Huron-Bruce riding candidate Ben Lobb, Conservative Party

Huron-Bruce Conservative candidate, Ben Lobb, took time out of his campaign schedule to give his thoughts to Midwestern Newspapers on some of the issues facing voters in the 2021 federal election.


MN: The pandemic is still top of mind for most voters. What are your thoughts on mandatory vaccinations?

Lobb: Ultimately, Canadians have the right to make their own choices about their health. A Conservative government will require unvaccinated Canadian passengers to present a recent negative COVID test, or a negative rapid test before boarding a bus, train, or plane, and we will require federal public servants who are unvaccinated to pass a daily rapid test.


MN: Agriculture is a huge part of life in Huron-Bruce and some say it is being affected adversely by climate change. Any thoughts on actions that can be taken to deal with the effects of a changing climate that can create erratic conditions for farmers?

Lobb: A Conservative government will make it easier for farmers to create land-based offset credits by building on the good work they already do in carbon sequestration. This will help reduce emissions at a lower overall cost, and help protect Canadian jobs in the agriculture and agrifood sectors.


MN: Mental health issues are prevalent this year due to the pandemic. Farmers are one group that has been dealing with mental health issues, even before the pandemic. How will your party deal with mental health issues?

Lobb: I want to be clear, mental health is health. We have a plan to make investments to help Canadians suffering from mental health crises or addictions. We’re going to work with the provinces to invest in mental health as the priority it needs to be, and also invest $325 million over the next three years to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and build 50 recovery community centres across the country. We’re also going to encourage employers to add or improve the mental health coverage in their employee benefit packages by offering a tax credit for 25 per cent of the cost for the first three years. At the end of the day, we also need to offer help to Canadians facing immediate crises, and so we’re going to create a three-digit suicide prevention hotline.


MN: What does your party plan to do to make housing affordable again especially considering wages are not going up at the rate they once were in comparison to housing?

Lobb: We are not building enough homes to keep up with Canada’s population, and there is a lot of foreign money in Canada’s housing market. Some of that is being funded through criminal activity, and some of it is foreign investors sitting on investment homes and leaving them empty. A Conservative government will work with provincial and municipal governments to get a million new homes built in the next three years, and release at least 15 per cent of the existing 37,000 federally-owned buildings for redevelopment into housing. We’re also going to ban foreign investors from buying homes here if they are not planning to move to Canada.


MN: Rural broadband remains a major issue for many within Huron-Bruce.  How do you see that being dealt with if your party is elected?

Lobb: We are going to invest in the digital infrastructure necessary to ensure that all Canadians have reliable access to high-speed internet where they live by 2025.


MN: How will your party help people who have been hit hard financially by the pandemic? Some examples are small business owners, people who work in arts and entertainment and the tourism industry?

Lobb: The most important thing we can do to help people who are suffering because of the pandemic is to get Canadians working again. We are going to get Canadians back to work. We’re going to pay up to 50 per cent of the salary of new hires for six months following the expiration of CEWS. We’re going to give Canadians who invest in a small businesses a 25 per cent tax credit on amounts up to $100,000 to get investment flowing back into Canada’s Main Streets, and creating jobs. We’re going to make sure that we never repeat the mistakes on vaccine procurement that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government made that led to an incredibly slow rollout of our vaccine program.

We’re also going to offer a 50 per cent rebate on food and non-alcoholic drinks purchased for dine-in from Monday to Wednesday for a month once it is safe to do so, and offer a 15 per cent tax credit per person for vacation expenses taken within Canada in 2022 to help the hospitality and tourism sectors specifically recover.


MN: How would provide relief to parents of young children in desperate need of support due to the high costs of child care services?

Lobb: When it comes to how you raise your family, no, the government does not know best. What’s more, the Liberal party has been making promises about a publicly-funded childcare program in every election since 1993 – and every Liberal Prime Minister has broken those promises. A Conservative government will convert the Childcare Education Expense deduction into a refundable tax credit covering 75 per cent of the cost of childcare for low income families – and we will pay out that deduction over the course of the year, rather than making families pay for childcare out of pocket, only to be reimbursed a year later.


MN: Indigenous issues have been at the forefront of the news recently. What would you say Canadians can expect as far as the furthering of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action if your party is elected?

Lobb: I recognize the deep sorrow felt by Indigenous people across Canada as a result of these discoveries. Conservatives across the country have called for a swift timeline, and funding to deliver on items 71-76 of the Truth and Reconciliation calls for action – specifically related to missing children, and providing healing for families.


MN: The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is seeking a location for a proposed deep geological repository to store high-level nuclear waste, with the Municipality of South Bruce being one of two locations currently under consideration. What is your stance on the proposed project, and do you think South Bruce is a more suitable location than Ignace?

Lobb: I believe that whether or not South Bruce hosts the DGR is best addressed directly by the people of South Bruce through a referendum. The question of which location is more suitable is a technical one, not a political one, and it is best left answered by geologists and nuclear engineers.