Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate Gene Balfour is no stranger to elections.
The longtime Libertarian has previously run for office six times – five in provincial elections for the Ontario Libertarian Party and once with the Libertarian Party of Canada in the 2015 federal election.
Balfour said he jumped ship to the PPC because of how well aligned it was with his own ideas about economic priority and smaller government.
“Over the years, I’ve watched the growth of government in general. As a person with as strong an economics background as I do, I see that in some ways as a threat,” Balfour said.
Balfour retired three years ago from a career as an IT recruiter. He has also spent time as the chairman of the Ontario Libertarian Party and is a partial owner of the Hardwood Ski and Bike in Barrie.
A father of two medical professionals, Balfour now lives with his wife and mother-in-law at their Fenelon Falls residence. He said he is an avid athlete, frequenting trails on Nordic cross skates.
“We love being in the country, surrounded by forests,” Balfour said. “We get up in the morning and pinch ourselves, not believing what great fortune we have living here.”
As a candidate, Balfour said he brings a strong passion and understanding of technology, economics and the job sector from his experience as a recruiter.
“I look at myself as the job candidate for this riding. I know that this is a riding that is not the top economically rated,” Balfour said. “Jobs is the world I know. I will come to this election race with a perspective on jobs and what kind of environment will create healthy and prominent jobs”
One concern that Balfour said he has heard on the trail is splitting right-wing voters. He said he would rest easy if Conservative incumbent candidate Jamie Schmale is re-elected
but added he feels Maxime Bernier is the best person to be prime minister.
“If people want to vote for Jamie because they like him and he’s well known here, that would be great,” Balfour said. “I have a strong background in jobs and economics and technology … if enough people see that message, then my chances are quite good.”
The PPC has garnered notoriety for climate change skepticism. Balfour said he shares that skepticism but that the party does care about protecting the environment. He added his opposition to the taxation and regulatory approaches used by governments to address climate change.
“What we should be doing is looking at getting private-sector corporations with their scientists and their engineers and get them to address real climate issues,” he said.
Those who seek a better economy should vote for Balfour, he said.
“If they are really concerned about improving the economic conditions and the environmental and regulatory issues that affect our local economy, that affect jobs, that affect attracting businesses and capital into this area,” Balfour said. “They should vote for me.”