After eleven years helping incumbent Barry Devolin increase the strength of the Conservative’s support in the riding in the past four elections, Schmale is anxious to take the reins himself. In 2003, he ran against Devolin for the conservative nomination, and while he lost that race, he signed on to work with Devolin as his Executive Assistant, a position he has held for the last eleven years. This means that he is very familiar with the issues in the riding, having stickhandled some of the major projects such as infrastructure spending on the Trent Severn Waterway.
While not quite a political junkie, before entering politics, Schmale covered news, municipal politics and sports on a local Lindsay radio station and eventually became News Director for CHUM media. Now a Lindsay resident with a young family, he is an active volunteer in local sports and Service organizations including the Victoria County United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Victoria-Haliburton, Easter Seals, and Community Care.
Last week Schmale was canvassing in town, but you will not see any lawn signs of support until after Labour Day. He is anxious to avoid election fatigue.
Job creation is at the top of Schmale’s list of election issues as it is for the other candidates in our riding. What is different in their platforms is their approach: the Conservative philosophy is clearly laissez faire, reflecting the belief that government intervention in the economy should be minimal. As a result, Schmale is focused on job creation in the private sector instead of creating jobs directly through government program expansion orincentive programs to stimulate specific industries. Recognizing the role of small businesses in the Canadian economy, the Conservative policy has been to reduce the income tax rate for small businesses to 9% from the current level of 11%, leaving more money in the pockets of small business owners to help them build their businesses. Another job creation encouragement is the roughly 15% reduction in EI premiums for small business. In response to feedback from small business owners, efforts have been made to reduce the red tape burden they face. Called “One for One”, new legislation has been passed requiring the elimination of a current regulation each time a new one is introduced, which they calculate has reduced the administrative burden on small businesses by $32 million or the equivalent of 750,000 hours of administrative effort.
Tax relief for individuals at all income levels is also part of the Conservative plan, with low and middle-income taxpayers receiving proportionately more relief. Preferring to leave spending and savings decisions to the individual income earners, the Conservative government has reduced personal tax rates at the lowest level of income and introduced and recently boosted the Tax Free Savings Account to provide greater incentive to individuals to save. While critics argue this program is of greatest benefit for high income earners, Schmale argues that over 80 percent of all TFSA account holders have annual incomes below $80,000, and half of TFSA holders’ incomes fall below $42,000. It has also been widely adopted by seniors as a retirement savings tool: over 70 percent of the 1.9 million individuals who had contributed the maximum to their accounts at the end of 2013 were 55 years or older..