Six Questions with Amanda Pulker-Mok, Liberal Party candidate for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston
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.
Amanda Pulker-Mok is a mother, teacher, and former Mississippi Mills councillor, who feels Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston has been underrepresented for the past 14 years. She wants to change that and be a strong voice for the riding – the community she calls home – while pushing for what she considers positive and necessary changes in health care, long-term care, and education. She describes herself as “someone who promotes inclusion and equity and makes decisions based on science.”
What made you decide to run in this provincial election?
I ran in 2018 because of an experience with my mom going through the health care system. I saw firsthand the gaps in care, especially around home care and long-term care. So deciding to run this time around was pretty easy because we’ve been through the pandemic, and everyone knows now what I knew back then, when it comes to caring for those who are requiring home care and long-term care.
I’m a teacher, and I saw our education system firsthand, being in the classroom. I really believe that I have something to offer, and that’s why I’m running.
In your opinion, what is the most important issue being discussed during this election?
I’ve been out door-knocking for months, and I definitely hear about affordability. Under the Ontario Liberal Plan, we’ve talked about raising minimum wage to 16 dollars an hour while we create a living regional wage, … bringing back the guaranteed basic income pilot, raising ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) and social assistance by 20 per cent over two years, increasing seniors’ pensions by $1,000 dollars, as well as reducing gas prices by 5.7 cents over a six-month period. But health care is also a top issue that I hear about, especially around doctor shortages in our more rural areas. And it’s not just attracting the doctors but retaining the doctors as well. We have a plan to hire 100,000 new doctors, nurses, [and] allied health care professionals, and create community health centres. We know that health care workers like to work in a team setting, and so we would like to support that model as much as possible… as well as bring in nurse practitioner-led clinics, which I think is particularly important [and] a model that would work well in our riding. [Also], look at the scope of a pharmacist’s work. Pharmacists really stepped up during the pandemic, and we would look at their scope of practice as well. First and foremost, though, is repeal Bill 124 [which limits compensation increases for public sector workers]. When it comes to health care, we need to make sure our front line workers are being compensated appropriately.
What is the single most common thing constituents bring up when you’re going door-to-door?
I often hear about affordability; and health care, long-term care, seniors’ care [are] also definitely top of mind for many. We have a growing retirement community across our riding, and people want to stay in their homes… The fact that the Liberals have committed to ending for-profit care homes, that is something that is definitely resonating with residents out this way a lot. As well as raising PSW (Personal Support Worker) wages to $25 an hour and putting an emphasis on full-time work… I definitely hear a lot about seniors’ care as well.
What do you feel is one of the most overlooked issues for your riding?
I think one thing that doesn’t come up enough is around agriculture and the role farmers that play in our… lives and our local economy as well. Agriculture is one thing that I would like to talk more about, but it’s not something that usually comes up at the door.
Is there one particular issue you would like to champion if elected to represent Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston?
Obviously because of my connection to my mom, and the experience that I had going through home care and long-term care, of course I would really champion for seniors. As a teacher, education and looking at the funding formula which tends to favour large urban centres as opposed to rural schools, so advocating for our rural schools. Doctors, because that’s one of the top things I hear about knocking on doors is that people don’t have access to a family doctor. And broadband: we need broadband, reliable and affordable. I was speaking with somebody yesterday… and they pay $170 a month for their internet service. It’s not just that we need internet service out in rural areas, but that service needs to be affordable and comparable to what other areas in the province pay.
If you could share one message with voters in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, what would it be?
It’s time for change in our riding. We have been underrepresented for far too long. I’m running because I’m a community leader who believes in listening, and bringing people together. I believe in collaboration and working toward consensus. I believe in investing in people. And Liberals are the only ones to ever beat Conservatives, so if you don’t want four more years of Ford… you need to vote Liberal. You need to vote Amanda Pulker-Mok.
To find out more about Amanda Pulker-Mok and the Ontario Liberal Party, visit her campaign website.