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Newmarket-Aurora election candidates respond to local business community

Candidates answer business questions after cancelled chamber of commerce debate
2020 05 09 Main Street Canadian flags
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Newmarket-Aurora federal election candidates answered the concerns of the local business community through a chamber questionnaire.

The Newmarket Chamber of Commerce allowed candidates to answer supplied questions this week following the a cancelled virtual debate scheduled for Sept. 16. Conservative Harold Kim, Liberal Tony Van Bynen, NDP Yvonne Kelly and independent Dorian Baxter have all responded.

Chamber president and CEO Tracy Macgregor said they are happy candidates took the time to answer questions related to business.

“This is an important election as we look to economic recovery and building back the hardest-hit sectors,” she said. “We look forward to working collaboratively with our elected representative to help build a strong future for our businesses and community.”

Candidates provided video opening statements and written responses to the same four questions. The chamber asked all candidates to submit, although Green candidate Tim Flemming and People’s Party of Canada candidate Andre Gagnon have yet to have submissions posted as of Sept. 17.

When asked how to help Newmarket businesses facing labour and skill shortages, Kim said people are the biggest chunk of economic recovery. He also said the party would provide priority in immigration programs to those with skills in sectors facing shortages.

"We need to get people back to work, enjoying the work that they do after so many months of uncertainty,” Kim said. “Conservatives will provide workers with an opportunity to undertake training and take back control of their lives. We’re doubling the apprenticeship program, investing in the Job Training Fund and providing the Working Canadian Training Loan."

Van Bynen said extending the recovery hiring program until April will make it easier for businesses to hire new employees in the short term.

"We need to continue to make investments that will give our young folks the skills they need to work the jobs that so many of our local companies need,” Van Bynen said, citing the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Kelly said her party would also continue rental and wage subsidies in the short term, and acknowledged the federal role in providing skills training in sectors with labour shortages.

“Other aspects of ensuring a sustainable workforce are the cost and quality of day-to-day life, which includes the cost of housing, child care, internet and transit, all areas the NDP will invest in heavily,” she said. 

Baxter said he is a team player who would look to tap into the collective wisdom of the business community to address the problem. 

“This issue would be very high on the agenda for me,” Baxter said. “This combined with my interpersonal and communication skills would definitely give birth to viable and powerful initiatives far beyond my individual ability.”

You can find the candidates' complete answers to all the questions at