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Meet the Candidates: Terry Dowdall, Conservative

October 11, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

In advance of the Federal election on October 21, The Times of New Tecumseth & Adjala–Tosorontio asked the four candidates running for the position of Member of Parliament (MP) in our riding of Simcoe–Grey 15 questions, allowing each candidate to introduce themselves, their party platform, and their personal beliefs in their own, interrupted words, so our readers can make an informed decision on election day.

(Printed in order of receipt)

Conservative

1. Full Name: Terry Dowdall

2. Town of Residence: Clearview Township in the country between New Lowell and Creemore.

3. Length of residency in Simcoe–Grey: I purchased a convenience store building with apartments in Baxter, Essa Township, between Angus and Alliston, in the mid-nineties and moved to Baxter in about 1998. This became our home and I [have] since raised my two daughters there alongside my wife up until this past summer when we moved to Clearview Township, to the centre of the riding.  

As a local store owner for over twenty years, I was front and centre, meeting people every day and listening to their stories, sharing their joys and sorrows. I saw when money was tight. As the Mayor of Essa and Deputy Warden/Interim Warden of Simcoe County, I’ve had the privilege of visiting every community in Simcoe and now as well, the entire riding of Simcoe–Grey. I’ve heard the concerns of farmers, commuters, seniors and younger folks worried about careers and their futures.  I believe that I can effectively represent all issues and concerns in Ottawa.

4. Primary reason you’re running: I am running to be the Member of Parliament for Simcoe–Grey to represent our views and voice what is important to us in the House of Commons when policy is being considered and new legislation passed – to be a strong voice ensuring that spending decisions are responsible and benefit us here.

I will speak up as the voice representing everyone in Simcoe–Grey.  I have done this successfully for the past 20 years and am well-respected by people and politicians of all parties and different levels of government, including staff. I spoke out to ensure good and fair treatment, and to (successfully) ask for funding for the people that I represented (and beyond) at the Council table, the County of Simcoe and at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.  

I am not a single-issue candidate but want responsible government to balance issues and manage our budgets for our children and grandchildren. I am known as a “bridge-builder”, bringing people and groups together to listen to one another, and I wish to continue to form partnerships in my role as your Federal representative. Proven partnerships which I have helped to coordinate include: tri-municipal policing by the OPP, shared use building project with the Simcoe County District School Board, municipality and OPP, and renewed discussions between Collingwood and New Tecumseth to look at options to provide clean water to the south.

6. Offices/elected positions held in the past: I was first elected as a municipal politician in 2000, was Deputy Mayor of Essa from 2003 to 2010, and Mayor of Essa for two terms from 2010 to 2018. During this time, I also held the offices of County of Simcoe Councillor and two-term Deputy Warden for the County, ending my career with the County serving as the Interim Warden – as selected by my peers.

After taking charge of the tornado disaster in Angus in 2014, and seeing all different organizations and agencies pulling together under my leadership, I decided to get involved at a higher level, with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. I was successful in being elected to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities – this organization aims to lobby the federal government with municipal concerns.

6. Campaign slogan if any: My personal slogan is:  Proven Positive Political Experience; and my party slogan is:  a REAL PLAN to help you/Canadians get ahead. Both are based on facts.

7. What are the most important challenges facing the riding? Important challenges of the day include affordability, concern for our climate, local healthcare and seniors not being able to keep up with inflation. I would like to work to assist with tackling all of these issues.

8. What do you cherish most about this riding? What I like best about this riding:  the view of forests and farmland from my windows as I wake each day and drive from place to place within the riding. No doubt about it, the geography, natural landscape and natural features of the area are second to none, including our forests, rivers and, of course, Georgian Bay. I would like to continue to protect these things, that bring many people here each year to live and visit during all four seasons, by making sure that we support our agri-business, industrial developments and tourism industry by growing in the right places. Growth can occur which still can be green-friendly and protect and preserve our natural features.

9. What type of leader you will be? I am proven to be a positive leader who is inclusive, approachable and who brings people together to listen to one another. I believe in respect for one another and I always try to seek out common goals to know how we can move forward together. People that I have worked with at the Council table, County of Simcoe and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities would all attest to this. Although I may seem as a friendly, approachable person at the grassroots level, a character trait which has led me here is that of looking at the bigger picture. As well, a point which I am proud of:  I have never run a negative campaign but have always focused on my own abilities and the goal at the end of the day.

9. What are your priorities for change in our riding – both in the short term, and the long term? Priorities for change should be to connect with all municipalities and as well, businesses, to listen to their needs to determine how the federal government can best support them. We need to find solutions to ensure that the federal government (and monies) can support infrastructure and employment in Simcoe–Grey – infrastructure also including high speed broadband throughout our rural areas. As well, support for research and development and green technologies that our local business owners wish to take on. In the short term, our priorities should include better funding for immediate healthcare needs and for those who are disadvantaged (i.e.: Scheer has announced better funding for those with disabilities). Over the long term, we need to ensure funding for our healthcare system, affordability and balanced budgets while tackling the deficit.  Green technology that enhances our climate should continue to be encouraged. 

 I plan to be in the riding whenever Parliament is not sitting to ensure that I am in-touch with constituents. I also plan to hire a communications staff member to better assist the flow of information.

11. What are the biggest fiscal challenges in our riding, and what do you envision as the best way to address them?:The biggest fiscal challenge is to balance the budget.  The amount of debt each year that is passed onto future generations should be considered as this will be our children and grandchildren’s problem.  Cutting foreign aid in areas where Canadian funds are assisting wealthier countries and dictators will help us to better redistribute some of these foreign aid funds here at home where Canadians struggle with making ends meet, relying on food banks and don’t have clean water.  We can also stop corporate bail-outs, provide more affordable housing, and take care of our military and seniors.  Canadians have a spending problem which can be addressed with re-prioritizing.  

12. What innovative projects would enhance life in this area?: Innovative projects: installing high speed broadband Internet throughout our rural areas; encouraging the wide spread use of public-private partnerships to promote public transit since this reduces our carbon footprint; and green technology that supports better stormwater management and water reduction (waste) that can both plan for flood events and enhance our climate – technology such as that currently being developed in Collingwood. As well, I believe in working with post-secondary educational institutions to tailor programs to suit the needs of our employers – this has already started after meetings with leaders in both sectors. I was heavily involved with this while Deputy Warden/Interim Warden with the County of Simcoe, working with Ec Dev staff of the County.  We met regularly with senior officials of significant employers to hear what they needed, to encourage future investments.

To collaborate with other levels of government, to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future of our riding, I propose to meet on a regular basis with other government officials to listen to their needs from their perspective, to work together to create a good relationship and partnership opportunities.  Other levels of government, whether lower tier municipal, upper tier or Provincial, constantly re-evaluate their priorities and formulate budgets from year to year.  I know that it is important to meet often to stay informed of what is being discussed in their communities and what is important to citizens.

13. What is your perspective on the best way to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our riding? Communication with my constituents is VERY important to me so I plan to hire a communications officer within the riding who can assist with the flow of information. 

14. How do you envision communicating with your constituents? Everyone is most comfortable with a different source of media so I believe that we must rely on several different sources of media to reach out to people in every community in Simcoe–Grey. It is not easy to reach everyone in a riding of this size. I have been using newsletter, newspaper, email, varying social media channels, hosting meet and greets and walking door to door in every community. Something new which I have been using with pretty good success, as it seems to suit people who are busy, is video-conferencing. I have found that many busy people enjoy taking part in a meeting but from the comfort of their own home. Radio ads also seem to work to spread messaging. I’m not about to rule anything out in an effort to reach as many people as possible.  

15. What will you do to continue to be involved with the community should you not win? If I don’t win the election on October 21, I will need to keep busy because that has always been my lifestyle. I have never sat still, figuratively and quite literally. I have really enjoyed working with many service groups and charitable organizations – some of which have really touched me. If I am not successful in my bid for MP, I will join some of these organizations.  I will also continue on as a small business owner finding ways to continue to invest in Simcoe–Grey. And last but not least, I will spend more time with my daughters and MAYBE (no promises to buy a mini-horse, Sarah) help my wife and daughter still at home start a small hobby farm.



         


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