Think about local issues when knocking on doors, these voters tell candidates in Waterloo region
Top issues include climate change, opioid crisis and pandemic recovery
As candidates in the federal election ramp up their campaigns and start knocking on doors, three local voters are calling on them to think local.
Yanna Green, a voter in Kitchener Centre, Julia Chernushevich, a voter in Waterloo, and Sean Henderson, a voter in Kitchener South-Hespeler, joined CBC K-W's The Morning Edition to discuss the issues important to them as the federal election gets underway.
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"I think a lot of people feel like a lot of the candidates are extremely detached from the populations that they are serving or want to serve," Green said, urging candidates to think about "local issues, being receptive to their voter base and yes, just trying to actually resonate within the region."
Chernushevich says some national issues are being felt in Waterloo region, but local candidates should be looking for solutions for their community.
"Specifically, what is it that we're seeing in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge with the housing crisis, with the opioid crisis, whatever it may be," she said.
"There's a lot of times when you just feel that the candidate is representing the party and the party's sort of platform, but not so much your place of residence."
Henderson agreed local issues are important, but he also wants a candidate who thinks outside the box.
"Are you willing to listen to some new ideas and pass them on to the party and consider them?" he said.
Housing crisis and COVID response
Green said her top issue is the housing crisis.
"We definitely have a problem in this country when people have six-figure salaries and still are being outbid by investors and big companies for houses," she said. "We need urgent action on it."
She also said the pandemic has shown there's a need for more funding for health care.
She says COVID-19 has also shown how quickly politicians can act when there's a crisis — something she'd like to see with the opioid crisis.
"We've shown that we can have fast action and we can get things done when there is an extraordinary amount of deaths happening because of a preventable cause," Green said.
For Henderson, getting through the COVID-19 pandemic is a top issue for him and so is climate change. He visited the town of Lytton, B.C. when he was studying in Victoria. This year, much of the town has been destroyed by wildfires.
"To know a place you'd been had been … dramatically affected by the climate — more has to be done about that," he said.
Chernushevich agreed that for her, "climate change just completely overshadows" many other issues.
"It's affecting our food security. You're looking at the prairies. There are our farmers writing off the crops. They're unable to feed their cattle," she said.
"I just feel like financially, even if you're not a big climate advocate or have been an environmentalist for a lot of years, financially it makes sense because it's cheaper to mitigate these problems than to have really expensive adaptations, building resilient infrastructures, having to relocate people, manage new agricultural practices, all that."
Chernushevich also said housing and wealth inequality are big issues for her in this election.
"If you look over the pandemic, it's been ridiculous what's been happening as far as the richest people, like billionaires gaining even more wealth," she said.
"People cannot afford to live. So I won't take no for an answer from the government."
Timing of election
All three questioned the timing of the federal election, which will be held on Sept. 20.
"I see the logic that's being used by [Liberal Leader] Justin Trudeau and his party to call an election right now. I'm not entirely pleased seeing as we're going into a fourth wave [of COVID-19]. But I understand that every party is going to call an election when it's favourable to them, not necessarily what it's favourable to Canadians," Chernushevich said.
Henderson agreed "it would have been nice if it had been a bit later" like once COVID-19 is "stamped out."
Green said she felt like calling an election now was the wrong move.
"I'm not sure it was a very good thing for the Liberals to do since it was favourable toward them and not for the people they're supposed to be representing," she said.
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