign.”

Do not expect to see his signs.

“I represent a party that is opposed to unnecessary pollution and waste, so I don’t really want to cover the countryside in plastic that ends up in farmers’ fields,” Cowling said.

He and his team will concentrate on engaging in meaningful discussions with constituents using email, websites, and social media. 

 “I’m not going to say what I need to say to get elected. I’m just going to tell the truth about the challenges our country really faces right now and what I think are the most credible solutions to those challenges. To me, that’s democracy.”

Irma DeVries

It appears that Irma DeVries has signs out indicating that she is running under the Christian Heritage Party.

DeVries was in Stratford on Monday, registering as the CHP candidate.

The CHP is Canada’s only pro-life, pro-family federal political party, and the only federal party that endorses the principles of the Preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Canadian Constitution, which says: “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law …”

She’s happy to return to the stage to share CHP policy.

One of those policies is to provide $1,000 per month to a family to allow one parent to stay at home until children are 18. DeVries also believes the immigration system needs to be overhauled, and that there needs to be a moratorium  until it is resolved – especially towards those who use Sharia law.

Locally, she has concerns with wind energy. “When the wind is not blowing, then the turbines are not producing power.”

She was in Arthur recently, and saw only one of the five turbines moving – slowly.

DeVries said that while solar power might benefit farmers, “If the government has to subsidize it, then  it is not economical.”

She noted that she and her husband have operated a water turbine at their property, long before the phrase ‘green’ was trendy. “Back then, we called it being thrifty.”