Candidates for Huron, Bruce talk work, agriculture

A polling station in the 43rd federal election. October 2019. (BlackburnNews file photo)

Candidates for Huron-Bruce participated in a virtual all-candidates meeting Thursday, hosted by the federations of agriculture in Huron and Bruce.

One of the questions centered around getting back to work.

Conservative candidate Ben Lobb says the party has a one million job program in its platform.

“An incentive for employers to hire employees,” said Lobb. “And we also recognize there will be potential workers that have been off work for 18 months and there may be need for some retraining,” said Lobb.

Liberal candidate James Rice pointed to the party’s platform for $10 a day child care to help get people back to work.

“We have a large portion of the economy, mostly moms, that are being held back. And with our $10 a day child care plan, they’ll be able to get back into the workforce,” stated Rice.

NDP candidate Jan Johnstone underlined safety as a key.

“That we are providing the resources, so that they (businesses) can ensure that workplaces are safe for their employees and also safe for them and of course for the public,” said Johnstone.

Independent candidate Justin Smith says there needs to be move to put things back to where they were before the pandemic.

“I would end all government subsidies, like CERB, and move on with how things are supposed to be,” stated Smith.

There was also a question dealing with how employers can retain workers, especially in agriculture.

NDP candidate Jan Johnston pointed to the party’s idea of creating a pathway to permanent residency.

“For workers from other countries who came to Canada during the pandemic, to work in agriculture for example, and other pursuits. And I thing that’s really important,” said Johnstone.

Conservative Ben Lobb says jobs in agriculture goes beyond what happens in the fields and can include engineering, robotics and other exciting avenues.

“And we need to work with provinces and the education sector, colleges and universities, to encourage our young people to get into these trades and learn these skills,” explained Lobb.

Liberal candidate James Rice stated the education about available jobs could start evening younger.

“We need to work with the provinces and territories, so that elementary and high school students are exposed to the great opportunities that are waiting for them in agriculture,” said Rice.

Independent Justin Smith says there has to be a way to flip temporary to permanent.

“So when it comes to agriculture, we do already happen to have some temporary foreign workers,” said Smith. “What we have to do is something more permanent.

Other issues that came up included infrastructure and risk management for agriculture.

A fifth candidate for Huron-Bruce, Jack Stecho, was not involved in Thursday night’s virtual all-candidates meeting.

The full all-candidates meeting hosted by the Huron County and Bruce County federations of agriculture can be viewed by clicking  on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0Fsn_mIH2M.