As candidates wrap up campaigning for the June 2 provincial election, we invited all seven who are vying to represent Parry Sound-Muskoka to answer five questions of local importance.
Their answers are listed in randomly generated order.
Municipalities have often been referred to as “creatures of the province”. Do you believe municipalities should have greater or lesser autonomy, and in what way?
Erin Horvath, NDP
Municipalities need a stable partner in the provincial government while empowering them to use their local expertise to carry out planning and delivery in a way that meets the needs of their citizens.
Unlike this Conservative government, the NDP would not interfere in municipal elections. The NDP respects municipal planning processes and will not use Municipal Zoning Orders to override municipal planning, which this government did an unprecedented 43 times, 19 of which were to build on prime agricultural or wetlands.
We will restore powers of the environment commissioner, and ensure conservation authorities have the tools, funding, and authority they need to lead integrated watershed management and enforce watershed development regulations.
The NDP will work with municipalities, industry, and Stewardship Ontario to improve and expand the producer responsibility model of waste diversion to include more sectors and set higher recycling targets.
The NDP will reverse cuts by the Conservative and Liberal governments by reinstating the 50 per cent operating funding costs to municipalities to run municipal transit which would be entirely converted to electric by 2040.
Provincial governments have dropped the ball of leadership for funding affordable rental housing. The NDP will build 250,000 new affordable rental units over 10 years which will be geared to income or below market rent. In addition we will build 60,000 new supportive housing units. We will repair 260,000 social housing units that are in desperate need of repair, supporting the District in delivering this service.
See the NDP platform here.
Brad Waddell, Populist Party
Municipalities are another level of government and red tape for people to wade through and increase their taxes. I believe they should have less autonomy and be reviewed regularly to determine their effectiveness and usefulness to the taxpayer.
See the PPO platform here.
Matt Richter, Green Party
There’s a lot we can do to support our municipalities and the work they do. For example, when it comes to housing, we need to empower municipalities with a consistent framework for evaluating the minimum size of a home in order to allow for more tiny communities. Let’s work with municipalities to implement a province-wide vacant home tax to make it harder to use vacant homes as a lucrative place to park cash.
We’re also calling on municipal leaders to support and bring back passenger rail to Parry Sound-Muskoka. Let’s immediately restore the Northlander passenger rail service between Toronto and Cochrane and provide upfront capital to ensure its sustainability for the long-term.
How we respond to extreme weather events can also come down to how and whether we support municipalities with the resources they need. Just recently, the Ontario Greens announced a $2 billion per-year Climate Adaptation Fund that will support municipalities with more resilient infrastructure when major wind or other storms roll through.
See the Green Party platform here.
Doug Maynard, New Blue Party
Municipalities should have more autonomy. New Blue advocates less government interference and controlling that municipalities as well as individuals should be subjected to. Government has consistently demonstrated that subjecting everyone and all municipalities to the same rules and regulations just doesn’t work. The people of Parry Sound-Muskoka have a lot of different needs and wants than the large metropolitan areas that the established big government parties cater to. As an MPP I would always push to promote Parry Sound-Muskoka interests over catering to the larger cities.
See the New Blue platform here.
Andrew John Cocks, Ontario Party
Ford’s PC party likes to say Ontario is ‘Open For Business’, but these are just words when not accompanied by the development of municipalities, and communities, particularly in Northern Ontario, that will be capable of attracting and supporting businesses who want to set up shop here. Municipalities should have greater autonomy when it comes to making decisions that directly impact the best use of land, resources and infrastructure.
Northern Ontario communities must be able to attract business and employment opportunity by having all the amenities, like health care services and schools. The communities must also be made more accessible by highway and railway.
The Ontario Party will take all measures necessary to open up Northern Ontario.
An Ontario Party government will:
- Reduce environmental red tape for construction projects in Northern Ontario.
- Shore up resources to repair damaged roads and infrastructure across Ontario.
- Expand railroad lines in Northern Ontario.
- Add arteries from the Trans Canada Highway to townships in Northern Ontario.
- Develop Northern townships with public amenities.
See the Ontario Party platform here.
Graydon Smith, PC Party
I served as the Mayor of Bracebridge and as a District Councilor for 12 years. I also served as the President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). As a municipal leader, I have direct experience in working with the province to get things done.
I believe in the power of local government. My record as mayor and district councilor speaks to my unwavering belief that effective local representation can be a powerful force for good in people’s lives. Our communities have seen this firsthand. By partnering with former-mayor Scott Aitchison and working together, we secured the future of our hospitals and of local healthcare for many generations to come. As mayor, I played a major role in building affordable housing and critical local infrastructure like community centres, libraries and shelters. This is something my opponents can’t say.
I believe municipal leaders need to be able to address issues, concerns and opportunities in a truly local way. A one-size fits all approach doesn’t work. I saw this during my time as President of AMO.
I will advocate to give local municipalities as much autonomy as possible.
See the PC platform here.
Daniel Predie Jr, independent
Abolish all provinces. In abolishing all provinces, we also wipe out the privately incorporated law society businesses and their lawyer members which then permits us, due to the lack of legalese, to get in and Lawfully round up the rest. Trust can then slowly be nurtured, including transparency in downloading tax dollars, between municipalities and the federal level of governance.
Election day in Ontario is June 2, 2022. Advance polls are open now. Find details on when and where to vote at elections.on.ca.
If you’re on the voters list, you should have received a voter information card in the mail. Bring your voter information card and one piece of ID showing your name when you go to vote.
If you did not receive a voter information card, you can still vote, but your name may not be on the voters list. Bring one piece of ID showing your name and current residential address when you go to vote.
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