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Provincial candidates sound off: affordability

The newsroom reached out to all the candidates that will be on the ballot for the June 2 provincial election to get their thoughts on the issues that matter in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.

Each week leading up to election day, we will publish a story with each candidate answering a question that residents have as they head to the polls.

This week, we asked them about affordability: “as gas prices approach $2.00 a litre in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and with affordable housing and the cost of rent being issues as well – how will your party lead the economic recovery process in the riding? How can your party help constituents afford everyday items and housing? What relief is in store for low and middle-income workers if your party wins the election?”


Laurie Scott, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario 

Scott says her party has saved small businesses $4.1-billion this year. She adds that includes targeted tax relief, reducing WSIB premiums without reducing benefits, reducing taxes on gas and fuel, and cutting “hundreds of millions of dollars in red tape.”

According to Scott, the PCs will put home ownership within reach for more people, pledging 1.5-million new homes over the next decade. That includes more than 100,000 new home starts this year, with 13,000 new purpose-built rentals, something she says is the highest rate of new construction in more than 30 years.

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Barbara Doyle, New Democratic Party of Ontario

Doyle says housing is a human right. She says if her party is elected, it would bring back rent control, crack down on renovictions and foreign speculation, and work with municipalities to build new affordable housing. Doyle says the NDP would introduce the Homes In Ontario Program, which gives first-time homebuyers loans of up to 10 per cent of a home’s price for the down payment.

According to Doyle, they would mandate the Ontario Energy Board to regulate the retail and wholesale cost of fuel– a move she says would also help with the cost of food– and bump up $10-a-day child care.

The NDP also plans to immediately raise the minimum wage to $16 per hour, including for students and servers, and work towards a $20 minimum wage which would be then indexed to inflation. Worker and disability benefits would get a 20 per cent increase.

Doyle adds that the party’s pledges for universal dental care, pharma care, and mental health support would go a long way to reduce out-of-pocket costs for average people.


Tom Regina, Green Party of Ontario

According to Regina, addressing affordability in the region requires a shift away from the neglect by successive governments to be prepared.

Regina says Electrical vehicles are less expensive to run and maintain and will be more affordable with the Green party’s proposed 10,000 dollar rebate on a new electric vehicle.

He says introducing incentives to create duplexes and triplexes can help increase housing units. Regina adds that creating a program of “financially helpful pathways” to homeownership will help families acquire and enjoy the security of having a place to live in, wherever they want to live.

Regina adds the Green party plans on repealing the wage suppression legislation of Bill 124, instituting a universal basic income and doubling the Ontario Disability Support Program to relieve Ontarians of the stress of food insecurity and erosion of human dignity.


Dr. Kerstin Kelly, Ontario Party

Dr. Kelly says to improve affordability in the riding, we need to lower taxes, and encourage rentals by removing red tape. She says the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board is restrictive, and decimating the availability of rental spaces.

She says her government would also remove the red tape for builders, making it easier for builders to do their job, all while increasing the potential for duplexes and fourplexes. She says she would also decrease foreign ownership, which is driving home prices through the roof.


Gene Balfour, Libertarian Party

Libertarian candidate Gene Belfour says less government is the only way to improve affordability for residents.

He says the average Canadian pays ~53% of annual income to governments at every level and this has risen from 38% since 1961.

He adds less government would also lead to fewer regulations.

Balfour says everything we buy comes form supply chains, and there are taxes and regulations every step of the way – which then gets passed onto the consumer. Balfour says the government has a big hand in affecting those costs – and that’s what the Libertarians are fighting against.

He says his party advocates for less government to ‘unshackle’ the creativity, skills and knowledge of our citizens – which will all reduce the cost of living. He says Freedom of Choice is his party’s theme, and the economy works best when citizens exchange and cooperate with each other voluntarily.


The Liberal Party’s Don McBey and New Blue Party’s Ben Prentice have not yet responded to requests for comment.


**With files from Brad Aubin, Mo Fahim, and Mathew Reisler

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