NewmarketToday sent a series of questions to each of the candidates about a wide range of issues; here are the answers in their own words
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 Liberal Party candidate Dr. Sylvain Roy responded:
1. What do you want voters to know about you? (50-word limit)
I am standing for election because I want to improve the quality of life within our communities, especially regarding health care. I work as a neuropsychologist and have honed a reputation as a tireless advocate for the homeless, those suffering from addiction and their related mental health challenges.
2. What’s the most pressing issue in the 2022 provincial election campaign and why? (50-word limit)
Affordability is the number one issue I am hearing at the door, especially regarding the cost of food, fuel and housing. We have been caught flat footed in the province by this increasing crisis that has impacted every aspect of people’s day to day lives, demanding immediate action by government.
3. What’s your party’s plan to address housing affordability? (200-word-limit)
We will ensure the construction of 1.5 million new homes over ten years with a substantial number reserved for first time buyers. Additionally, we will ensure the construction of at least 138,000 new deeply affordable homes, retain and repair tens of thousands of existing affordable homes, including a focus on creating more ownership options for marginalized communities.
The province must become a true partner with municipalities. We will establish the Ontario Home Building Corporation to work with local communities, not for profit housing partners and developers to build and maintain affordable homes of all types, either as a primary financing source or builder. The Corporation will be given a fifteen year mandate and funding to ensure housing is built rapidly and available to first time home buyers.
We will provide additional incentives and resources for municipalities, beginning with an investment of $300 million in new funding over five years to support the use of community planning permits. This will help bring more homes to market faster and counter exclusionary zoning policies preventing new homes from being constructed where people actually want to live. An emphasis on inclusionary zoning will mandate the creation of high quality affordable housing in new developments.
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)
I agree that this matter has dragged on for far too long, with significant funds invested and uncertainty for future planning in the face of anticipated population growth in the short and long term within York region. A well-balanced approach is key between accommodating future growth and the long-term health of Lake Simcoe. Keeping that delicate balance in view should be uppermost in the minds of those charged with the development of this wastewater project. The Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation have legitimate concerns about the impact of UYSS on Lake Simcoe and the communities surrounding it. I agree that the UYSS solution is unquestionably better than leaking sewage holding ponds, but I am also of the view that further assurances must be made, demonstrating proposed solutions that will not lead to rampant urban sprawl in the northern section of York Region or lead to the further degradation of Lake Simcoe.
5. What would your party do to address the continued issues in the long-term care sector? What is your party’s stance on keeping, or removing, privatization there? (200-word limit)
We will strengthen supports to guarantee that any senior who chooses to remain in their own home can access the assistance they need, both physical and financial. Seniors relocating to a long term care facility must be confident that their safety, wellbeing and quality of life is prioritized over the bottom line.
We will increase the annual budget for home and community care by 10% per year to 2 billion dollars by 2026, resulting in 400,000 more seniors receiving not-for-profit home care.
We will increase income support for eligible seniors through a top up of Old Age Security, doubling the maximum monthly payment through the Guaranteed Annual Income system by $1000 more per year and increase the income thresholds to qualify.
We will expand and make permanent the Senior’s Home Safety Tax Credit as well as cover more costs for assistive devices such as wheel chairs, hearing aids and lifts.
We will make the Ontario Caregiver tax credit refundable, tax free and paid out through the year.
We will end for-profit long-term care with a target of 2028 and place audits, inspections and zero-tolerance sanctions on long-term care homes. We will build and redevelop 58,000 new non-profit and long term care spaces.
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 Ford Conservatives’ erratic, political and inconsistent approach to the pandemic led to prolonged shutdowns and suffering. We will focus on what matters – keeping people healthy and safe as we finish the fight against the virus.
To that end, an Ontario Liberal government will require all front line health care and education workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of nine universal vaccines for schools.
We will combat vaccine misinformation through an ongoing robust outreach campaign which will also reach out to encourage people to be vaccinated and receive their boosters. We will improve access to PCR testing, permanently increase our laboratory testing capacity, stockpiling rapid tests and PPE.
We will support businesses that opt to check for vaccination status through maintaining a secure proof of vaccination infrastructure and require workspaces to treat COVID outbreaks as an occupational health issue.
7. With inflation rising and some struggling, what would your party do to make life more affordable? (150-word limit)
We will raise the minimum wage to $16 per hour effective January 1st 2023 and then consult broadly to develop a living wage structure, recognizing that in some regions of the province it is more expensive to meet basic needs than in others.
We will cut public transit fares to $1.00 per ride and $40 for monthly passes until January 2024 to encourage ridership and support getting more cars off the road.
We will also support the vulnerable sector with a 20% increase in ODSP and assist eligible seniors with a $1000 top up to OAS.
We will eliminate the HST on prepared foods under $20.
We will also reintroduce rent control providing predictability for renters, in addition to our other housing affordability proposals.
We will implement $10 per day child and after school care and create new consumer protections around the right to repair, online subscriptions and refunds.
8. What is your position on the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413? (100-word limit)
We will terminate the Highway 413 project with the $8 billion cost redirected toward building and repairing publicly-funded schools in every corner of the province. While it is not my personal preference, we are open to continuing the conversation about the Bradford Bypass which has more municipal support than the highway 413 project that faces increasing opposition due to its cost and the impact of paving over thousands of acres of prime agricultural land with little resulting benefit to the commuter. We would pause further work on the Bradford Bypass until the 25 year-old environmental assessment is updated.
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)
Mental Health Act: Expanding the Scope of Practice
The Mental Health Act only allows an examining physician to place a patient under care. Given the shortage of physicians specializing in mental health, who can be available in a time of crisis, the consequence is that police are called, the person brought to the hospital being left in the care of those unaware of their case history.
My bill would expand the scope of practice so that psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners or social workers may place a patient under care, with parents and caregivers being involved in the decision making process.
10. What does your party’s campaign slogan mean to you? (50-word limit)
Our slogan “A Place to Grow” speaks to me about the incredible potential that exists within our province, if provided with leadership that is focussed on drawing our communities together in common cause. Together, we can make Ontario a place where people can aspire to dream big and live well.