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?
My husband and I have been living in South Glengarry since 1999. I am a self-employed visual artist and photographer and have been active and continue to support our Regional Arts community and various environmental groups in the Region. I put my name forward on the Green Party ticket as their platform and their vision of “solving old problems with new solutions with care for the planet” deeply resonated with me. As you know, I ran four years ago in the SG Municipal Election with the Platform of People Care, Earth Care, Fair Share. I innately know that we must find solutions to the various challenges we face with care for our planet. Our planet is our foundational home. We need clean water, clean air, productive soils, green spaces and corridors….. these are the essentials for life on this planet. I want to represent and assist my community as a Green MPP with solutions that allow people to co-flourish with our precious planet. We need solutions for housing, education, healthcare, transit, and business. What I consider the most critical issue for my riding and for all Ontarians is to do so, with care and respect for our planet. This is what we need for our populace today and in consideration for our generations to come.
2 – Tell us why you think your party leader is the best candidate for Premier of Ontario?
I have not met Mike Schreiner however I have met quite a few other Green supporters who are involved in the GPO who speak very highly of him. He has been described to me as being bold, ambitious, and honest. Furthermore he is the only party leader who is adamant about finding solutions with care for our planet.
3 – What will your political party do to address the cost of living and housing affordability?
My party will:
- address the housing affordability crisis by expanding zoning options to increase housing supply and implement vacancy and rent controls on all units.
- will make it more affordable for people to get around by cutting transit fares in half for an initial 3 months and increase affordability for e-bikes and new and used electric cars with rebates.
- will lower people’s utility bill with green retrofit programs
- address skyrocketing food prices by protecting farmland from urban sprawl (freeze urban boundaries) and implement a Grocery Code of Conduct to protect farmers, local food producers and consumers.
4 – What improvements need to be made to the healthcare system in Ontario?
We need to:
- protect public health
- fulfil remote and rural healthcare needs
- improve access and decrease wait times
- invest in healthcare workers
- one in 4 persons require mental health care, increase access to publicly funded mental health care
- build a more equitable healthcare system
- create a system with around the clock access
- expand support for addiction care
- prioritise prevention in our healthcare system
- create a robust system of primary care
- support strong hospitals
5 – Will taxes increase, decrease, or remain the same based on your party’s platform?
They will increase for the following:
- homeowners and corporations with more than two homes or condos will be asked to pay a 20% tax on their third property. This amount increases with every additional home.
- a province-wind vacant homes tax and an anti-flipping tax will be collected on quick turnaround sales
- the wealthiest of Ontarians with assets over $10 million see their taxes increase
- other tax revenues will be garnered from congestion charges, corporate taxes and business carbon fees
6 – In your opinion, how well did the Ford government handle the pandemic?
I think the majority of those in charge did the best they could. We were all weaving our way through uncharted territory.
7 – Will the minimum wage increase under your party’s platform, and if yes, by how much?
The Greens will increase the floor of the minimum wage each year by $1 starting at $16 in 2022, with a top-up in cities where the cost of living is higher.
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?
Bringing back Grade 13 is not part of the Green Party platform.
As for making post-secondary schooling and training more affordable the Greens will:
- Increase training opportunities by providing incentives for businesses that participate in training and certification programs in job growth areas such as green building, biomedical technology, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation.
- Provide incentives for businesses involved with green retrofits, reforestation, and other forms of green economic activity to provide Ontario youth with valuable job experience.
- Over the 4 years, give 60,000 people the skills and experience to work in the green economy through a year of free college tuition plus a year of guaranteed work when they graduate with targeted recruitment of women, Indigenous people, and racialized communities.
- Immediately reverse the Ford government’s cuts to OSAP by converting loans to grants for low and middle income students and eliminating interest charges on student debt.
9 – What will your political party do to address the environment and reduce vehicle emissions in Ontario?
The Greens will:
- phase out fossil fuels
- move to renewable, clean energy sources
- increase access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure
- make buildings energy efficient
- support municipalities to be climate leaders
10 – Does your party have a plan for affordable childcare, whether at daycare or before and after school programs?
My party has committed to implement a $10 a day child care plan.
11 – How much will your political party commit to ODSP recipients? Should the benefits to disabled Ontarioians be at a living wage level?
The Greens would phase in a Basic Income, with the first step being to double ODSP and OW rates and reduce aggressive clawbacks.
12 – What small town/rural issues does your platform address? How could this benefit SDSG?
The platform addresses:
- supporting and growing green business
- making Ontario safe and resilient
- strengthening environmental oversight and public consultation
- protecting biodiversity
- protecting farmland
- increasing access and support for local, nutritious food
- supporting local sustainable farming
- investing in the next generation of farmers
- making family farming more profitable
- improving funding models for education ensuring the formula takes in account the unique needs of remote and rural schools
These items would ensure we are prepared to deal with extreme weather events, would support our farmers today and the generations to come, and would incentivise our Municipalities to expand current tree canopy and natural vegetation policies which DO NOT presently support biodiversity.