Dave Blackburn – The Conservative Party of Canada

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Added: Wed, 09/11/2019 - 2:20pm
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Allyson Beauregard

Dave Blackburn, an associate professor and researcher at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, is running in his first election this year. He has been a board member at the Parole Board of Canada and an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Improving the Pontiac’s economy is Blackburn’s top priority, which he intends to do using seven “essential pillars”: collaborative work with local actors; developing a 5-10 year strategic plan with regional areas of specialization; infrastructure adapted to the needs of the population; academic training adapted to the needs of the region; opening of interprovincial free trade; and increasing federal jobs in the Public Service of Canada in Pontiac.
Another priority is to review all provincial and federal cost-sharing agreements.
According to Blackburn, the Pontiac’s biggest strength is its dedicated and hardworking population, as well its proximity to Ontario and the National Capital Region. To utilize these strengths, he will spearhead committees involving local residents, all levels of local government, and community and socio-economic organizations to develop a strategic development plan (5-10 year) to address key local issues with “realistic and concrete” solutions. “Local residents are the experts on what’s happening in their communities,” he said.
This plan will help attract jobs and improve the economy, claims Blackburn. “We will be able to target promising and innovative sectors. We must move beyond the traditional areas that have, in the past, made the region prosper,” he explained.
Blackburn said the Pontiac should also look at attracting Asian and European companies interested in relocating, given the considerable advantages the region has over others.
“Interprovincial free markets are also necessary for the Pontiac, mainly because we share a border with Ontario. Canadian products should be available from coast to coast,” he added.
According to Blackburn, a lack of infrastructure - essential for attracting entrepreneurs, families and developing commercial markets - is the Pontiac’s biggest limitation. “We are only a few kilometers from the nation's capital, but
several municipalities do not have reliable access to high-speed and cell phone coverage… necessities for communication, trade, exchange, etc.,” Blackburn told the Journal, noting the Conservatives have promised rural high-speed
internet access will be a priority, not in ten years, but as soon as possible. 
Blackburn would not comment on his party’s position on electoral reform or Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility, stating their platform hasn’t been released. “However, I have serious concerns about installing a nuclear dump [so close] to the Ottawa River. It’s essential to
have independent scientific research results to consider all the ins and outs of this issue,” he told the Journal.
Blackburn said the Conservative’s commitment to protecting the environment is clearly outlined in their plan, ‘A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment’ (https://arealplan.ca/) released in June.
“It’s a balanced approach to reducing our emissions at home, conserving and protecting [our environment], and fighting climate change abroad. It’s built on three key principles: investing in green technology and not imposing taxes; working with farmers, hunters and anglers, Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories to protect our air, land, water and wildlife; and taking the climate change fight global. The current international approach to climate change forces countries to self-impose domestic emissions reduction targets. But it’s a global problem that requires a global solution and Canada has a leadership role to play,” he explained.
To retain youth, Blackburn said he will request to participate in the MRC Pontiac’s newly formed Youth Council and then create a similar one for federal issues. Offering better communication infrastructure and job opportunities are essential, he said.
“We must also offer [post-secondary] training adapted to the needs of the Pontiac to train young people for jobs in the Pontiac. Consequently, it’s essential to have stimulating job offers that will encourage young people to stay,” he said, noting his strategic plan will address this. 
To help Canadian families, the Conservatives promise to remove federal income tax from Employment Insurance maternity and paternity benefits by providing a 15% non-refundable tax credit on income earned through the program. “We will also provide an equivalent tax credit for Québec residents receiving benefits under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan,” added Blackburn, noting his party will also offer incentives for retirees to return to work. 
“Many retirees are still active and want to continue working; by offering incentives, they will be able to fill positions in areas facing labour shortages,” concluded Blackburn.