The Race, Round One, Is On

By John Swartz

Note: SUNonline/Orillia will profile people running to get the Simcoe North Conservative Party of Canada nomination to replace MP Bruce Stanton in the next election. This riding has a long history of sending conservatives to the House of Commons, therefore it’s important to understand party hopefuls.

Dan Masin is the first to contact SUNonline/Orillia about ‘getting the word out,’ regarding his wish to get the conservative party nomination, which in some way speaks to his determination to be victorious.

“I’m just an average every day guy. I’m intimidated by the process to be honest with you. I want to do the best job I can because I’m taking this extremely seriously,” he said over coffee during a warm in a week of cold, wet October weather.

He is a mortgage agent for iBroker Power Capital Inc. dividing his time between his Penetanguishene area home and one in Toronto.

“I was practically baptized in Georgian Bay,” Masin said.

“My grandfather on my mum’s side built a cottage near Balm Beach back in 1937/38. I say it, trying to a little funny, but if someone were to call us cottagers, we’re offended because we’ve been up here so long,” referencing an extended family living in many parts of Simcoe North, including Orillia.

His working career has been spent in sales, or as he puts it helping people. He was at General Motors for 21 years and then had his own leasing company for 11.

“I helped General Motors develop their wholesale network, or their fleet sales. My customers were Canada Post, Consumers Gas, City of North York, City of Toronto, City Brampton, City of Barrie, Discount Avis, Hertz, etc. All I’d do is develop those relationship. I concentrated on relationships and I didn’t classify myself as a ‘car salesman’ because I didn’t want that label.”

As will be seen, he likes to break things down to his view of practicalities, which is why he still travels back and forth for work.

‘I do that specifically, and I make no apologies for it, because the job opportunities are greater in Toronto for me as a mortgage broker than they are up here.”

The son of a Macedonian immigrant who didn’t speak English, Masin is proud of how things turned out.

“He didn’t have the luxuries. It was just hard work for my father to be successful.”

Why Run?
Dan Masin

“I’ve been involved in politics here and there. Back in the 70s I was campaigning for Paul Godfrey because his nephew and I were friends and he asked me campaign on a weekend. I did and I caught the bug.”

“But it was at arm’s length because politics gets to be a really dirty game and I really don’t like it. I’m putting myself forward, other people are as well. They’re no better or worse than I am. I might have better ideas, but I respect them for putting themselves forward. What I don’t respect is personal attacks. I believe in sticking to the facts. Anything else is just being a bad human, not just bad politics but bad person.”

That was a long time ago. He kept abreast of political things.

“Ten or so years ago I was with a group of business people, we were chatting about politics and this and that and I have my opinions. One of them turned to me and exactly said, “put up or shut up.” I put that to heart and I re-evaluated,” how he acts, which lead to a decision not to be on a sideline.

“I sincerely believe that being an MP will be satisfactory because I thrive on helping people,” Masin said.  Despite the opportunity opening now, why take the leap with the conservative party?

“Because I believe in fiscal responsibility. I believe in accountability. I believe our government should be run, not completely like a business, but;” he continued with a long example of a business getting too comfortable with borrowing to expand and getting in too deep to survive; “you’re eventually going to get to the point because you are spending too much and I think government has to be accountable.”

Masin has a model of the kind of candidate, and hopefully MP, he wants to be. It’s the one Simcoe North has now.

“He is in my opinion an excellent example of what an MP should be. I want to be that type of representative for this constituency.”

“Bruce Stanton said to me once, “when you go to Ottawa you have a certain job, but when you come back to your riding, then you are working for the people, and don’t ever ask, “did you vote for me?””

“The only thing you should be asking constituents is how I can help you?”


Anyone not affiliated with the government side of managing Canada is going to be critical of many things being done. It doesn’t matter if it’s handling the pandemic, spending money, or favouring people or companies and Masin is no different. One could almost write his lines, or the lines of other nominee hopefuls, on these counts because the conservative party and the old and new leaders have not exactly been silent about government actions.

On the pandemic however, there is a portion of the public who don’t want to acknowledge the game is on, and don’t want to play by any rules, and those people tend to be conservatively oriented.

Dan Masin

“When you go around complaining about your rights, we’re in a pandemic. Well, I’m sorry, but in a pandemic we’re all supposed to come together. We’re all supposed to help each other, right?” Masin said.

“If you go around protesting you don’t want to wear a mask because it’s against your God given right not to, well, I’m not a doctor, but from what I’ve been able to understand, if I get a piece of the virus on my jacket, then I go to my parents home – and my dad’s 86 and my mom’s 80 – and I put this down and my dad happens to brush by it and this infected piece of cloth gets transferred over to him and if he catches that virus, he’s dead. I wear a mask, not just for myself, but for you too.”

The week of the interview he came mask to face with just such a person.

“I was annoyed. I said to him, “sir, it’s the law you have to be wearing a mask in a public place and we’re in a confined area in an elevator.” He was taking his right not to wear a mask and imposing it upon me and that’s where I draw the line. You can do and say anything you want as long as it doesn’t affect myself.”

“More principally, wearing a face mask should not be political. We should be saying as politicians, let’s concentrate on immigration, the economy, etc. and let’s leave this pandemic to the health experts who are educated to know what to do. When did I become a brain surgeon? I’m not.”

Rights, To Live, Love And Not Reproduce

This year has been an amplifier for a handful of rights issues. Policing, with its companion issue, racism, gay rights and abortion have all been in and out of the headlines. There are ties back to issues in the last election, one of which was immigration.

Dan Masin

“As the son of an immigrant, I grew up where I was confronted with racism when my grandparents couldn’t speak English well and people would make fun of my grandparents. For what? For hard working people? Canada is a country of immigrants and unless you are a Native American, you’re an immigrant.”

Resolution of each of those issues is a priority for many Canadians. Conservatives and religious groups, who in many cases support the conservative party, are viewed as being in the way rather than leading change.

“I refuse to get into religion. I believe you have the right to practice any religion you want to as long as it’s not affecting the next guy,” Masin said. “Not every conservative thinks that way. If you pick any fraction of today’s society and you try to generalize on that particular group, you’re going to be wrong.”

Specifically on abortion, while party leadership doesn’t want to touch the issue with a ten-foot pole, some backbenchers keep bringing it up.

“I’m going to get myself in hot water. I believe it’s a women’s right to choose. I’m a man. How am I going to turn to a woman and say I’m sorry you can or you cannot have this because this, that or the other?” said Masin.

“I don’t believe that a woman should be allowed legally to have an abortion after a certain amount of time. If it’s within the first couple of weeks, I know there’s people out there saying as soon as the sperm and the egg get together and start partying, that’s life. Maybe I’m not qualified to answer the question, but I believe it’s the right of a woman to choose.”

Gay rights are the flip side of the coin on personal rights.

“I only care about your actions and you word. I don’t care what shape or size, I don’t care what colour or creed, sexual orientation, or anything else you are. That’s’ how I was raised.  Everything else is just perception. They have a phrase, perception has nothing to do with reality,” said Masin.

“You have to step back and not categorize somebody or have a perception of who they are based on the way they look. How does that affect me if somebody else is homosexual, or lesbian? It doesn’t. It’s homophobic. That’s all it is.”


Even though policing is a provincial jurisdiction, there is the RCMP, a national police force. Ottawa does have some sway – and it is Ottawa which is the keeper of the criminal code (provinces enforce it). What many don’t realize is the RCMP operates in each province according to provincial regulation as well, so what goes on with the management of RCMP policing in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or eastern provinces is not necessarily what happens in Ontario.

This year stories of brutality have become front page, with new incidences coming to light  on a weekly basis, sometimes after hiding in the dark for months or years. Certainly it’s not on the three times a day scale of what American media portrays, but untoward events do happen in Canada. Disproportionally those incidents of alleged and proven police brutality are heaped on minorities.

Dan Masin

“I can’t stand hearing let’s have another investigation, or we’ll form another special committee that will take years and years and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. Any intelligent human being that participates in society knows there’s systemic racism,” said Masin.

“When my son went to school, I dropped him off and I witnessed him playing with other children that were South Asian, Chinese, White, Black and I thought to myself they weren’t born with prejudice and wouldn’t it be wonderful if adults could act the same way. The only way my son is going to learn prejudice is if I pass that down to him or if he’s involved in an environment where he learns that kind of behavior.”

“If we are fair to other people then just deal with the reality. There’s no debate here.”

The question posed, and the words of demonstrators paint with a broad brush when obviously all police departments are not created equal (The OPP has some problem cops, but on the whole is an exemplary force compared to many others in Canada) and Masin is quick to point out a precision is missing in the criticism.

“You’re not talking about the entire police force. Good news travels slow, bad news travels real fast, you’ve heard that, right? You take these examples, I’m not saying they are not true, I’m not saying they aren’t worth our attention, but what I am saying is there’s a small majority of any fraction of our society where the general rules are not necessarily (followed) like everybody else. You are going to get racist police officers. You’re going to get racist mortgage brokers.”

“When you have situations like that, of course there needs to be investigation, of course there needs to be accountability and there needs to be corrections. There needs to be a re-education because I’m no different than you, the only thing that separates us is our actions and our words,” Masin said.

The Elephant In The Room

Two issues, climate change and the nature of work may not seem to be tied together, but as one peels back the layers of each issue, one arrives at unemployment.  Advancing technology helps climate change and threatens employment. The latter is solved, in an increasing circle of informed opinion by Universal Basic Income. However, many conservatives don’t believe unemployment on a grand scale is going to happen, or that Universal Basic Income (UBI) should be adopted.

Dan Masin

“I believe in helping people when they are down. There is a charitable side to Dan Masin. There has to be certain amount of charity within the government, but I don’t think it should become a lifestyle,” said Masin.

Overlooked is UBI proponents say welfare, old age security, job incentive subsidies, disability and unemployment benefits would be rolled into one program, which would in turn reduce bureaucratic regimes and budgets.

‘You’re talking about a philosophical, socialistic view in which government should operate. The honest answer is I don’t believe in it. I believe if I’m down and out, you should help me, but the real way to me is to repair what is broken. Re-educate me. Instead of giving me universal income for the rest of my life, why don’t you pay for my education? If I’m downtrodden, give me a hand up and help me help myself. I will feel so much better about myself when I’m independent and contributing to society.”

“Government has to be there to help, government can’t be all. Government should be a mechanism to support the community. Justin Trudeau wants bigger government and wants to tell you what to do. I believe the conservative party wants to be supportive and give you the tools you need in life. It’s just fundamentally two different ways to look at it.”

Both the previous leader and Stephen Harper had a hard time even saying the words climate change. The perception is conservatives still don’t think the science and mountains of evidence are right.

“I really don’t think that’s a fair statement. I believe that the conservative party recognizes there’s climate change,” said Masin. In line with previous conservative leadership is the idea it’s a tax issue. “You are not going to elect me to wake up in the morning and think of another way to tax you. You’re going to elect me to figure out ways in which the town of Orillia, Midland, Penetang, Coldwater, etc. are going to function more efficiently and give you better services for perhaps the same amount of money, or less, so we don’t have to tax you as much.”

Of course the strongest contingent of elected members is from Alberta, and it would be loath for any conservative to slight oil. Many conservatives believe Alberta is being treated unfairly and neglected when it comes to revenue and jobs.

‘If we’re going to be fair, the federal government can’t be about one thing. If you believe in climate change, if you believe the world needs to take things more seriously, I think you also need to believe the transition can’t be instantaneous.”

“You can’t just turn the tap off. There has to be a gradual thing. It gives those people a livelihood. Alberta’s economy, prior to Justin Trudeau, was a godsend to the rest of the country. How many millions and billions of dollars did Alberta share in transfer payments with the rest of our country? We can’t be arrogant and say, you can’t do this.”


To many, the legacy of trade deals with China is hazardous to the country’s financial health, not to exclude political meddling. Whether it was previous government policy, chasing a market for Canadian big business at the expense of sustainability at home, or American retailers changing the landscape with cheap Chinese goods, people are becoming concerned daily about our reliance on China. Masin thinks we should be also looking in our own mirrors.

“We have always been so focused on getting something for less. We have always been focused on getting the cheapest pair of running shoes, the cheapest shirt, the least amount of money for our cars, etc. When you export those jobs then you are giving away control, you are giving away your destiny. If we can regain those jobs, if Orillia or Midland or Penetang or wherever were to get those jobs back, this economy would be much more prosperous.”

Getting Answers To Important Questions

When it comes to supporting policy and casting a vote in Ottawa MPs have to rely on someone to be informed on a wide range of subjects. Lobbyists and bureaucrats who listen to lobbyists may not be the best sources. The question is, who do you listen to?

Dan Masin

“You turn to experts. If I need brain surgery, I’m not going to do it myself. I’m going to consult an educated, professional brain surgeon. You have to have the integrity as an individual to say, yes, no, etc. here’s my opinion,” said Masin.

“Everybody’s got their own opinions, but those opinions may be different from the facts. As a representative I have to investigate. I can’t just take your word for fact.”

 ‘You have to look at all the different sources and you have to make your decision that’s going to best represent the most amount of people.”

So lobbyists and bureaucrats aren’t always right?

“No, of course not, and neither am I.”

As discussion closes, Masin’s last words are not a pitch for people to buy a party membership and vote for him, but about the prospect of what may be.

“I’m am so thrilled with the opportunity of representing the constituents of Simcoe North and being able to be a productive and positive representative of this community, bringing infrastructure, bring investment to the people. That’s what I’d like to create.”

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


Other nomination seekers:

Marcus Mattinson

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