Vincent Cormier, the Conservative Party candidate in Beauséjour, says the riding needs to send someone to Ottawa who will listen to what people are saying and then, defend their interests.
“If we go by the surveys that are out there now, the economy is clearly number one,” Cormier said during an interview Saturday at the Sackville Fall Fair.
“We have young graduates, good, young, smart kids that try to start in life, but due to the high level of taxes that they pay, due to student debt, due to the fact that our economy is not that strong and there’s not necessarily year-round employment, they head elsewhere,” he said, adding that his own son is now living in Calgary.
The Conservative candidate said it will take time to reverse things, but there are steps that could be taken.
“We have to reduce the amount of taxes we’re paying, we have to quit spending money,” Cormier said. He added that the government needs to concentrate on making Beauséjour an attractive area for business investment so that new employers could provide good-paying jobs.
He also said that while he understands the need for New Brunswick to attract immigrants to fill labour shortages, there should be a proper balance.
“Why do we have so many people on unemployment and we’re bringing immigrants in?” Cormier asked, adding that we need to start talking about how to strike what he called “a happy medium” between creating employment for local people while encouraging more immigrants to settle here.
Carbon tax, no solution for climate change
When asked about efforts to fight climate change, Cormier said he recognizes it’s an important issue.
“We all have to do our share,” he added. “Each voter is responsible for that.”
But he strongly disagrees with the carbon tax that the federal Liberals brought in.
“If we look at the fact that Canada’s total carbon emissions on the planet are 1.8%, I think it would be a more practical approach to penalize the countries that are contributing the most to this carbon emission total,” he said, mentioning that the top three emitters are China, India and the United States.
“Why penalize average Canadians that are trying to put food on their table for something that we don’t carry the big bulk of the responsibility [for]?” Cormier asked.
“I’m not saying we need to walk away from it [climate change],” he added. “Our government should be challenging those countries…to address their problems.”
He suggested private industries could be encouraged to expand the efforts they’re already making to reduce greenhouse gas emissions adding that the manufacturers of transport trucks, for example, have made significant advancements.
“The carbon emissions on those vehicles, a lot of them put out less emissions than your typical car [and] a lot of people don’t know that,” he said.
Cormier said he’s lived in Beauséjour all his life and grew up on a farm doing chores with three brothers and a sister in the small town of Saint-Paul north of Moncton.
“I had a chance to go pick berries, I was 10, 11 years old,” he said, “at five cents a box, that’s what we were being paid.”
Cormier said his childhood taught him the values of hard work and responsibility, values that stood him in good stead as a manager and entrepreneur in manufacturing and construction.
“I retired at 56 and after six months at home, I got bored, the fire was still burning, I didn’t know where to put all that energy, so we partnered up with another gentleman and now we’re doing housing in First Nations communities.”
Cormier’s candidate biography mentions Personalized Building Solutions as the company he co-founded that specializes in First Nations housing developments. His Conservative Party biography also mentions Cormier’s involvement in a consulting firm in Dieppe called NuFocus Strategic Group.
To read his full biography, click here.
Traditional Liberal riding
Cormier acknowledges that federal Liberals have an almost unbroken record of winning in Beauséjour. (In 1997, voters elected NDP candidate Angela Vautour, but Dominic LeBlanc re-captured the riding for the Liberals in 2000 and has held it ever since.)
When asked whether LeBlanc’s absence from the campaign as he recovers from cancer surgery will make a difference to Conservative chances in Beauséjour, Cormier says it’s hard to say.
“The fact remains, I know Mr. LeBlanc personally,” Cormier says. “He definitely has a big challenge, but at the end of the day, the people of Beauséjour need representation and I have to forward that belief and make sure that they are represented,” he adds.
“I wish Mr. LeBlanc all the luck in the world and I pray for him, but at the end of the day, people need representation.”