EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series on the Federal Candidates in Sarnia-Lambton and Lambton-Kent-Middlesex ridings
Bria Atkins has never been involved in politics and she thinks that may be one of her greatest strengths as she runs for the new People’s Party of Canada.
Atkins was born and raised in Wallaceburg and now makes her home in Dresden with her husband and two children. The family runs a hunting and fishing equipment store and a commercial beekeeping operation.
And she says, aside from voting, she has never been involved in politics in her 37 years.
But the PPC – founded a year ago by former Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier – caught her attention.
“I have had a growing concern with the government and the direction we are going and some of the things I’ve seen happen. I feel very concerned about the future of Canada and the future of my children.
“ I want to preserve the freedom of our country.”
Atkin believes one of the biggest issues is taxation. “Our income tax consistently increases…and it seems to be whether the blues or the reds are in power, we see more and more of our income slipping away.
“I am for personal responsibilty, individual liberty and individual prosperity.”
The PPC, she says would end “corporate bailouts” like the Liberals gave to General Motors.
“I don’t see the fairness of taxing a small business to give it to a bigger business.”
She adds often, like GM, the corporations don’t pay back the money and leave the country anyway.
Bernier, she says, favours breaking up larger companies and allowing smaller companies the opportunity to compete in the marketplace instead of providing federal support.
The PPC, she says, would also defund the CBC – the nation’s public broadcaster – saying it should rely on donations, similar to America’s public broadcaster. “That way it would be wilful donations and it would also help to unbias the media.”
Atkins is also concerned about gun-owner’s rights. “All of the government initiatives seem to target the lawful gun owners….lawful gun owners are not the ones committing crimes; it is illegal weapons and the smuggling of the weapons across the borders which are the problem.”
Atkins says the PPC would strength border security and take a tough on crime approach.
She’s also critical of a Liberal campaign promise to give municipalities more say in banning guns. “Gun reform should not be based on the whim of bureaucrats – we will insure new gun legislation goes through parliament only..”
And Atkins favours the PPC’s immigration policy which would reduce the number of immigrants entering the country from 350,000 to about 100,000 and put greater emphasis on skilled labour.
“This is a country built on immigration and we’re proud of it…but Canadian immigration should be there to address Canada’s economic needs,” adding immigrants without skills are a drain on the system. Statistics Canada says in 2017 almost 80 per cent of immigrants to Canada found work in the first year.
Perhaps one of the party’s tougher sells in rural Ontario would be the leaders desire to get rid of Canada’s supply management system. Bernier sees it as a barrier to trade.
Atkins says the PPC is willing to buy out quota from farmers and keep other countries out of the market place for five years so Canadian agriculture can prepare trade without trade barriers. She adds they also plan to increase inspection at the borders to make sure whatever agricultural products enter the country meet Canadian standards.
Atkins says the PPC’s message has been resonating with the people she meets as she takes her rolling RV office across the massive riding. “This riding is a Conservative stronghold,” she says acknowledging Bev Shipley held the riding for four terms. But she says with his retirement, the field is wide open.
“A lot of people from every political stripe, are shopping around for a new option, a new choice. They’re not trusting the establishment anymore.
“They know if we teeter totter between blue and red…we’re still having the same problems….people are looking for change.”
Atkins faces, Liane Rood (C), Jesse McCormick (L), Dylan McLay (NDP) and Andrew Li (Green) in the Oct. 21 vote.