BRIGHTON — Provincial election candidates for Northumberland-Quinte West made a stop at ENSS Sept. 19 to answer questions.
Hosted by the Brighton and District Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) and The Brighton Independent, the meeting saw all four candidates field questions on a variety of issues.
A concerned citizen asked about the 407 toll route, which he compared to loan sharking, and wondered why a foreign owned company has the right to suspend a person’s right to make an honest living without due process and are exempt from Canadian law.
“Frankly I don’t think they bought it – they stole it,” said Liberal incumbent Lou Rinaldi about the sale of the 407 to a foreign company. He added he has no problems with toll roads and his party tried to get the 407 back in 2003, but the contract was impossible to break with the company. The Liberals are planning to extend the highway, he said, but this new portion will be a public asset with tolls returning to the Ontario treasury.
Originally published in The Northumlandnews.com on August 13th, 2011. To go to the Globe and Mail website please click here
CARP President Ken Prue expressed Brighton’s need for a new seniors’ centre and asked the candidates what would they do to achieve that.
All four candidates expressed their enthusiasm towards working with the individual municipalities to help them achieve their goals. Green Party candidate Judy Smith Torrie said she would like to have an economic summit in Northumberland-Quinte West.
“It would involve all three levels of government touring each of the communities explaining what they are doing to create jobs and economic development. The Green Party is focused on making our local communities as diverse and as secure as possible,” she said.
Mary Robertson asked what the four provincial contenders do to reduce the cost of living for Ontarians and in particular seniors.
PC hopeful Rob Milligan said during his door knocking campaign, cost of living was the number one issue for residents.
“At the end of the month hard working families and seniors are finding it hard to balance their budgets. What we are proposing to do is take the eight per cent HST off electricity bills and get rid of the debt retirement charge,” he said.
Mr. Rinaldi responded, saying the Liberals took 10 per cent off hydro bills in April this past year and implemented property tax rebates for seniors with medium or low income. Ms. Smith Torrie said her party would not remove the HST from energy bills because it promotes energy conservation. To counter balance that, she said, they will not cut corporate taxes for large corporations which she said the Liberals and Conservatives both plan to do.
NDP candidate Kira Mees said they have a comprehensive plan around supporting seniors and others and will also remove the HST from energy bills.
“A new housing benefit was announced this week, by the NDP, that would help those whose rent is unaffordable and it would be available to 200,000 Ontarians,” she said, adding they have also pledged to increase the amount of hours for home care for seniors as well.
By having someone stay in their home, it is projected it could save nearly $50,000, she said, and also allows someone the dignity to live where they want to.