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 want to be our MPP for this area to have an impact on the riding that I have always called home. During my years spent with the United Way and numerous other organizations, I quickly came to realize that SDSG encompasses a very passionate area filled with many community minded volunteers. The positive influence one can have while serving on a board of directors is significant, and I believe that by running to be our next MPP, I can have a larger impact. Our end of the province has a significant number of infrastructure needs that have long been placed on the backburner. With my business experience I understand the need to always be improving your process and product and I am confident I can bring that mentality to Queen’s Park.
2 – Tell us why you think your party leader is the best candidate for Premier of Ontario?
Doug Ford is the best candidate for Premier as he is always working to Get it Done. He doesn’t believe in empty promises and endless studies; he wants to see action. After many years of being subjected to wasteful spending by the Liberal government, our infrastructure was crumbling. The PC government is working hard to bring well paying jobs back to our province, specifically within the auto and manufacturing industries. As we exit the pandemic, getting our economy on the right track is paramount for the continued future of all Ontarians. Doug understands the importance of our agricultural community and how buying from local Ontario vendors puts us in the best position to help everyone.
3 – What will your political party do to address the cost of living and housing affordability?
Our party has firmly committed to building 1.5 million homes in the next ten years. One of the fastest ways to help achieve this goal is by focusing on developing the trades. Removing 5.7 cents of the provincial portion of the gas tax quickly addresses an immediate need for relief at the pumps. Offering rebates and removing the fee for your vehicle license plate sticker are simple ways to put more money back into the pockets of citizens to spend in our economy. Raising the ODSP by 5% and then indexing the rate to inflation in the coming years will bring some much-needed help to those in most need of assistance.
4 – What improvements need to be made to the healthcare system in Ontario?
Our PC plan is to redevelop over 27,000 and build 30,000 new long term care beds. This will help to alleviate the immense pressure felt in our hospitals. Redevelopment of health care assets is vitally important to ensure we have the proper tools available for our health care professionals. Working with doctors to have rural Ontario covered is crucial when it comes to allowing people the flexibility to stay and receive treatment in their own neighbourhoods. Additionally, expanding access to home care in the coming years will help to reduce the burden on our health systems and allow seniors the freedom to age at home.
5 – Will taxes increase, decrease, or remain the same based on your party’s platform?
The Progressive Conservatives will NOT increase taxes. Our belief is that the more people who are working, and working in good paying jobs, the bigger the benefit that there will be to the economy. Keeping money in the pockets of wage earners is the first step in helping to ease financial pressures and allowing people to spend directly into their local economies. We need to learn that finding efficiencies is more effective than continuing to reach into the pockets of hard-working taxpayers.
6 – In your opinion, how well did the Ford government handle the pandemic?
I believe the Ford government handled the pandemic as well as could possibly be expected while dealing with an unprecedented situation. What is important to remember is that there was no “playbook” on pandemic management, and I believe the PC government both adapted and responded well to the changing science as it became available. Being a small business owner myself, I understood the fine balance between keeping your people safe and ensuring a well managed economy.
7 – Will the minimum wage increase under your party’s platform, and if yes, by how much?
The minimum wage is set to increase by $0.50 this fall and will continue to be raised on a yearly basis so that it is tied to inflation.
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?
Working with many high school students at the restaurant, in the past there have been some who decided to stay back an extra year! The option of staying for an extra year of high school has always been available and utilized since the removal of grade 13. Keeping the choice to stay an extra year is a personal decision and it is best kept that way for the good of students and parents in Ontario. Continuing to provide grants and bursaries to students helps to keep post secondary schooling and training more affordable. The PC government tuition freeze will ensure that costs remain manageable for all students.
9 – What will your political party do to address the environment and reduce vehicle emissions in Ontario?
Investing in EV auto manufacturing within the province helps to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles in Ontario, as well as keeping good paying jobs in our province. A provincial loan of $500 million to ArcelorMittal Defasco in Hamilton invests in the province by giving the company the funds needed to remove coal-based steel production and replace it with low emission technology. We can address environmental issues by focusing on advancing technology, some of the best in the world being based right here in Ontario, as opposed to trying to tax our way to a greener planet.
10 – Does your party have a plan for affordable childcare, whether at daycare or before and after school programs?
Our party just recently signed Ontario into the Federal $10 a day daycare deal. By negotiating a fair deal for Ontario, the PC government was able to secure a fifth year for families in Ontario at a much-reduced rate. By giving families a reasonable price for childcare, more parents will be financially able to work outside the home and contribute to the economy.
11 – How much will your political party commit to ODSP recipients? Should the benefits to disabled Ontarians be at a living wage level?
Our party has committed to a 5% increase in ODSP payments. We have also committed to increasing the payments annually, tied to rise with inflation.
12 – What small town/rural issues does your platform address? How could this benefit SDSG?
Our platform is committed to building infrastructure across Ontario, including rural Ontario. By having myself as the voice of our riding I am going to ensure a strong voice for you at Queen’s Park.