Editorial note: As Ontarians head to the polls for the Thursday, Jun. 2, 2022 provincial election, we want to be your one-stop home base for everything you need to know in the Kingston area ridings. As part of this coverage, we’ve created profiles for each candidate (pending candidate availability) in Kingston and the Islands, Hastings—Lennox and Addington, and Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston. For these profiles, each candidate was asked the same list of questions, the responses to which we’ve compiled into an easy-to-read Q&A format, with additional links for more information. To view all of the profiles and additional election coverage, visit Kingstonist’s Provincial Election 2022 page.
Ric Bresee is your Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PC) Candidate for Hastings–Lennox and Addington. Born and raised in Amherstview, Bresee has lived most of his 55 years in the riding. He graduated from St. Lawrence College as a Business Systems Analyst, and spent 1996 to 2015 working full-time as a systems analyst and then as an adaptive technologist at his alma mater. Bresee has extensive experience in municipal politics: he has served on the Loyalist Township Municipal Council for 22 years, being re-elected five times and serving as councillor, deputy mayor, and mayor. Bresee is married to Heidi Galloway-Bourgoin and has a blended family, having raised five children, and now enjoys spoiling their two grandchildren.
What made you decide to run in this provincial election?
Well, as you know, I’ve been a municipal politician for a long time, about 22 years now, and looking at the last four years while I’ve been mayor, I’ve really been impressed with… the partnership between the municipality and our current retiring MPP, Darryl Kramp… It has really helped… to have that good cooperative relationship between the two levels. So I want to continue that, as Mr. Kramp is retiring. He’s been a fantastic champion for us, but he’s earned his retirement, certainly. And I really want to make sure that we continue to have that kind of relationship across both Hastings-Lennox and Addington counties, and ensure that we work well with our provincial partners.
In your opinion, what is the most important issue being discussed during this election?
When I have been out knocking on doors, the number one priority for people that I’ve been hearing is about the economy: the cost of living, good jobs, all that sort of thing. Rebuilding the economy and managing expenses is the most important thing for my residents, and should be the most important thing for this government. And I think the proposed budgets that have come out from Premier Ford are aiming directly at that: bringing new jobs, good jobs, helping with training, and building our economy, so that everyone prospers.
Is there one particular issue you would like to champion if you were elected to represent Hastings-Lennox and Addington?
Absolutely. Starting back at the beginning of the pandemic, both the federal and the provincial governments reached out and started trying to figure out how they needed to respond to the pandemic. And my answer… was consistent in that, if we’re going to have infrastructure spending, we need to do it at the small, community, local level, by building small things like bleachers in sports fields, new water mains, things of that nature. Every time you do a project like that, you’re hiring local people. You’re using local services and supplies, and you’re building that local economy. Having hundreds of small projects like that spread across not just this riding but across the entire province is, in my opinion, really valuable and a really efficient way to improve our economy. Personally, I think it’s even more so than the very large projects, the billions-of-dollars-worth-of-work-size projects that take place in some areas of the province.
What’s the biggest issue with the current makeup of the provincial government?
I’ve always believed that, after the election is over, we need to stop wearing our partisan stripes and start working cooperatively with all members across the house. I think that’s very important. I’d also want to make sure that the rural area [is represented]… What’s going on in rural Ontario is different than what’s going on in the large metropolises. So if I’m elected to represent Hastings-Lennox and Addington, I will represent Hastings-Lennox and Addington and all the communities across it. It’s a very large riding, and communities in HL&A… all have slightly different takes on it, but it will be a very different case than what will take place in Toronto and Ottawa, Kitchener, Waterloo, London, etc. This is a rural community with a lot of small communities, and they have different needs. But we need to represent those well.
What issue, if any, is most overlooked in the riding of HL&A?
One of the ones that I would like to look into is making sure that we are identifying agricultural lands properly. We absolutely need to protect our agricultural lands. But we also have a number of areas where the mapping says that the whole region is deemed agricultural, but there are pockets that have no agricultural purpose. And so the farmers that own those lands are stuck protecting and preserving that land, even though they can’t grow anything on it. So we need to do a better job of allowing farmers to manage their property, protecting the lands that do grow our food, but also allowing them to utilize the other lands that don’t grow our food in a way that best suits them.
If you could share one message with the voters in HL&A, what would it be?
Honestly, I’d give them all my phone number. Ultimately, the real role of any elected representative, and I’ve been doing it for 22 years as a mayor and councillor… is to listen to their problems. When we sit around the table to form… bylaws or budgets or provincial legislation… I need to listen to my residents and know that I’m carrying forward their thoughts and their needs.