Provincial Election Coverage
Deb Matthews - London North Centre
Khalil Ramal - London-Fanshawe
Chris Bentley - London West
The Liberals won all three seats in London last provincial election, with Chris Bentley holding the position of Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities for the last four years. Lead by Dalton McGuinty, the Ontario Liberals have devoted $6.2 billion to post-secondary education and put a lot of time and funds into recruiting apprenticeship students. They have also been dogged by broken promises, which include introducing a new Health Care tax and not closing the province's coal-fired plants.
Minimum Wage - Although under McGunity the minimum wage has increased from $6.85 to $8 an hour, they have plans to raise the base wage to $10.25 by 2010. The NDP believe the minimum wage increase can not wait that long and that Ontarians need the raise as soon as possible. The Liberals also plan to create 22,000 new affordable child care spaces in the province and implement full-day free pre-school programs.
Environment - The Liberals put in place a Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act and invested in renewable energy in the province while they were in power. McGunity plans to commit $17.5 billion to the party's Climate Change Program, which aims to expand rapid transit and reduce air pollution, while fighting climate change through “greening the economy” and reducing emissions by six per cent below1990 levels by 2014.
Health Care - Even though the Liberals touted a surplus, they also introduced a Health Care Tax, which generates $3 billion a year, and have no plans to get rid of it. They claim the new taxes will create shorter wait times, more doctors and nurses and promote wellness while preventing illness.
Post Secondary - Their Reaching Higher Plan invested $6.2 billion by 2009/2010, to colleges and universities which has created 86,000 new spaces. They plan on adding a new textbook and technology grant and lobbying the Federal government to give students twice the amount of time they have to start repaying their loans. In order to keep up with an aging workforce, they are hoping to recruit 25 per cent more apprentices over the next four years if they are elected.
Energy - When the Liberals came to power four years ago there were only 10 wind turbines in the province. Today there are 700 either being built in Ontario or in operation. They have a strong platform on renewable energy, but broke their promise to close the coal-fire plants, which create a lot of pollution in the province. Their new target it is close all coal plants by 2014.
Electoral Reform - No comment.
Rob Alder - London North Centre
Jim Chapman - London Fanshawe
Allison Graham - London West
The Tories are trying to regain the monopoly the party had in Ontario up until 1985, when for the first time in 42-years they lost their stranglehold in the provincial legislature. In recent history the London-Fanshawe riding has led to close races between the PC's, Liberals and NDP parties.
Minimum wage - The Conservatives are taking a backseat when it comes to minimum wage in the province by agreeing that the matter needs to be addressed, but refusing to name a number until they can research the matter further. The Tories continue by saying that their government would review the policy on an annual basis with social, economic, labour and business experts.
Environment - The Conservative platform on the environment, and more accurately greenhouse gasses, is that not only does the party have to set a target, but achieve it in a timely manner. Some of the numbers thrown into the ring by John Tory are: Reduce the provinces' greenhouse emissions to 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and work towards a goal of 60 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. The PC's also intend on trimming the fat in house by updating the governments' vehicle fleet so that all the vehicles meet high fuel efficiency standards and start using E85 fuel to save resources.
Health Care - Stepping out of the dark ages. That's the Tory goal for Health Care reform. If elected, the Conservatives intend on creating electronic medical records to replace the paper records that are kept at the moment. They also intend to target spending in high-growth and underserved areas in Ontario in the hopes of putting every city on equal footing when it comes to health care and its accessibility. The Tories also vow to increase spending within the system by $8.5 billion more than the current McGuinty government spent, and increase the number of general practitioners in the province.
Post Secondary - When it comes to post secondary education in the province the Conservative government is hoping to start a per-capita funding program with post secondary institutions. They plan to help specialized health care institutions to provide Ontario with more nurses and doctors, as well as a hope to increase the number of national and international students in Ontario post-secondary institutions.
Energy - The Conservative platform on cleaning up air pollution includes building a clean energy system in the province, which means the use of renewable sources and embracing an expanded use of nuclear power. If elected the Tories also hope to install clean air technology in existing coal plants with the hope of reducing toxic emissions by up to 90 per cent.
Electoral Reform - Unsurprisingly when the topic turns to the electoral reform ballot voters will be asked to fill out on October 10, the Conservative government takes an un-favourable look on the issue. In a recent interview with the National Post party leader John Tory said that he was wary of a system that adds politicians stating, “I haven't met a single voter yet who has told me they're looking to add more politicians to the Ontario legislature.”
NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Steve Holmes - London North Centre
Stephen Maynard - London Fanshawe
Paul Pighin - London West
The NDP's have never won the London- Fanshawe riding at a provincial level, but after Irene Mathyssen eked out a federal victory in the riding in 2006 over the Liberals, there are high hopes abound this time around. Finishing under six points behind Khalil Ramal's Liberals in the 2003 provincial elections is giving the party hope that they will be able to sway the riding enough to take control for the first time in their history.
Minimum Wage - The NDP, lead by Howard Hampton, have been behind a push for a $10 minimum wage for a while, and if elected are guaranteeing that it will be raised immediately. Another fiscally driven change they're lobbying for is a rollback of the $40,000 raise that they say Dalton McGuinty gave himself. They're also hoping to put people's jobs first by ensuring that plants do not shut down at the expense of their worker's pensions, benefits and severance packages.
Environment - The Orange party is hoping to get a bill passed that will require manufacturers to label products with suspected toxins and create a pollution inventory to list which pollutants exist on a community-to-community basis as a right-to-know for families. Another change you'll see on the NDP platform is a public transportation expansion, which includes a new light-rail system and an enhanced GO Transit in the hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province.
Health Care - A reduce in wait times and a health tax rebate top the list of changes the NDP want to see established. The New Democrats would like to give individuals earning less than $80,000 a year a health rebate of $450, which amounts to a maximum of $900 per family. To reduce wait times they're hoping to increase the number of doctors practicing in the province by certifying internationally-trained doctors to practice in Ontario and avoid giving provincial funding to private hospitals.
Post Secondary - The NDP have a plan called ‘Fair Deal for Students' which will help university students save money on their estimated $5,300 annual tuition fees. The party intends to decrease costs to pre-McGuinty levels, which would mean an average saving of $400 per student. On top of the rollback they would then instill a tuition freeze to keep the prices from skyrocketing again. Classroom fees for apprenticeships would also be nixed, again saving those students around $400 each per session.
Energy - The Orange party has something the call the “NDP's 5-Point Green Agenda for Canada,” which includes greener homes, communities, transportation and industry strategies as well as a greener Canada and World initiative. The greener industry strategy is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 74 per cent and stop government subsidies and tax breaks for unsustainable energy producers, like coal.
Electoral Reform - The NDP are 100 per cent behind the Mixed Member Proportional voting system suggested on the ballot this fall. The party believes that the system will offer a better democracy where every vote counts, with no artificial majorities, give a voice to the smaller parties and more diversity by opening doors to more female and visible minority representatives in the legislature.
Brett McKenzi - London North Centre
Dan O'Neail - London-Fanshawe
Gary Brown - London West
The Green Party has the most to gain this election if the MMP referendum is passed, because it will lead to them actually getting a seat in the house in the next election. Despite popular opinion, the Greens, lead by Frank de Jong, developed a platform that goes beyond the environment.
Minimum Wage - The Green Party would raise minimum wage to $10.25 by June 2008, that way a person making the minimum for 40 hours a week would be above the poverty line. They also plan to reduce personal income tax and increase green jobs in the province.
Environment - This is where the Greens shine, obviously, because the Environment is the base of their entire platform. They plan to shift taxes and environmental responsibilities back onto the manufacturer, rather than the consumer and create “Green Jobs,” like manufacturing fuel-efficient vehicles, wind turbines and sustainable agriculture. The Green Party also plans to divert 75 per cent of the money budgeted for new highway construction until 2012 to public transit, among many more environmentally-based initiatives.
Health Care - Like the Liberals and NDP, the Green Party believes in a publicly funded Health Care system, but they also take a broad approach to wellness by promoting healthy lifestyles. They will subsidize Health Care costs for those in the lowest 75th percentile of the income bracket, abolish the new Health Care tax, as well as increase funding and effectiveness of primary and effectiveness care.
Post Secondary - The Green Party believes student debt is bad for the economy and society in general, and you would be hard-pressed to find students in Ontario who think otherwise. To address this problem, the Greens will provide $500 million per year by 2011 to cap university tuition rates at $3000 per average year, and $700 per average year for college tuition. They will also reinvest interest earned on student loans into bursaries.
Energy - Nuclear and coal are out for the Greens, instead they will focus on renewable energy while decreasing our need for fossil fuels. They target to decrease consumption by 75 per cent of current levels by 2020, allow increases in electricity rates and create subsidies to low-income families to invest in energy-saving household appliances.
Electoral Reform - The Green Party have never won a seat in Ontario, but if the MMP system gets passed they will gain a voice at Queen's Park, so naturally, they support the change to our democratic system. They believe the first-past-the-post system does not reflect the will of voters, while MMP “will create a stronger democracy with more choice, fairer election results and better representation for all citizens.”