As the candidates wrap up their campaign for the June 2 provincial election, we invited the seven candidates to represent Parry Sound-Muskoka to answer five questions of local importance.
Their answers (in a randomly generated order) will be posted over the next three days.
The first standing:
What do you think is the most important issue facing Parry Sound-Muskoka in this election?
Andrew John Cocks, Ontario Party
Simply put, the supply of housing is too low and the demand for housing is too high, and on both fronts our current politicians are primarily responsible for this crisis. The solution is not government funding channeled to new owners.
Currently, on the supply side, Doug Ford’s provincial government policies intentionally restrict the building of types of homes that could significantly alleviate our housing crisis.
Specifically, through prohibitive zoning regulations, Ford’s government prevents the construction of married quarters that are not single-family homes. Duplexes and four plexes and even tiny homes are banned where they are most needed.
Me and an Ontario Party government would reform city planning and adjust single-family zoning in Parry Sound-Muskoka to give homeowners more freedom to build multi-unit residential units, secondary suites and legalize small houses, the optionally.
Me and an Ontario Party government would establish an Ontario-focused foreign purchase ban for residential homes and vacant land, which will increase opportunities for first-time home buyers to enter in the market without as much competition.
We would also obtain in Ontario the same right to establish immigration policy as the province of Quebec and would use these powers to adjust, and necessarily reduce, immigration rates.
View the Ontario Party Platform here.
Daniel Predie Jr, Independent
The most significant issue facing Parry Sound-Muskoka continues to be corruption, particularly that which, through the exploitation of our immigration, impacts real estate and rental markets, privately incorporated political party businesses and their legally indemnified members, lawyers and their legalese perverting justice, law enforcement serving and protecting it all, unverifiable electronic voting methods and advanced ballots controlling election results, taxpayers’ money paid instead of being closed by condemnation, etc.
Doug Maynard, New Blue Party
In my opinion, and from what I’ve heard from people, the biggest issue is the cost of living and how difficult it has become for the average person to make ends meet. Unlike the PC, NDP and Green parties, all of which promise to further increase Ontario’s already massive deficit, the New Blue Party offers strong solutions to cut taxes and energy rates to put more money into people’s pockets, rather than making false and unrealistic promises.
See the New Blue platform here.
Erin Horvath, NDP
Housing and affordability. Workers have left our riding in search of affordable housing, leaving businesses understaffed. We have skyrocketing gasoline, utilities, insurance, food, and child care; salaries that are not enough to make ends meet. Mental health is at a critical point for many, especially those on fixed incomes and young people.
The NDP is attacking housing and affordability, what we need to rebuild the worker base that supports our small businesses:
- We will build 250,000 based on income and below market rents over 10 years.
- Introduce a 20% non-resident speculation tax to cool the housing market.
- Give a 10% down payment to new home buyers.
- Free dental care (for households earning less than $90,000/year) and sliding scale thereafter, universal drug coverage and mental health covered by OHIP; early intervention avoids more expensive treatment in hospitals.
- Regulate gas prices by linking it to crude prices.
- Use only revenues from Ontario’s cap and trade program to reduce energy costs in rural and northern Ontario while investing in renewable energy and electricity.
- Raise the minimum wage to $20/hr by 2026 in increments of $1/year.
- Speed up federal daycare at $10/day.
- Repeal Bill 124 so the wages of health care and education workers can rise with inflation.
- Regulate automobile, residential and commercial insurance.
- Provide rent control for all residential and commercial leases.
This will be funded by raising taxes for the very wealthy (one percent for $220,000 and above and two percent for $300,000 and above) and for large corporations (13 percent); cancel the mega-highways.
See the NDP platform here.
Graydon Smith, PC Party
The biggest issue I hear from people is the rising cost of living. Inflation has made life very expensive. Groceries, gas, new homes, and other everyday items force people to make tough decisions they shouldn’t have to. The Ontario Conservatives are the only party to come up with a plan to cut costs and make life cheaper.
We believe that each family is in the best position to determine how best to spend their money, not the government. That’s why we’re putting more money back in people’s pockets. Our plan will save the average household thousands of dollars.
We are reducing the gas tax, removing and reimbursing unnecessary government fees, reducing income tax for low-income people, increasing ODSP and indexing it to inflation, raising the minimum wage and putting in place $10/day daycare.
We are the only party with a plan to make life cheaper.
View PC platform here.
Matt Richter, Green Party
The cost of living is simply too high for most workers and their families. Young people cannot find an affordable house to rent, which affects the ability of small business owners to recruit talented workers from anywhere. And while we desperately need funding to fix roads, bridges and schools, Doug Ford wants to squander billions on wasteful infrastructure projects like Highway 413.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We have an affordable housing platform that has been called the gold standard for dealing with this crisis. Our plan expands zoning to allow fourplexes, triplexes and duplexes in all neighborhoods, and we will encourage and expedite applications for secondary suites like basement apartments and lane homes. Our plan also tackles speculation, which is a huge problem here in Muskoka. I will help municipalities build more affordable housing in existing neighborhoods without encouraging sprawl or destroying our forests.
See the Green Party platform here.
Brad Waddell, populist party
I think the most important question on everyone’s mind is the cost of living. The Populist Party has a plan to increase community gardens and encourage neighborhood participation to provide local produce that would be more nutritious and not dependent on an unstable supply chain.
We also have a plan to build and distribute solar heaters that are constructed from recycled materials and require no wire hookups or installation costs. We would provide these heaters free of charge to senior and low-income residences as a free, supplemental source of heat during the winter.
See the PPO platform here.
Election Day in Ontario is June 2, 2022. Advance polls are now open. Find details on when and where to vote at elections.on.ca.
If you are on the voters list, you should have received a voter information card in the mail. Bring your voter information card and name identification when you go to vote.
If you did not receive a voter information card, you can still vote, but your name may not appear on the voters list. To bring an ID showing your name and current residential address when you go to vote.
Main Image: Photo of Queen’s Park “June 2012 Ontario Legislature Toronto” by Priscilla Jordaovia Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original.
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