Q - Leader Tim Hudak says he will create one million jobs but also plans to kill 100,000 government jobs. How do you reconcile layoffs with job creation?
A - Ontario's debt has doubled in 11 years to $289 billion, at the same time we have added 300,000 jobs to the government payroll. To ensure that the most important services in our community, like health care and education, are strong and able to meet demand then we need to make sure that we have the most efficient public service possible. When employees retire or leave, we will look at each position and determine its need. We will focus on improving frontline service; we will reduce agencies and programs that don't offer good value for the taxpayer, like Drive Clean and the College of Trades.
Q - The Liberals gave undergraduate students a 30% break on tuition. Will a PC government kill that?
A - The current program only benefits about 1/3 of undergraduate students; part-time students and people returning to school are not eligible. We propose a program - No Qualified Student Left Behind - that empowers universities and colleges to administer a financial aid system that grows as tuition increases. If tuition rises, the amount of money set aside by the school for financial aid also increases. This program has been successful at the University of Toronto. We recommend it be used across the province. It’s a fair approach that puts the money in the hands of those students who need it most.
Q - Ontario’s minimum wage rose to $11 an hour on June 1. Where do you think it should be? A dollar figure, please.
A - Kathleen Wynne thinks the current rate is adequate; personally, I'd like to see our economy take off and those earning the minimum wage find new work in good paying middle class jobs, right here in Sarnia-Lambton. Like the west, I'd like to see an Ontario where employers have to compete for workers, offering higher pay and more benefits. Ontario used to be the economic engine of our country. I think we can get back to that but we need a government that will focus its attention on building the right business environment to attract new jobs.
Q - Tim Hudak is sometimes compared to former premier Mike Harris. Is that a compliment or criticism?
A. – Mike Harris led the Ontario PC’s to two majority governments between 1995 and 2002. During that time Ontario was first in North America in job creation. He reduced government spending and returned Ontario’s books to balance after the dreadful term of the NDP government. Moreover, Mr. Harris always kept his word; he told you exactly what he was going to do and then did it. That’s certainly more than can be said for Premier McGuinty’s or Premier Wynne’s scandal-plagued governments. I think Mr. Hudak would gladly accept a comparison to Mr. Harris.
Q - Name one thing you would do for Sarnia-Lambton that the other candidates can’t or won’t?
A - Rebuild the horse racing industry, place a moratorium on industrial wind farm development, get energy rates under control, attract business investment, scrap the College of Trades tax, cancel Drive Clean, and most importantly show some respect for your hard earned tax dollars. Sarnia-Lambton has the skill, resources and ability to thrive. All we need is a government at Queen’s Park that shows just as much concern for our community as it does for Toronto. As your MPP I will make sure Sarnia-Lambton’s interests are front and centre at Queen’s Park. I ask for your support on June 12th.
- Tomorrow online, Libertarian candidate Andrew Falby