Millstone sends out election interview for provincial candidates

2011106-ontario-provincial-election-resultsThe Millstone sent out the following questions to provincial election candidates on May 27. We intend to publish responses to these questions on Monday June 9, 2014.

REQUEST FOR RESPONSES FROM CANDIDATES IN CARLETON-MISSISSIPPI MILLS

The Millstone is an on-line newspaper serving Mississippi Mills. It has 9,000 regular readers. We asked our readers to send us questions for the local candidates in the provincial election. In addition, we consulted the Ontario Rural Institute which has published a list of questions relevant to smaller communities.

We have compiled these questions and are sending them to you and other candidates for response. We will print your answers unedited in the Millstone (except for typos or potentially defamatory material). We intend to publish the answers on June 9. Would you kindly review the questions and provide us with your position on the various topics?

The Economy

  • The recent performance of the rural Ontario economy in terms of job growth has been poorer than in urban places. What is your proposed approach to support the development of job opportunities in rural Ontario and small towns?
  • Rural Ontario stakeholders are concerned about youth employment/underemploymentin their communities. How does your party’s platform respond to these concerns?
  • Fiscal stability at the municipal level concerns many rural citizens. How would your government deal with cost-sharing between levels of government? What transfers/investment programs do you believe require change or continued support in the coming years?
  • Skills training and access to post-secondary programs affects both the future incomes of young people as well as the ability of employers to find the talent they need. What would you government do to ensure rural youth have appropriate skills and that they can access relevant programs locally and affordably?
  • Property taxes have no relationship to ability to pay.  Income tax is progressive.  Municipalities large and small have funding problems.  Shouldn’t the provincial government play a far larger role in funding municipal services through income and consumption taxes?
  • How will you reduce Ontario’s debt, and enable our province to live within its means?  What is your time frame?
  • What is your position on ensuring that all employees receive, at the very least, a decent  wage (i.e., a wage that covers basic living expenses)  for a regular day’s work?

Health Care and an Aging Population

  • What is your party’s platform with respect to the accessibility of health care and quality medical servicesnear to rural and small town residents? Is the current situation satisfactory? What would you improve? What is your plan to reduce waiting lists and limits to the health care that is available in the home?
  •  Rural and small town Ontario has an older demographic than urban places, making services for aging population a priority for many rural stakeholders. Does your party have an aging strategy or set of programs or policies that it would implement specific to a rural/small town context?

Electricity

  •  If you were to win the election how would your government’s strategy affect the cost of electric power? What steps would your government take to deal with the generation and distribution of energy in the province? What is the plan to bring Ontario One under control?
  • A company called Enerdu proposes to significantly expand a hydro power generating plant on the river in central Almonte. Local citizens oppose this plan as it will change the aesthetics of the Mississippi River and falls, a central element in the beauty of the town and a tourist attraction. There is also concern that the hydro plant as now operated and as proposed is contributing to the death of a wetland forest at Appleton. The project will offer jobs during construction of the power plant, but at most, one permanent job thereafter. Enerdu will sell the power generated to the Ontario grid.  No financial benefit will accrue to the town. What is your position on this project? What action will you take as our MPP if you are elected.

Nature and the environment

  • What would your party do to protect the qualityof water in Ontario lakes, streams and rivers?
  • What actions will you take to protect our natural habitat and promote a sustainable economy?
  • Does your party think the current policy regime surrounding farmland loss and farmland protection is adequate? What policy changes or initiatives would your government take to respond to this concern?
  • What actions would your government take to support the development of local food systems?

Education

  •  Where do you stand on amalgamating Public and Catholic School Boards?

Liquor control

  • Where do you stand on alcohol being available in convenience stores?