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 a proud public school teacher and parent. I am running for MPP because the pandemic highlighted for me just how broken our healthcare, long-term care and education systems are. I want them fixed, which means looking to the provincial government. The most critical issues I’ve heard from voters in SDSG are concerns about healthcare and affordability.
2 – Tell us why you think your party leader is the best candidate for Premier of Ontario?
Andrea Horwath is the best candidate for Premier of Ontario because she is the one who will stop the liberal and conservative cuts to healthcare, seniors care, and education. Andrea will invest in healthcare by adding dental and mental health coverage to OHIP, saving people thousands of dollars in healthcare costs. Andrea Horwath and the NDP will fix what’s broken in Ontario.
3 – What will your political party do to address the cost of living and housing affordability?
Housing is a human right. The NDP will make rent more affordable by bringing back rent control, and ending vacancy decontrol, which means that you will pay what the last tenant paid. We’re going to help people to buy a home by giving them 10% of the purchase price for the down payment. It’s called the Home in Ontario Program (HOP) and it’s an investment in people.
4 – What improvements need to be made to the healthcare system in Ontario?
The Ontario healthcare system is in crisis. With Andrea Horwath and the NDP team, we can fix what’s broken. We must restore respect for workers starting with immediately repealing Bill 124 and increasing PSW wages. If elected, the NDP will immediately begin work on a long overdue expansion of Ontario’s Community Health Centres, adding 20 new or satellite centres in communities where they are needed most. I will advocate at the provincial table for the needs of SDSG.
5 – Will taxes increase, decrease, or remain the same based on your party’s platform?
The NDP will freeze taxes on low- and middle-income households. We will close loopholes so that the wealthy few and rich corporations will have to pay their fair share. Corporations who recorded record profits throughout the pandemic should be held accountable. They profited off the backs of regular people.
6 – In your opinion, how well did the Ford government handle the pandemic?
The Ford conservative government mismanaged the pandemic response. The conditions, treatment of seniors, and ultimately the deaths in LTC were horrifying and never should have happened. An NDP government will eliminate private for-profit healthcare and replace it with public services, which will be transparent and accessible to all.
7 – Will the minimum wage increase under your party’s platform, and if yes, by how much?
The NDP has a plan for a path to $20 minimum wage in our first term. We will increase minimum wage to $16/hour in October 2022, with steady $1 increases every spring up to $20/hour in May 2026. It’s a plan that offers hope and respect for workers. It offers local businesses a stable, predictable path so they can prepare for changes. We’ll work with stakeholders to develop a fund to help legitimately struggling small and medium-sized
local businesses to transition to these higher wages and to determine how best to index the minimum wage after 2026
9 – What will your political party do to address the environment and reduce vehicle emissions in Ontario?
The NDP’s Green New Democratic Deal is the boldest, most effective and achievable climate plan Ontario’s ever had. Some highlights include Ontario’s first zero-emissions vehicle strategy, ramping up electric vehicle sales to hit a 100% target by 2035. We will have a building retrofit
program that will generate $15.2 billion in annual economic activity and create 100,000 jobs. We will bring in a fair and equitable cap and trade system and will work with municipalities, industry and to
10 – Does your party have a plan for affordable childcare, whether at daycare or before and after school programs?
An NDP government will explore ways to work with the federal government to speed up the implementation of $10-a-day child care. We will immediately increase the wage floor for child care workers to $25/hour for RECEs and $20/hour for all other program staff. We will work with the childcare sector to bring in a workforce strategy to make a job in childcare into a career. This includes developing a wage grid and decent work standards, including benefits and a pension and a strategy to help child care workers upgrade their qualifications.
11 – How much will your political party commit to ODSP recipients? Should the benefits to disabled Ontarioians be at a living wage level?
ODSP right now is not enough for people to live on. The liberals and conservatives have not sufficiently supported people with disabilities. If elected, the NDP will immediately increase ODSP payment by 20% and we will double the ODSP rate during our second year.
12 – What small town/rural issues does your platform address? How could this benefit SDSG?
Broadband is an essential service for rural Ontario communities and we will treat it like one. An NDP government will finally connect rural communities so agri-businesses have the broadband they need to compete, and rural families have the broadband they need to stay connected. We will deliver province-wide high-speed internet across rural Ontario by or before 2025.