As it is customary during election time, The Seeker has sent each candidates questions to answer so they can introduce themselves, and their platform, to potential voters. The questions were sent to all candidates and they were given the opportunity to answer a minimum of five questions, but could answer as many as they wanted. We will publish their answers as they come in.
Questions by Jason Setnyk.
1 – Tell us about yourself and why you want to be the MPP of SDSG? b) What do you consider the most critical issue for our riding?
I am your average Ontario citizen, not a career politician. Having served my country in the CAF, I have now decided to do so as a public servant of the constituents of SDSG. I believe in accountability and transparency to the electorate.
SDSG consists of urban, indigenous and rural Ontarians, each having their own personal and collective critical issues that affect quality of life. The shutting down of industrial wind turbines is of key concern for our rural residents, and this action will also grow Ontario’s economy by an estimated 5% annually. This new revenue will assist in addressing common critical issues like health care (including mental health), cost of living, education, and environmental challenges.
2 – Tell us why you think your party leader is the best candidate for Premier of Ontario?
Jim Karahalios is a leader, a builder, and a fighter for what is true and what is best for the people of Ontario. Since 2016, Jim has a track record of advocating for political integrity, transparency and accountability. We all witnessed how the Ford PC government simply danced to the tune of Trudeau’s Liberals, and there wasn’t a single leader from the established provincial parties who stood up and challenged the PC government overreach. Only New Blue MPP – Cambridge, Belinda Karahalios, stood up to challenge the Ford PC government. Jim Karahalios, will lead with integrity, transparency and accountability as a right-of-centre alternative in Ontario provincial politics.
3 – What will your political party do to address the cost of living and housing affordability?
Our Provincial government has to stop the irresponsible spending that is the legacy of the Ford PC’s so that it can redirect tax revenue to assist Ontarians with cost of living and affordable housing. New Blue will reduce HST from 13% to 10%. New Blue is also committed to cancelling Doug Ford’s industrial carbon tax and shutting down the industrial wind turbines. The Ford PC government is currently subsiding electricity cost with tax payers’ dollars to the tune of $6.9 billion. This amount exceeds Ford’s budget for Long Term Care.
4 – What improvements need to be made to the healthcare system in Ontario?
New Blue plans to restore dignity and transparency in our healthcare by expanding early treatment for COVID-19, and clearing the backlog of procedures by rehiring healthcare workers and offering choice in healthcare services. As we grow Ontario’s economy by 5% annually, we can direct new revenue to essential healthcare services. In addition, defunding the establishment media by canceling Toronto Star’s $500 M online gambling license, scrapping the $100M taxpayer subsidy of political parties, and taxing all corporate media that receive any of the $600M federal government taxpayer “bailout” subsidies will provide much needed revenue to redirect to the more important issues like healthcare.
5 – Will taxes increase, decrease, or remain the same based on your party’s platform?
Ontarians will see a DECREASE in taxes as the New Blue provides tax relief with a 3% cut in the HST and axes the Doug Ford carbon tax. As well, New Blue is committed to growing Ontario’s economy at 5% annually by taking down wind turbines to reduce electricity rates and slashing the regulatory burden to improve productivity province-wide.
6 – In your opinion, how well did the Ford government handle the pandemic?
Ford could have handled the pandemic much better. Two weeks to flatten the curve turned into two years of rotating lockdowns which were not based on the developing science. Lockdowns resulted in disruption of education, irreparable harm to many local small businesses, and a negative impact on our society. While vaccines were rolled out, early therapeutics were not prescribed for those who tested positive for Covid. Even individuals who qualified for monoclonal antibodies were often not advised of this option. I believe that early therapeutics would have saved many individuals from hospitalization and even death.
7 – Will the minimum wage increase under your party’s platform, and if yes, by how much?
As MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry I would advocate to continue to annually adjust Ontario’s minimum wage to keep pace with the cost of living.
8 – Should we bring back Grade 13 temporarily to help students better prepare for post-secondary after numerous disruptions during the pandemic? Second, what can we do to make post-secondary schooling and training more affordable for students?
I believe that temporarily reinstating Grade 13 (e.g. 2022/2023) is a good idea. Over the last two years, in-class education was disrupted and many students are ill-prepared for the challenges of University or College. In my opinion, co-op programs are excellent opportunities for post-secondary students to earn money and receive on the job experience that will benefit them in the work force after graduation. Given our health care shortage, I also would support subsidizing post-secondary education in this field with the stipulation providing that students who receive subsidy would practice their profession in rural and/or remote municipalities for the first five years.
9 – What will your political party do to address the environment and reduce vehicle emissions in Ontario?
New Blue is committed to protecting our environment. We will begin by shutting down the industrial wind turbines in our province. This will not only contribute to a reduction in our electricity cost, but it will help protect our precious water resources. By stopping the industrial wind turbine expansion, New Blue will also save trees that are being razed to clear the way for wind. On a personal level, I would advocate for a tax credit for land owners to preserve their forested land, instead of growing corn for ethanol gas. As for reducing vehicle emissions, I believe we need to give incentives to vehicle manufacturers to improve in this area, continue to test and only approve vehicles that pass an emission test. While there is a push for electric vehicles, no one talks about the negative impact on our environment that these vehicles will have. A cost-benefit analysis would quickly expose this reality.
10 – Does your party have a plan for affordable childcare, whether at daycare or before and after school programs?
The problem isn’t only affordable childcare, but a need to increase the spaces available to parents for affordable, quality day care. Local elementary schools are well equipped to handle the numbers of children attending those schools who require daycare or who can benefit with before or after school programs. Parents with pre-school aged children would likely prefer day care spots close to their place of work, whether that is an office building or out of the home. As MPP I would support creative initiatives to help parents and their children with affordable, quality childcare.
11 – How much will your political party commit to ODSP recipients? Should the benefits to disabled Ontarians be at a living wage level?
New Blue is committed to improving the life of all Ontarians. Recipients of ODSP and their families should never be considered second-class citizens. I would personally support an increase in ODSP recipients’ wage level in line with cost of living. There are other factors to consider such as ODSP health benefits, and employment training (just to name two). The Ford PC government spent billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money for useless industrial wind turbines, a $500M bailout for the Toronto Star’s on-line gambling license, and a $100M taxpayer subsidy for established political parties. New Blue will redirect that revenue to the residents of Ontario, including the recipients of ODSP.
12 – What small town/rural issues does your platform address? How could this benefit SDSG?
New Blue is committed to shutting down industrial wind turbines in the province, and specifically in the SDSG. This action will benefit our rural residents and will grow Ontario’s economy at 5% annually by reducing electricity rates. In addition, the New Blue platform will cut HST by 3% and will axe the Doug Ford carbon tax. All of these New Blue initiatives will benefit all SDSG residents and with regard to the shutting down of industrial wind turbines, our rural residents who have been fighting to be heard for over four years.