NewmarketToday sent a series of questions to each of the candidates in the Newmarket-Aurora riding on a wide range of issues.
Candidates were provided the exact same questions, the same amount of time to respond and a limited word count for each question. None of the candidate's responses have been edited, only cut where word counts are broken. NewmarketToday will publish each response received by deadline.
Here is how Green Party candidate Carolina Rodriguez responded:
1. What do you want voters to know about you? (50-word limit)
Having grown up in Newmarket, I am committed to work hard for my community,and making sure that it is well taken care of. Being a young candidate, I will work
to ensure that Newmarket and Aurora achieve long-term prosperity.
2. What’s the most pressing issue in the 2022 provincial election campaign and why? (50-word limit)
The climate crisis is the most pressing issue. We are now at a unique time where we can address affordability and accessibility under an environmental lens
toward a prosperous future. Furthermore, what happens on June 2nd will determine whether we are leaders or laggards in the internationally emerging green economy.
3. What’s your party’s plan to address housing affordability? (200-word-limit)
We must not only build new homes, but we need to build them with a purpose. Through creative restructuring of municipal zoning, we will be able to freeze urban boundaries while increasing a more adequate supply of diverse forms of housing. This gradual density will increase our connectivity and the health of our
communities. We will ensure that those homes stay affordable by implementing a multiple property speculation tax on people and corporations who own more than two houses. Also, by mandating inclusionary zoning which requires a minimum 20% of units to be affordable for low-income buyers.
We will increase the transparency for home buyers by ending blind bidding. For low and middle-income first-time homebuyers, we will work on developing a down payment support program to carefully create more pathways to ownership.
The Greens take a housing first approach to address homelessness and have agoal of ending homelessness in Ontario in 10 years. This will be done by building more -permanent- supportive housing units with wraparound access to services to ensure the resident’s prosperities. Finally, we will reinstate rent controls and implement vacancy control to limit rent increases between tenancies.
4. The Upper York sewage plant has remained unresolved at the provincial level for years, under both Liberal and Conservative governments.Municipalities have highlighted it is needed for upcoming growth and says it would have enough offsets for the environment, but critics are still concerned about watershed impact. What’s your position? How would your party handle this file? If elected, when would your party finally decide on this, one way or another? (150-word limit)
York Region residents need resolution to this long and drawn-out issue. Any decision that the elected government comes to will not be without consequences.
However, it is important to mitigate the negative impacts of the project as improving sewage infrastructure is necessary for population growth. It is also important to ensure that we do not dump sewage into our delicate waterways. Thus, a project of this caliber is something that we need. For the project to be successful, its approval must account for and address the concerns of local and Indigenous groups of the watershed that will be impacted. The Greens will also consider long-term impacts of its proposed development, ensuring that planned responses are in place to eliminate or significantly reduce the severity of the environmental impacts. Decisions will then be based on data found during cost benefit analyses and long-term environmental assessments, which prioritize public, local, and Indigenous consultation.
5. What would your party do to address the continued issues in the long- term sector? What is your party’s stance on keeping, or removing, privatization there? (200-word limit)
The pandemic has exposed many of the cracks in our LTC sector that cannot be ignored. We must protect our workers from burn-out by ensuring that PSWs and nurses receive a fair wage and that facilities are adequately staffed. This will be done by increasing nursing program enrollment to reach our target of 30,000 additional nurses by 2030, with legislated staffing proportions for RNs, RPNs and PSWs. We must also invest in LTC homes by building more beds to meet the growing demand by increasing the base funding by 10%.
To create an accountable non-profit LTC system, we must stop privatization and phase out for-profit LTCs and ensure that LTC owners and operators are held responsible for what goes on in their facilities by repealing Bill 218. We will also reinstate comprehensive inspections to ensure that home operators cannot get away with infractions; therefore, Greens will also transfer regulatory oversight of retirement homes to the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
Greens will improve home care so people can safely stay in their homes longer. We will also make it easier to age in place by streamlining and simplifying
the approval process for cohousing and co-living developments and removing legislation that inhibits that.
6. How would your party handle the ongoing challenge of COVID-19? What is your stance on re-implementing mask mandates or vaccination passports in the future, depending on pandemic trends? (150-word limit)
The mandates were not only there to protect us but to alleviate the stress that was felt by our healthcare system and workers. We have learned a lot from this pandemic and one of the most valuable lessons is that preparedness is key. As the pandemic continues, we must ensure to put people first by increasing sick days from 3 to 10 and implement supports to small businesses that have been largely missing throughout. When experts and our healthcare workers tell us to
move in one direction, we cannot run in the other. Mandates have their time and place, and it is important that we understand all implications of them. Thus, when it comes to the pandemic, it is a leader’s role to make decisions based on both scientific facts and for what is in the best interest of the people.
7. With inflation rising and some struggling, what would your party do to make life more affordable? (150-word limit)
First, we must improve worker’s rights and wages. Repealing bill 124 and increasing minimum wage by 1$ annually would directly put more money in people’s pockets. Doubling ODSP and OW rates is a necessary move to ensure that we end legislated poverty. Invest in small-local business supports to strengthen local economies and have more local employment. Further, by phasing out fossil fuels and car dependence, people will have more affordable methods of transportation that are not dependent on ballooning prices and market uncertainty.
We must address the increase in the cost of living by adopting home retrofitting programs which would result in significant savings and utility bills. Investment in public transportation will increase its usefulness in Newmarket-Aurora and reduce the cost of each intra- and interregional trip. Affordability and
climate action go hand in hand and the Greens will ensure that the transition into more affordable living is smooth and quick.
8. What is your position on the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413? (100-word limit)
Ontarians do not want more expensive highways. Those two projects will only benefit a select few and shave off mere seconds from one’s commute. They will leave irreversible damage on the greenbelt and the farmlands that feed us. The highways would increase air pollution contributing to dangerous raspatory effects
from automobile exhaust and raise our GHG emissions at a time we should be drastically lowering them. We are facing a different Ontario than we were four years, and we need new solutions like making our communities walkable and strengthening our public transit. Thus, Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypassmust be cancelled.
9. What is one specific issue you would personally champion or private-members bill you would introduce, given the opportunity as an MPP? (100- word limit)
If given the opportunity, I would introduce a Bill to decrease the gap between the fight against climate change and the people of Ontario. The Bill would introduce a mechanism by which carbon credits of day-to-day consumption may be marketed throughout the Province. This would be a coordinated effort to voluntarily bear a fraction of the economic cost to save the planet. The mechanism could be marketed at point of sales of goods, and funds would be distributed to Ontario’s biggest industrial polluters in exchange for physical reduction of their GHGs from production.
10. What does your party’s campaign slogan mean to you? (50-word limit)
The Ontario you want. The leadership we need. Ontario deserves better, and the leadership of Mike Schreiner can made that a possibility. An Ontario we want is: healthy, prosperous, and prepared.