This week, My Comox Valley Now is presenting profiles of candidates in the upcoming federal election.

We are asking candidates how their party will deal with three major issues facing voters: affordable housing, post COVID-19 pandemic recovery, and climate change.

Today, we profile Conservative candidate Mary Lee, who’s running in the Courtenay-Alberni riding.

My Comox Valley Now: If elected, what steps would a Conservative government take to deal with the lack of affordable housing?

Lee: “Canada’s Conservatives recognize that rising housing prices can be addressed very effectively by removing barriers. It really comes down to working at a municipal and provincial level. Housing affordability is greatly affected by a low supply. We’re simply not building enough homes to keep pace with Canada’s growing population. Another problem is foreign money that’s going into Canada’s housing market. This is pushing up prices and making home ownership nearly impossible. Canada’s Conservatives recognize that we need to ban foreign investors for a minimum of two years. This would ban foreign ownership if the foreign owners have no intention of residing in Canada. The federal government owns quite a lot of real estate in Canada. We want to release a lot of that real estate and build more homes. Canada’s Conservatives would never tax capital gains on the sale of a primary residence. These are effective measures that we can take now to get the housing crisis under control.”

My Comox Valley Now: If elected, what steps would the Conservatives take to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic?

Lee: “Canada’s Conservatives are really concerned. We need to act fast now to get the delta variant under control. We want to get the cases down and resume those regular national health briefings that give us that accurate information on the state of the variants and what Canadians can do. Public health is a national concern and we need to address it with the public health authorities that are in the best place to effectively address it. We have to work together. We can control and eradicate COVID-19 from spreading across our country by coming together. Canada’s Conservatives recognize that public health does rest at the provincial level. We want to respect the provinces for instituting their measures regarding the passport. We need one Canadian streamlined passport for identification that will help us and travellers who are travelling abroad to say that they are vaccinated. Canada’s Conservatives do recognize that getting vaccinated is a choice. All public health decisions rest with the individual. It’s the individual’s choice. Rapid testing can effectively identify if a person is healthy enough to go out and interact in their community.”

My Comox Valley Now: What would the Conservatives do to mitigate climate change?

Lee: “The Conservatives will fight climate change and protect the environment, but we’re not going to do it on the backs of hard-working Canadians. We are rewarding Canadians for making those greener choices. You will have what’s called a low-carbon savings account. Canadians are rewarded every time they make a green choice, so that they have additional savings that can go towards buying more green choices. Canada’s Conservatives want our country to be a leader in zero-emission vehicles. Building vehicles in Canada can stimulate the economy. You need to upgrade the electric grid in order to have more zero-emission vehicles. Rebuilding Canada and its environment and protecting its environment is the cornerstone of Canada’s Conservatives approach to securing the future and securing the environment. Youth are really recognizing that the climate is such an important part of their future. Students of all ages are really getting engaged in some environmental and outdoor learning opportunities in our school system. These are great examples of how we need to keep encouraging our youth to play a part in the environment. I have to applaud School District 71 for having such a robust outdoor education and environment education plan. Our students are learning the little things that we can do in our lives to reduce our own carbon footprint.”

My Comox Valley Now: What is another one of your campaign priorities?

Lee:“Mental health is impacting everybody. I address it all the time in my interactions. We are feeling enormous pressure from the pandemic uncertainty. It continues to get exacerbated. Our youth are struggling. The Conservatives recognize that mental health must be front and centre. We want to fix the economy by getting more Canadians back to work. We can all play a part in stimulating our economy. Getting more Canadians back to work means we also have to fix Canadians and take care of their mental health just as much as we take care of our physical health. Conservatives want to make historical investments towards mental health.”

The Town of Comox is in the North Island-Powell River riding. The Conservative candidate in the riding is Shelley Downey.