Candidate Questions: Don Valley West – Provincial Election – June 7th 2018
Jon Kieran, Ontario PC Candidate for Don Valley West
1. Many of the aging schools within the Leaside area are currently facing over-crowded classrooms and given the pending intensification because of development along Eglinton, the problem will only increase. Do you intend to allow the TDSB to collect Education Development Charges?
The Ontario PC Party has raised concerns in the past over school funding issues and at the heart of the issue is that school boards are cash-strapped and although the government finally decided to listen and announced infrastructure spending in the last budget, it still falls short. We believe that the solution can be found through a better utilization of taxpayer money rather than contributions from developers. There is a broader issue of school funding that needs to be addressed. The idea is not off of the table though and if elected as your MPP I commit to being at the forefront of a review of development charges.
2. What are your plans to maintain or improve class sizes and the quality of education?
Educating our children is the most important job in the world. Ontario needs to be a leader in the quality of education we give our children. When only half of our Grade 6 students are meeting the provincial standard in math, it is clear there is a problem. An Ontario PC government would revisit curricular documents in all core subject areas and make changes that ensure that our kids are being provided with the building blocks they need to succeed in the workforce, post-secondary levels, and life. But this will not be done without proper consultation with teachers on what areas need to be improved. We are also committed to investing in school repairs because we believe students should have a safe place to learn and teachers should have a safe place to teach. An Ontario PC government would also continue to improve supports for children with special needs.
1. How does your party plan to protect the environment, limit the effects of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario?
We strongly believe that the government has a responsibility to protect the environment, but we believe this can be done while respecting taxpayer money. The Ontario PCs have been very clear that we would dismantle the Wynne Liberals’ cap-and-trade cash grab and replace it with a model that reduces emissions in Ontario, cuts taxes, and protects our economy. The Green Energy Act has been a disaster. It has caused hydro rates to skyrocket and forced wind turbines on communities that don’t want them. The Auditor General has publicly stated we overpaid by $9.2 billion for renewable energy contracts. We are going to cancel the Green Energy Act, lower hydro rates and protect the environment without making people choose between heating and eating.
2. Will you help protect the Greenbelt?
The PCs are committed – unequivocally – to maintaining the Greenbelt as is, in its entirety. We will be releasing our plan for the people in the coming weeks and it will include a firm commitment to maintaining the Greenbelt. We can increase supply without developing into the Greenbelt. We can continue to create affordable housing across the GTA while protecting our green space and our prime agricultural land.
Development & Traffic:
1. What will you do to maintain the quality of life in Don Valley West as the riding faces intensive development along Eglinton, thanks to the Crosstown LRT?
The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has been staked with Liberal appointees and has failed in its mandate. I will champion and review of the OMB and some of its decisions affecting communities in Don Valley West.
2. Traffic congestion is a priority issue for most Leasiders. How can you help?
The City should expedite traffic calming. Ontario’s role is to improve transit alternatives and the Downtown Relief Line should have been started 10 years ago. Our party has committed to uploading transit development costs while leaving the day to day operations and revenues from transit with the TTC and Transit authorities. This will help ensure critical transportation infrastructure is adequately funded and decision making will be made quickly and in the best interests of the people who live and work in Leaside and Toronto.
3. With Metrolinx already influencing transit decisions in Toronto with the Crosstown LRT, are you considering a greater provincial role in Toronto transit? Are you willing to fund more of Toronto’s transit needs, as you are with SmartTrack?
The Ontario PC Party is committed to get Ontario moving. Our plan includes the provincial government assuming responsibility for maintenance and investments in Toronto subway infrastructure. We are also committing an additional $5 billion in new subway funding in addition to the $9 billion already available to build new transit projects in Toronto. The Sheppard Loop, the Relief Line and Yonge Extension are considered priority projects. A PC-led government would also provide province-wide funding of transit, which includes improvements to regional GO train services and LRT projects. Our goal is to cut the red tape and end the delays to ensure that transit projects get completed on time and on budget.
The healthcare system is being stretched often beyond its capabilities. Given that healthcare is the largest budgetary expenditure in Ontario, and with the challenging fiscal situation the province is in, how does your party plan to provide Ontarians with the level of care they require and how do you plan to improve relations with the members of the healthcare system?
There is a crisis in our health care system. Our hospitals are being pushed to a breaking point and patients are receiving care in hallways. This is why one of the top priorities of an Ontario PC government will be to end hallway healthcare. We plan to do this by investing in 15,000 new long- term care beds in five years, and 30,000 new beds over the next 10 years. We will also invest $1.9 billion in mental health ($3.8Billion, including matching federal funds). The Ontario PCs are aware that many seniors are turning to hospital emergency rooms for treatment because they cannot afford preventative dental care and because of this we plan to fund dental care for low-Income seniors.
Most importantly the Ontario PCs understand that solving the health care crisis will involve listening to health care professionals, including the nurses and doctors who are on the frontlines. This is exactly what we plan to do.
Real estate prices in Toronto and in the DVW riding have recently cooled, but many continue to struggle to find affordable housing. What are your party’s plans for better serving under-housed people? How do these plans impact Leaside specifically?
We should all be able to aspire to homeownership, but the rising cost of housing is putting this dream further and further out of reach for too many people. The Ontario PC Party wants everyone who wants to own a house to be able to achieve that goal. In order to do this we need to address the issue of housing supply. There is a lack of supply in Ontario’s rental market – specifically in the GTA. Our plan is to reduce red tape and increase supply, without touching the Greenbelt.
What are your plans to ensure women in Ontario are fairly represented, fairly paid and are made to feel safe and equal in all aspects of their lives?
The PC Party of Ontario is committed the gender parity in all aspects of life including representation in the workplace, government and community safety. Ontario PC MPP Laurie Scott, Official Opposition Critic for Women’s Issues, is a tireless advocate for victims of human sex trafficking in Ontario. Recently the Ontario Legislature voted unanimously in favour of her Private Member’s Bill, the Mandatory Sexual Assault Law Training for Judicial Officers Act, that will implement mandatory sexual assault training for currently sitting judges and justices of the peace.
1. Small and medium size businesses are the economic lifeblood of the Ontario economy. Governments bordering Ontario are reducing tax and regulatory burdens on SMB’s. What are your plans to ensure businesses in Ontario and more particularly Don Valley West can compete?
There is no secret to creating good jobs in Ontario. It starts with lower taxes, cutting red tape, and reducing hydro bills for everyone. We need to attract businesses to Ontario, not drive them away. An Ontario PC government will lower corporate taxes from 11.5 per cent to 10.5 per cent.
2. What are your plans to manage Ontario’s debt?
The province has $325 billion in debt and our debt interest payments are out of control. This is why an Ontario PC government will balance the budget, but do so in a responsible way without harming the economy, jobs and services we depend on. For this reason, we will not return to balance in the first year of the mandate. We intend to find efficiencies of 4 per cent, or $6 billion in spending, per year, without cuts.
1. Don Valley West is a large riding that is both culturally and economically diverse. It includes the affluent neighbourhood of Leaside and the densely populated, lower-income communities of Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park. As MPP, how will you bring these communities together?
Flemingdon is no longer in the riding, but regardless, we are one community. I will be the voice of the collective community of Don Valley West. I will be consultative with all communities. I will be respectful of all communities. I will lead by example and build bridges between community leaders. This will foster better understanding, and, ultimately, lead us to celebrate our cultural diversity.
1. Is there anything else you would like to say to the residents of Leaside voters in Don Valley West?
A government is elected to serve the people. This service includes the safety and wellbeing for all of us and to implement programs and process that ensure our wellbeing now and in the future. I believe the biggest issue of this election is the wellbeing of our children and grandchildren who are being saddled with decades of debt and the all too real potential for drastically reduced programs that we need and depend upon. We need a sound fiscal approach that will eliminate deficit and long term debt. The approach needs to be measured without massive cuts to jobs or programs. I know the PC Party has the plan and the backbone to do this, while the Liberals and NDP do not.