MORRISBURG – Looking forward to 2022, Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry member of Parliament Eric Duncan has a list of issues to advocate, saying its time for minority-Liberal government to do more than just react to the pandemic.
The Leader spoke with Duncan before the Christmas 2021 parliamentary break for a year end interview.
When first elected in 2019, Duncan said there were several issues he wanted to advocate for, and had begun to do so – then the COVID-19 pandemic began. His goal for 2022 is to make progress on some of those issues.
“COVID-19 put those [issues] aside, now it’s time to start getting these off the back-burner and pressuring the government that it’s time for a decision on these.”
Duncan specifically addressed the Transport Canada land issue on the Cornwall waterfront, and international water level issues that affect South Stormont and South Dundas.
“We’re at the point now with COVID-19 that we have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Duncan said. “There are going to be blips with COVID, but we can’t forget the overall main issues that are coming in.”
Another issue of advocacy Duncan pointed out was infrastructure funding.
“Every municipality has a list of infrastructure that they need to get done,” he explained. “We need to make sure SDSG gets our fair share on infrastructure.”
A personal issue for Duncan is advocating for the end of the blood ban for gay and bisexual men. On that file there is progress, as the Canadian Blood Services applied earlier in December 2021 to Health Canada for the ban to end.
“This is an example of being able to take a niche issue and a perspective, and get it on the radar. To pressure the government to address something that I think has been an inequity for many years,” he said.
Locally, a personal highlight for Duncan was being reelected in September 2021, but he still maintained the election call was unnecessary.
“When there is an election, getting that mandate locally is something I really value and never take for granted,” Duncan said. “When I look back at the riding going back a couple generations, this hasn’t always been a strong conservative riding, so we take nothing for granted.”
Duncan said on a more national scale for 2022, the economy, cost of living, housing and inflation are all key issues to address.
“Housing affordability and supply are important. I understand the struggles people are going through and the tight pocketbooks people have. We need to start giving some relief to people.”
Addressing inflation, he said that when the government talks about high inflation being temporary, there is not going to be a deflationary period after.
“Inflation may go back down to two per cent, but that means prices aren’t going back down again. That is the new normal.”
Stating that 2021 felt like three years not one, Duncan is proud of the local work done connecting residents and businesses to access COVID-19 supports and other programs.
One aspect he has missed is the many community events which he says help keep him connected to the pulse of the riding. But even with less events, the community spirit and generosity in the riding never ceases to impress him.
“I’m always impressed with the magnitude of our charitable and non-profit areas, despite the economic challenges,” he said. “It’s nothing short of amazing.”
This article was originally written for and appeared in The Morrisburg Leader.