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 (in randomly generated order) will be published over the next three days.
What in your opinion is the single most important issue facing Parry Sound-Muskoka in this election?
Andrew John Cocks, Ontario Party
Simply put, the supply of homes is too low and demand for homes is too high, and, on both fronts, our current politicians are mostly to blame for this crisis. The solution is not government funding funnelled to new homeowners.
Currently, related to supply, policies of Doug Ford’s provincial government intentionally restrict the building of types of homes that could significantly alleviate our housing crisis.
Specifically, through prohibitive zoning regulations, Ford’s government prevents construction of family dwellings that are not single-family homes. Duplexes and four plexes and even tiny homes are forbidden where they are most needed.
I and an Ontario Party Government would reform Urban Planning and adjust single family zoning in Parry Sound-Muskoka to give property owners more freedom to construct multi-unit residential dwellings, accessory apartments and legalize tiny homes where appropriate.
I and an Ontario Party Government would establish an Ontario-focused foreign purchasing ban on residential homes and vacant land which will increase opportunities for First Time Home Buyers to get into the market without as much competition.
We would also secure the same right in Ontario to set immigration policy as the Province of Quebec and use those powers to adjust, and necessarily reduce, immigration rates.
See the Ontario Party platform here.
Daniel Predie Jr, independent
The single most important issue facing Parry Sound-Muskoka is still corruption including that through exploitation of our immigration impacting real estate and rental markets, privately incorporated political party businesses and their legally indemnified members, lawyers and their legalese perverting justice, legal enforcers serving and protecting it all, non-verifiable electronic voting methods and advanced polled paper ballots controlling election outcomes, tax dollars being paid out instead of closure through conviction, etc.
Doug Maynard, New Blue Party
In my opinion, and based on what I have been hearing from people, the biggest issue is the cost of living and how hard it has become for the average person to make ends meet. Unlike the PC, NDP, and Green parties, who are all promising to further increase Ontario’s already massive deficit, the New Blue Party is offering solid solutions to reduce taxes and energy rates to put more money in people’s pockets, rather than make false and unrealistic promises.
See the New Blue platform here.
Erin Horvath, NDP
Housing and affordability. Workers have moved out of our riding in search of affordable housing, leaving businesses understaffed. We have soaring gas, utilities, insurance, food, and childcare; wages that are not enough to make ends meet. Mental health is at a crisis point for many, especially those on a fixed income and youth.
The NDP tackle housing and affordability which is what we need to build back the worker base that supports our small businesses:
- We’ll build 250,000 geared to income and below market rate rentals over 10 years.
- Introduce a non-resident speculation tax of 20 per cent to cool down the housing market.
- Give 10 per cent down payment for new home buyers.
- Free dental care (for households making less than $90,000/yr) and a sliding scale thereafter, universal pharmacare, and mental health covered under OHIP; early intervention prevents more costly treatment at hospitals.
- Regulate gas prices by tying it to crude prices.
- Use Ontario only Cap and Trade revenues to reduce energy costs in rural and northern Ontario while investing in renewables and electric.
- Increase minimum wage to $20/hr by 2026 in $1/year increments.
- Speed up the federal $10/day daycare.
- Repeal Bill 124 so health care and education workers’ pay can rise with inflation.
- Regulate auto, residential, and commercial insurance.
- Ensure rent control for all residential and business leases.
This will be funded by increasing tax for the very wealthy (one per cent for $220,000+ and two per cent for $300,000+) and for large corporations (13 per cent); cancelling the mega highways.
See the NDP platform here.
Graydon Smith, PC Party
The single biggest issue I’m hearing from people is the rising cost of living. Inflation has made life very expensive. Groceries, gas, new homes and other everyday items are forcing people to make some difficult decisions that they shouldn’t have to make. The Ontario PCs are the only party that has put forward a plan to keep costs down and make life less expensive.
We believe that each family is in the best position to determine how to best spend their money, not the government. That’s why we’re putting more money back into people’s pockets. Our plan will result in the average household saving thousands of dollars.
We’re cutting the gas tax, ending and refunding unnecessary government fees, cutting income taxes for lower-income people, raising ODSP and indexing it to inflation, raising the minimum wage, and implementing $10/day daycare.
We’re the only party with a plan to make life less expensive.
See the PC platform here.
Matt Richter, Green Party
The cost of living is simply too high for most working people and their families. Young folks can’t find an affordable home to rent, which affects the ability of small business owners to recruit talented workers from all over. And while we desperately need funding to fix roads and bridges and schools, Doug Ford wants to waste billions on wasteful infrastructure projects like the 413 highway.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We have a platform for affordable housing that has been called the gold standard for addressing this crisis. Our plan expands zoning to allow fourplexes, triplexes, and duplexes in all neighbourhoods, and we will incentivize and fast-track applications for secondary suites like basement apartments and laneway houses. Our plan also addresses speculation which is a huge issue here in Muskoka. I will support municipalities to build more affordable housing in existing neighbourhoods without incentivizing sprawl and destroying our forests.
See the Green Party platform here.
Brad Waddell, Populist Party
I think the most important issue on everyone’s mind is the cost of living. The Populist Party has a plan to increase community gardens and encourage participation of neighbourhoods to provide local produce which would be more nutritious and not reliant on an unstable supply chain.
We also have a plan to build and distribute solar space heaters that are built from recycled material and require no wire hook-ups or installation expense. We would provide these heaters free of charge to elderly and low-income homes as an additional and free heat source during the winter.
See the PPO platform here.
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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