Erin O'Toole speaks into a microphone at an outdoor gathering on a sunny day.

Photo Credit: Erin O'Toole / Facebook

Does Erin O’Toole Have Proposals That Will Help Islanders?

His talking points are light on details

The Conservative leader has some good ideas for small business people, but nothing very specific

Erin O’Toole, head of Canada’s Conservative Party, came to Vancouver Island for a one-day visit on Tuesday. O’Toole toured Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, Courtenay and Comox and met with business people, community leaders, and some folks who will also be running for the Conservative Party in the next election.

“It was a really good visit,” he told the North Island Gazette.

He mostly wanted to talk to people about the economy after COVID-19. And really, that’s what a lot of us are thinking about these days.

He said folks were worried about whether tourism will come back to the Island. Tourism brings jobs and money, but it was hit hard by COVID.

The Conservatives have a five-point plan for economic recovery after COVID-19. It focuses a lot on small businesses, the kinds that are supported by tourism. That’s great for some people on Vancouver Island, but not everyone.

O’Toole didn’t have much to say when it came to jobs for loggers.

Also, lots of people are losing their jobs because the factory fish farms are closing. He didn’t say anything about new industries for workers or about moving fish farms on land.

Many people on the Island are doing interesting things in farming and food, or are growing seaweed instead of fish. But he didn’t say anything about them either.

Trudeau and the Liberals might call an election in the Fall. Then, O’Toole might have more to say about these industries that Vancouver Islanders are building for ourselves. But he’s running out of time.

He says he doesn’t want an election in the Fall. Instead, he thinks we should be focusing on putting the country back on track after COVID-19. Maybe he’s right.

But if he really wants to win on Vancouver Island, he’s going to need to learn more about us. Because right now, he’s only talking in generalities, not about the specific challenges facing Islanders.