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Maxime Bernier says addressing Indigenous water issues a 'first priority' if elected

The leader of the People’s Party of Canada says if his party gets elected, one of the first issues it will tackle is addressing boil water advisory issues in Indigenous communities across the country.
Nipissing-Timiskaming People's Party canadidate Mark King and party leader Maxime Bernier recently campaigned at the International Plowing Match in northern Ontario. (Bienvenu Senga/Radio-Canada)

The leader of the People's Party of Canada says if his party gets elected, one of the first issues it will tackle is addressing boil water advisory issues in Indigenous communities across the country.

Maxime Bernier was in northern Ontario on Saturday to visit the International Plowing Match and campaign with Nipissing-Timiskaming candidate Mark King.

According to Indigenous Services Canada, 56 advisories remain in place across the country.

Bernier says he doesn't believe it's a matter of money to get the problem fixed.

"The federal government is spending for First Nations about $20 billion a year. We'll keep that budget," he said.

"But we will work with First Nations, with people on the reserve [as] they have the solution to that. The solution is not coming from Ottawa. Let's work with them. It's a question of bureaucracy. It's a question of bureaucrats not being efficient. It's not a problem of money. It's a problem of process and approving these projects."

Bernier also spoke about other policies in his party's platform. He says his platform includes a plan to address Canada's labour shortage.

"The solution is not only immigration, the solution is also automatization," he said.

"At the same time, we will have a flat tax on business at 10 per cent. We will abolish the capital gain tax in this country. The business entrepreneur will have more money in their pockets."

Bernier says the changes would result in businesses having more money, meaning their workers could be paid more.

He also added that he plans to reduce the number of immigrants being allowed into the country, adding the screening process would be changed.

"We want these people to integrate into our society," he said.

"We want to be sure to have a face to face interview with these people, with every newcomer that will come to this country. We don't have that right now."

With files from Bienvenu Senga

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