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.
Derek Sloan is a husband, a father of three, a lawyer, a former Conservative Member of Parliament for Hastings-Lennox & Addington, and a self-described “freedom warrior.”
What made you decide to run in this provincial election?
I feel that this election is very important. From a provincial perspective, there are a lot of problems with the way that the government has handled their tenure over the last several years, and I think that there needs to be an option for people who are in favour of freedom and who feel that the blanket business lockdowns and vaccine mandates [are wrong]… and they need a candidate that’s willing to stand up and fight against that, and I wanted to continue to do that at the provincial level.
In your opinion, what is the most important issue being discussed during this election?
I think the most important issue that we’re facing right now is related to freedom issues. So, there’s the way that the government has responded to COVID-19, which of course they have not: they have not changed, even though the lockdowns and so on are gone. They’ve never said that they wouldn’t do it again. So we have the spectre, of sorts, of an ongoing response to COVID or perhaps other pandemics.
Free and open societies are being challenged… And we’re seeing that in a small part, in the sense that we’ve already seen a two-tiered society, with respect to whether or not you’ve been vaccinated and what services you can access.
What’s the single most common thing that constituents bring up to you when you’re going door to door?
The cost of living. We’re seeing inflation at the grocery store. We’re seeing the cost of housing rise out of reach for many people. I believe that our governments have caused this problem, along with other governments around the world. We have supply chain issues due to COVID-19; we have housing [issues], which has been perpetrated by various factors, but they’re all under the control of our government. And we need to make sure that we’re bringing manufacturing back to Ontario, that we’re implementing plans to bring housing levels down, which we, our party, has a plan to do.
What do you feel is one of the most overlooked issues in H-L&A?
I think that there’s a real need for more business investment in our riding. And I think that the nice thing about myself is that I happen to be the leader of a provincial party, so I can promise things effectively as premier, whereas other candidates can’t. Premiers have provincial-wide incentives for businesses to make their home or their headquarters or their main centre of operations, not just in, like, the GTA (Greater Toronto Area)… So as premier, I would implement tax breaks at the provincial level that would encourage businesses to have their centre of operations in more rural areas, because I think that one of the issues that we’re having with housing is, of course, a concentration of people in the GTA. You know, we do have a big province, and we need to make sure that we’re settling the entire province, not just sort of the Golden Horseshoe.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest issue with the current makeup of this provincial government?
Well, there’s no accountability… They’re a majority government, so they can basically do whatever they want, and they’ve run the government that way. We saw, again, some of the most Draconian lockdowns and other measures, the longest school closures in almost the entire world, to my knowledge. And not only did we see that, but we saw an increase in our debt levels as well. Everyone used to complain about Kathleen Wynne’s government and the debt levels there, but our debt is growing now. You know, we’ve almost added another 50 per cent to the debt in this province. Ontario used to be the province with the most sub-sovereign debt in the world per capita, and it still is. And I think that’s a major, major problem.
If you could share one message with voters in H-L&A, what would it be?
I can’t be bought or sold as a person… The main mainstream parties don’t give space for their members or their candidates to vote their minds freely. They basically have to do whatever the leader of their party tells them to do. Our party, the Ontario Party, believes in free votes, so every individual candidate can vote their mind and evoke what their constituents want. And that’s something that is missing and very important in our system… Our province is different. There are different areas with different needs… So we need less of this sort of cracking the whip mentality, and more true democratic principles in government… We need to bring some truth and transparency back into government, and people can count on me to do that.
To find more information about the Ontario Party and Derek Sloan, visit their website.