KTW presents profiles of those seeking to become Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP in the Sept. 20 federal election.
Name: Frank Caputo
Party: Conservative Party of Canada
Campaign office address: 249 Seymour St.
Occupation: Lawyer/Crown counsel; sessional faculty at TRU Faculty of Law
Family: Married to Odette Dempsey Caputo, with three children
Q: In a nutshell, why should voters cast a ballot for you and your party as opposed to your opponents and their parties?
A: This election will be a choice between a comprehensive Conservative plan to deliver jobs for all Canadians and restore public finances versus a reckless Liberal plan — supported by the NDP, Greens and Bloc — that would leave Canada with high levels of debt and unemployment. As Cathy McLeod did in four terms as our riding’s MP, I want to work as a team member in government and be a strong voice for the people of the riding. Erin O’Toole and Canada’s Conservatives are the only alternative to secure the future, restore competence, transparency and accountability to government and ensure Canada is never unprepared for a crisis again.
Q: This summer has seen all-time record high temperatures in Kamloops and elsewhere in B.C., with an unprecedented wildfire season still raging. Do you agree this is due to human-caused climate change? If not, how do you explain the increase in global temperatures and proliferation of extreme weather events across the globe? In either case, what should be done to mitigate the effects of wildfires?
A: I believe in climate change and that it has contributed to warmer temperatures locally. I also believe that warmer temperatures have contributed to regional wildfires. A Conservative government will invest in remote sensing and other technology that will improve the early detection of wildfires and better predict fire behaviour. I recently met with residents of Monte Lake and saw the destruction of the fires and heard what they need to rebuild. If elected, I will fight for federal funds to rebuild the community.
Canada’s Conservatives have a serious plan to combat climate change that allows us to meet our targets and reduce emissions by 2030, all while repealing Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. Independent analysis, conducted by Navius Research, found that the plan would effectively achieve the same emissions reductions as the government’s current plan in 2030, while resulting in a boost to jobs and the economy. We will work with provinces, territories and industry stakeholders to develop a vision for the future of forestry that includes pathways to helping fight climate change.
Q: What is the most important first step government should do in tackling the climate change crisis?
A: We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms, but not one where the government pockets your money. We know Canadians can’t afford Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax hike, which lets the government tax Canadians and drives jobs and investment out of the country. We will fight climate change and protect the environment, but we won’t do it on the backs of hardworking Canadians or by hurting our economy.
Canada’s Conservatives will work with the provinces to implement an innovative and national personal low carbon savings account. These savings accounts will incentivize Canadians to make greener lifestyle choices that reduce their emissions while also allowing them to decide what works best for them and their family. This approach to carbon pricing leverages the fact that Canadians want to do the right thing and are better positioned than governments to decide how and where they can personally invest in reducing their carbon footprints. Not one penny of the price on hydrocarbon fuels for Canadians and small businesses will go to the government. Canada’s Conservatives will also introduce a zero-emission vehicle mandate, based on British Columbia’s, requiring 30 per cent of light-duty vehicles sold to be zero emissions by 2030.
Q: What would you propose be done to end the pandemic and prevent the next one?
A: A future government must not repeat the mistakes made by the Liberal government while propped up by the NDP. The federal government was slow to close borders. It didn’t secure vaccines quickly. It also ignored the warning signs. The first step is to learn from these mistakes, which is why a Conservative government would launch an immediate public inquiry into the country’s COVID-19 response.
We must be prepared to quickly act to protect the health of Canadians and to ensure that our economy remains robust and Canadians are mentally healthy. Conservatives are committed to domestic vaccine and PPE production so we can have a ready supply of critical supplies. We would partner with pharmaceutical companies to increase production of critical medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients in Canada. As well, we would work with the United States to strengthen the North American supply chain for pharmaceuticals to reduce our shared reliance on imports.
Q: Do you support mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of health-care workers and students and staff in post-secondary institutions? If not, why not?
A: Canadians have the right to make their own health choices. Rapid testing is needed for the unvaccinated to protect our most vulnerable Canadians. A Conservative government will require unvaccinated Canadian passengers to present a recent negative test result or pass a rapid test before getting on a bus, train, plane or ship. We will require federal public servants who aren’t vaccinated to pass a daily rapid test. Vaccines are a safe and effective tool to stop the spread of COVID-19. We encourage every Canadian who is able to get one. Vaccine passports and the vaccination of health-care workers, students and staff are provincial issues to be left to the provincial governments.
Q: Reconciliation with First Nations remains a major issue. What should government’s first step be in addressing the concerns of the Indigenous population?
A: Conservatives have called for a swift timeline and funding to deliver on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action 71 to 76 involving missing children and providing healing for families. A Conservative government created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, which recognizes the Indian residential school system had a profoundly lasting and damaging impact on Indigenous culture, heritage and language. Canada’s Conservatives acknowledge the deep sorrow and mourning that all Indigenous people and survivors of Residential Schools are experiencing. Our hearts grieve for the Indigenous communities who are sharing in this trauma. I have met with several Indigenous elders in the past few months. They detail a history in which the needs of Indigenous people have not been heard.
This has stymied growth, healing and prosperity. A Conservative government is committed addressing issues that have affected Canada’s Indigenous population, including lack of investment opportunities, over-incarceration and high suicide rates. If elected, I would want to meet with each Kúkpi7 (chief) in our riding within my first 90 days of election and twice per year while in office.
Q: What is the No. 1 issue being raised with you when speaking to voters in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding?
A: I’ve spoken with people throughout the riding — in Blue River, Clearwater, 100 Mile House, Barriere and Kamloops — and the one issue often mentioned is that the cost of everything is going up. Grocery bills are up five per cent and gas prices have skyrocketed. With inflation at the highest level in 20 years and rising, families are struggling to make ends meet. Canada’s Conservatives have a detailed plan to get inflation under control, lower prices and make life more affordable for families.
Tied closely to this are jobs. Every Canadian deserves the security and dignity that comes with a secure, stable and well-paid job. Canada’s Conservatives will enact a comprehensive jobs plan to get Canadians back to work across the country. We will take immediate action to help the hardest-hit sectors, helping those — including women and young Canadians — who have suffered the most. We want to rebuild Main Street by assisting small business and providing incentives to invest in, rebuild and start new businesses.
Q: What is the most important step that needs to be taken to begin reduction of the deficit caused by pandemic-related spending?”
A: We need to review all spending since the Trudeau government decimated the balanced budget in 2015. We must ask whether any new spending is both affordable and necessary. The emergency spending in response to COVID was just the beginning for the Liberals, but they don’t ever want it to end.
Canadians can be confident that with Canada’s Recovery Plan, Conservatives will secure their future by recovering millions of jobs and introducing policies that result in better wages and help struggling small businesses get back on their feet.