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Local Conservative candidate eyes economy, healing divisions

'I’d like to think we can come together to chart a new chapter for the country,' says Simcoe North Conservative candidate Adam Chambers
2020-11-04 Adam Chambers
Adam Chambers. Photo supplied

Editor's Note: This is the second of five profiles of the five candidates running in Simcoe North in the Sept. 20 federal election. Click here to read the first profile, on NDP candidate Janet-Lynne Durnford.

A theme has been emerging during the early days of the federal election campaign as Adam Chambers has been knocking on doors.

“People are asking why we need an election at this point in time. That, so far, has been the No. 1 response,” said the Conservative candidate for Simcoe North. “That will shift, I think, as the campaign continues.”

The campaign began last week after Governor General Mary Simon dissolved Parliament at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s request.

“Personally, I think there are other things we can do with that kind of money at this point,” Chambers said of the hundreds of millions of dollars it will cost to hold the election, “but we’re ready to go here.”

He feels confident, thanks to the support of local volunteers and the fact Bruce Stanton — the current MP, who is not running for re-election — and Stanton’s wife, Heather, are chairing his campaign. Confidence does not mean overly comfortable about the outcome, however.

“The worst thing anyone could do is make an assumption about Simcoe North and it being a Conservative riding,” he said, noting Liberal Paul DeVillers was a “fantastic representative” during his time as MP and Liberal candidate Elisabeth Riley gave Stanton a run for his money in 2015.

“This is going to be a really interesting race,” Chambers said. “I don’t think anybody can take anything for granted in terms of people’s previous voting intentions because everything has shifted. The way people look at the world, even from the last election, may not be the way they look at it now.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed some people to re-evaluate their priorities when it comes to choosing a federal representative.

“The last couple of years have been tough on people. There is a growing frustration amongst individuals with how the last couple of years have gone, on both sides,” Chambers said.

That includes those who might be struggling with whether to vote for Conservative or People’s Party of Canada candidates.

Chambers isn’t concerning himself too much with that.

“I’m going to focus on the key things that are important to people here and, hopefully, that resonates, but to me, it’s how do we get the economy and jobs moving again?” he said. “We’ve got people without jobs and jobs without people. How do we mash those together? That’s got to be objective No. 1.”

The government needs to spend “efficiently,” he added. There was a clear need to help people through the pandemic, but now the focus needs to be on spending “smartly” for future generations, Chambers said.

On a local level, “jobs and the economy are important,” he said, as is “standing up for rural Canada, rural Ontario.”

Plenty of votes are cast in cities, but Chambers wants to ensure rural areas have a voice, too.

Protecting the environment “has to be a focus” at both the local and federal levels, he said, adding green energy and a carbon tax aren’t the only options.

“There are so many other things we can do to help the environment: land conservation, making sure clean waterways remain clean,” he said. “There isn’t just one thing that’s going to fix the environmental issue.”

Mental health support is another area that needs attention, especially at a time like this, said Chambers, who is on the board at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.

“More people are talking about it, which is great,” he said, noting mental health is among the top five points of the Conservative platform.

With Indigenous matters in the spotlight now more than ever, Chambers said he is committed to listening and wants people to take the time to learn.

“The current conversation around residential schools — I don’t recall that much discussion when I was in school and learning about the history of the country. That’s got to be part of it,” he said. “Listening is the most important thing. For those of us who have not gone through that generational trauma, listening has to be the top priority.”

Regardless of who wins the Simcoe North seat in Parliament, he said, the MP should be dedicated to working together with others for the betterment of the country at a difficult time.

“The country seems kind of divided. It’s east and west. It’s French and English. It’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” he said. “We, as a country, are in a pretty difficult predicament with COVID, but I’d like to think we can come together to chart a new chapter for the country.”

In the end, though, he feels his experience will work in his favour.

Chambers was executive assistant to the late Jim Flaherty, who was finance minister during the financial crisis in the late 2000s. That involved plenty of travel, allowing him to gain experience while learning about how governments around the world were responding.

“I learned from (Flaherty) about the importance of public service, fiscal responsibility,” he said.

He also feels his experience as a lawyer, and now in his work with financial advisers to help Canadians get virtual advice in this time, will position him well in the role of MP.

Ultimately, “we all want the same thing,” he said.

“We all want to leave our kids and the next generation a better place than we found it.”

The election will be held Sept. 20.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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