1. Kingston has made some modest strides over the past few years to become Canada’s most sustainable city. What are the key environmental areas that you feel the city needs to improve upon? If elected, how would you and your party support continued green development in the Limestone City?
There are still issues with sewer discharge, legacy issues with closed garbage dumps and abandon properties that need to be addressed. We will offer fair and reasonable incentives or compensation to encourage Ontarians to help protect sensitive environmental land.
2. Middle and lower-income families have been under increasing financial pressures over the past few years thanks to high gasoline and utilities costs as well as the new harmonized sales tax. What relief, if any, can you promise to provide those who are experiencing difficulty making ends meet?
We will remove the HST from home hydro bills. We will remove the HST from the cost of home heating. We will remove the Debt Retirement Charge from home hydro bills. The HST has made life unaffordable for many families. Combine the HST with expensive energy experiments and hydro bills have soared. We will remove the provincial portion of the HST from those bills. We live in Canada. Heating our homes is not a luxury. Increasing the cost with a surprise tax increase is grossly unfair. We will remove the provincial portion of the HST from every home heating bill. This charge was added to hydro bills in 2002. As of 2010, the full amount had been collected – yet it was extended to 2018. It’s like a credit card you’ve paid off, yet have to keep paying, and no one tells you why. We will remove it from your hydro bill. We will cancel the eco taxes on items you use around your house everyday.To give families some tax relief and to spur economic growth, a Tim Hudak government will lower income taxes by 5% on the first $75,000 of taxable income. This will put $258 back in the pocket of a taxpayer earning $70,000 each and every year when our tax relief plan is fully implemented.
3. Post-secondary tuition fees have been on the rise for years, while they recently hit an all time high, averaging over $5,000 per year. Should changes to OSAP be considered? Otherwise, what do you propose to lessen the burden of tuition fees and daunting student debt loads?
Strong universities and colleges, focused on developing the innovations of tomorrow, are fundamental to creating a dynamic economy today. A Tim Hudak government will create up to 60,000 post-secondary spaces in Ontario. Individual colleges and universities will be asked to compete for these new spaces and find new ways to ensure access, affordability, and excellence in our post-secondary institutions. Greater co-ordination and co-operation between universities and colleges, such as the number of credit transfer programs, will amplify these opportunities. We will raise the threshold on financial support to make it more accessible for middle-class families to send their children to college or university.
We will end the Dalton McGuinty Liberals’ foreign scholarship program that puts foreign students ahead of Ontario students. We will reinvest those funds in our students instead.
4. In Kingston we have the Limestone District School Board, and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, both of which receive public funds via the Ontario Ministry of Education. Do you believe that funding or legislative changes are necessary to address concerns regarding secularism and discriminatory actions in our education system?
5. Our health care system has various shortcomings, including: lack of bed space, home care services, and rising prescription drug costs. How would you and your party address these issues to improve health care in Ontario?
We are committed to publicly funded health care for Ontario families. Everyone knows some change will be required to provide modern, sustainable care.
The size and scope of our health system obscures the most important person: the patient.
Care in Ontario is structured around forms, processes, long lines, and bureaucracy, when it should be built from the patient out. This is true when it comes to emergencies. It’s true when it comes to chronic diseases like cancer or diabetes. It’s especially true for people who have a mental illness who too often get lost in the system.
We will introduce a series of patient-centred reforms that make the patient – not bureaucracies, not administrators – the focus of our health care system.
We will increase annual investments in health care by more than $6 billion by the end our first term.
We will support our seniors and free up hospital beds by expanding long term care with 5,000 new long term care beds.
This is on top of the 35,000 renovated beds that will be coming on stream over the next ten years that will give more seniors additional privacy and dignity. This means shorter wait times and less worry about receiving appropriate and comfortable care for an aging parent.
We will give home care users more dignity, more flexibility and more say in determining where they acquire these important services. They will be able to choose to stay with the provider they have now, or pick a new government funded home care provider who better meets their individual needs.
We will encourage health care providers like doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to work collaboratively, particularly in under serviced areas to meet patients’ needs. We will increase residency placements for medical students from Ontario who have pursued world-class medical training outside Canada and want to return home to practice.
6. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing residents of Kingston and the Islands over the next five years? Further, if you are elected as our next Member of Provincial Parliament, how do you propose to solve it?
Building relationships with the Federal Government to partner in future projects. Having a member in the provincial government.