Reflecting on a decade: Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte MP Doug Shipley


For the holidays, Global News is releasing questions and answers with local leaders in Barrie and Simcoe County so that residents can get to know their officials better.

In this installment, Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte MP Doug Shipley reflects on the last decade and how his riding has grown.

GN: What were you doing in 2010 and how does that contribute to where you are today?

Doug Shipley: In 2010, I was first elected to Barrie City Hall. It was my first experience with my name on the ballot. That election taught me a lot about campaigning.

GN: How were you hoping things might shape up in your community over the past decade (from 2010 until now)?

Shipley: I hoped that our roads and infrastructure would be better maintained and that we would build better communities in our neighbourhoods. [I hoped] tax increases [would be kept] as low as possible.
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GN: Were you right or wrong in terms of how you thought your community was going to develop over the last decade? If you were wrong, how so?

Shipley: There’s always room for improvement, but I feel we’ve done well in Barrie.

READ MORE: Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte candidates on what they’re hearing while knocking on doors

GN: What is the single biggest change that has happened for you over the past 10 years that has been a game changer?

Shipley: I think having my oldest son go off to university, my youngest son start high school and me getting elected to Ottawa, all within a few months, has been a major game changer for my family.

GN: What has been your biggest win as a Barrie councillor or/and as Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP?

Shipley: I am proud of many accomplishments that city council approved. I don’t think I can claim credit for any specific win. Barrie city council is very much a team approach, and I was only ever one vote. You need at least six votes to get anything done.

GN: What has been your biggest disappointment or miss as a Barrie councillor or as Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP? What did you learn from it?

Shipley: I’ll always miss being around that council table. The staff and fellow councillors were all great to work with.

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GN: In your opinion, what was the biggest story of the last decade in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte?

Shipley: There have been a lot of big stories, too many to only pick one. A few examples I can give are the Innisfil annexed lands, the Barrie Central High School closing and [the] struggle to improve downtown.

GN: How has the makeup of your community changed over the last decade? How did this drive your decisions as councillor and how will it drive your decisions as MP?

Shipley: I don’t think we’ve seen any radical, highly-visible change over the last decade. In the north end of town, and Ward 3 specifically, I think the construction of [the] Barrie North Crossing has made a pretty big impact.
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GN: What’s your biggest hope for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte for 2020-2030?

Shipley: More and better-paying jobs. I hope that more people living in Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte [stop] commuting to Toronto and elsewhere. In my opinion, the closer to work you live, the better your quality of life becomes.

READ MORE: Election results could be ‘quite good’ for Canada but no local voice in government: Barrie mayor

GN: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte over the next decade?

Shipley: I think the unsustainable spending levels of our federal government will become a serious problem over the next decade, unless we act now. If we don’t see funding restored to the Lake Simcoe Clean-up Fund, the health of our lake will take a turn for the worse.

GN: How do you think local businesses and entrepreneurs can be supported within the community?

Shipley: Low taxes are great for growth. Investment in infrastructure, especially high-speed internet in rural areas. There are still areas in Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte that do not have high-speed internet. That is something I want to champion at parliament because a lot of start-ups and entrepreneurs can make businesses grow, without having to locate [to] a city.
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