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LAIDLER: Low taxes and the economy

With video: Tim Laidler is touting the Conservatives' record as he seeks to win the Port Moody-Coquitlam federal seat
Tim Laidler Conservative
Tim Laidler is running for the Conservative Party of Canada in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam.

AGE: 30

OCCUPATION: former executive director of the Veterans Transition Network


Conservative candidate Tim Laidler has knocked on thousands of doors since he was nominated to run in the Port Moody-Coquitlam riding and feels at home everywhere, he says, because he grew up in the riding and went to school here.

Now, it's the place he wants to represent if voters send to him Ottawa.

"I've knocked on 10,000 doors, my campaign has knocked on 20,000," he says. "I want people to know I am listening."

What he says he's heard is that people are worried about the cost of living and the future of the economy, and he says the Conservatives have a record of being on the side of the taxpayer.

Initiatives such as income splitting, lowering the GST from 7% to 5% and expanding the Universal Child Care Benefit are "making changes to people's lives in the Tri-Cities."

Tim Laidler is running for the Conservative Party of Canada in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam. - Janis Warren

As well, he says the Tories' promise to look into whether foreign ownership is inflating the cost of housing and a proposal to allow people to take more money out of their RRSPs to buy a home are good promises that will help younger generations.

Laidler, who grew up in Anmore and graduated from Gleneagle secondary before joining the Canadian Armed Forces, says he was inspired to run for office while advocating for a program that supports soldiers transition home after military service. In Ottawa representing Veteran Transition Program, Laidler asked for money to expand the program to Ontario and, after just nine months, was given the go-ahead.

"Meeting the politicians, finding out they are just like us, I felt I could have a place here," Laidler says. "I could make a difference."

Some have questioned Laidler's decision to run for the Conservatives because of changes to how veterans' benefits are paid but Laidler, who spent eight months in Afghanistan in 2008 as a convoy driver, supports the Tories' efforts. He believes the New Veterans Charter, introduced in 2006, has modernized the system and has been effective in supporting veterans, including helping them get back to work.

If there is a gap, he said, it is in communicating with veterans and making sure they get their benefits. He supports the Conservatives' plan to issue a Canadian Veterans Card  so Veterans Affairs Canada can inform clients of potential services and benefits to which they may be entitled.

"That's what we need to working on," said Laidler, who is now retired from the Canadian Armed Forces.

A long-time cadet and then a soldier in the BC Regiment, Laidler said he was pleased to have an opportunity to serve his country. But he found it difficult to transition back to civilian life. While working out of Kandahar, he had to attend "ramp ceremonies" bidding farewell to 18 soldiers who had been killed. "You know these people, and any time someone dies, it's always hard."

The Veteran Transition Network course, taught by clinical counsellors, helped him deal with his emotions and enabled him to make a successful transition. He also became a research coordinator for the program, run out of UBC, where he got his MA in counselling, and then its executive director.

Today, with retiring Conservative MP James Moore as his mentor and a Conservative platform and record he believes in, Laidler thinks he is ready for the next phase of his life. Now, he just needs to convince others that the Conservatives deserve another chance to govern.