Yes it’s election time again. On Thursday, June 2 Ontarians will go to the polls to choose their next MPPs. Hometown News has contacted the major party candidates (PC, Liberals, NDP, Greens) to get their take on the issues of importance facing Lanark Frontenac Kingston residents. We’re happy to provide their views in their own words. We encourage readers to contact these candidates for their positions on other topics to help us all make informed decisions on the ballot.
I’m a mom, a partner, a teacher, and a former municipal councillor in Mississippi Mills. I currently reside in Carleton Place – the fastest growing community in Canada. We’re seeing exponential growth in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, and I’m committed to navigating this growth in a measured and sustainable way. As a municipal councillor, I championed upgrades to community infrastructure. As a teacher, I understand the importance of small class sizes and special education support. I ran in 2018, I am running again because I believe in publicly funded services that work for and support diverse communities.
Three Top Issues Facing LFK Residents
As I’ve been knocking on doors across the riding, I’m hearing great feedback from people across LFK. The following three priorities are key themes of my campaign, and I know they’re top of mind for you too:
1. Affordability – Things are getting expensive. Housing, fuel, groceries, and childcare. People across the riding are worried about paying bills, putting food on the table, and paying their rent or mortgage. I’m worried about these things too! The Ontario Liberal Party has a plan to address all these worries by implementing $10 a day daycare, providing an electric vehicle tax credit, and addressing the inflation that’s causing sticker shock at the grocery store and edging many families out of the real estate market. Together, we can invest in affordable housing, living wages, and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
2. Access to the digital community – The pandemic highlighted existing inequalities to accessing the digital community. Access to reliable cellular coverage and unlimited, affordable high-speed internet is not a luxury – in 2022, we need access to the digital community for our students to engage, for our agribusiness community to grow, and for our businesses to thrive. We cannot continue to discount rural cell and internet coverage at the expense of big city development. When I’m driving across the riding, my cell service drops off in Arden, in Clayton – imagine this happening in Toronto?! We need access now!
3. Healthcare – We have some of the fastest growing communities in the country – but our infrastructure and our planning to attract and retain talented doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners can’t keep up with current demands. We need infrastructure that can keep up, we need a plan to recruit and retain healthcare professionals, and we need access to services close to home! How many people have moved to LFK recently and must keep a family doctor outside of their community, simply because none are available here? Frankly, that’s unacceptable and we need a plan.
First and foremost, to accomplish what I’ve outlined above, we need to restore trust in our elected officials. I am committed to restoring sound leadership in our riding and ensuring everyone feels welcome to participate. I believe in the power of people and that our greatest strength in LFK comes from the wonderful and diverse people who call it home. I will lead with integrity, compassion, transparency, and accountability. As your next MPP, I’ll work for you – together, we can make LFK a vibrant and age-friendly place to live, and an economically and environmentally sound place to do business. You can reach me at www.pulkermok.ca, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 1-855-663-3010
New Democrats Party
I grew up in Frontenac County, at the lake and spent my summers swimming and doing water sports. I worked in recreation and hospitality. In high school and university, I was involved in student government and even got graduation changed from October to September.
In the summer of 2011, while in Peru, I was hit by a rogue wave and suffered a spinal cord injury that left me paraplegic. But I wasn’t done. I finished my degree in 2016. In 2020, I completed the Rick Hansen foundation accessibility assessor’s course and I help businesses become more accessible.
Three Top Issues Facing LFK
I spent 51 months in the hospital after my accident and learned the healthcare system inside and out. For a generation, government after government has cut healthcare and frozen wages for healthcare professionals.
We need a government that is going to invest in the people who deliver care. That means repealing Bill 124, funding more family physicians, stopping privatization, and funding home care. We need health care where we live, not two hours away. The NDP has a plan to remove profit from long-term care and invest in peoples health.
I’m hearing from people that they are worried about housing. Young people are giving up on owning a home, all the while rent is climbing and tenants are in a precarious position. Too many families are getting forced out of their communities because they can’t afford housing.
It’s time for a major public investment in housing, that means making it easier for first time homebuyers, making rent affordable, extending the life of the affordable units in the province while also adding affordable units in the next decade.
Before COVID-19, climate change was the defining issue of our generation. It still is, but we haven’t been talking about it. In Rural Ontario, it isn’t always front of mind but its effects are even more acute, impacting our daily lives, dealing with extreme weather, changing cycles of flooding, droughts, even invasive species.
Andrea and the NDP have a plan, marked by a shift to a cleaner, sustainable economy, rooted in equity, affordability, and reconciliation that won’t penalize rural Ontario.
I have experienced life both able-bodied and disabled, which gives me a unique view on life and government. I learned to fight for what I needed from the system, because of that I am able to fight for others, whether that’s the people of Lanark Frontenac Kington or people with disabilities province wide.
I have faced the same struggles, have the same concerns and am just like everybody else, I have learned how to fight for what I need and for others and have made a difference doing so. I want to make a positive impact and create representation of the disabled community at Queen’s Park. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-(343)-363-6507.
Progressive Conservative Party
For the past 21 years, I have played a leadership role in the growth of the North Lanark CHC from a small Community Health Centre with fewer than 20 employees to the current multi-sector organization ConnectWell Community Health with over 200 employees. This experience and my formal education, including a BA in Economics and Executive MBA, make me a strong candidate to represent the people’s interest in the riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.
I am enthusiastic about this opportunity to address the challenges faced in this riding. In my opinion the three biggest challenges and my priorities in LFK are the lack of broadband, soaring housing prices and inadequate access to healthcare services.
Lack of Broadband Connectivity
The province aims to achieve 100 per cent broadband connectivity after committing nearly $4 billion in 2020 to ensure all Ontarians have access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. The government says it is the largest single investment in high-speed internet, in any province, by any government in Canadian history.
Soaring Housing Prices
The provincial government’s housing policies under More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan are working to increase the supply of the full range of housing options, from missing middle to high-rises and family-sized rentals, to single-family homes. In 2021, two years after we implemented More Homes, More Choice, Ontario had the highest level of housing starts since 1987, and the highest level of rental starts in 30 years.
Healthcare Services Access
The lack of access to healthcare services is acute in two notable areas; mental health and addictions. Minister Elliott has announced $31 million in additional funding for mental health and $2.1 million for addiction treatment.
Having had the opportunity to work with many partner agencies within Lanark, Leeds & Grenville and provincially, I look forward to the opportunity to bring our rural perspective to the decision-makers at Queens Park.Born and raised in Lanark County, my wife Brenda-Leah and I are the proud parents of three adult children (Justen, Amanda and Thomas). You can reach me at email@example.com or 613-485-5757.
I have worked over the past 30 years as a family and public health physician mostly in rural and/or northern areas of Ontario. That work involved supporting individuals, families and communities to maintain and improve their health. Over time it has become more apparent to me that the greatest threats to our overall health are poverty and climate change. I realized that to fight those threats, I need to be at the tables where decisions are being made.
Three Top Issues Facing LFK Residents
1. Access to services: Like many rural areas of the province, LFK residents have been left behind when it comes to access to many public services. Family doctors are hard to find, small hospitals have programs removed and concentrated in regional centres, homecare support for seniors is more difficult to obtain. Cell service is patchy. High speed internet is limited making it harder to support small businesses or working from home. Many services have been downloaded to municipalities which have not been provided with sufficient provincial support to provide these services at a level comparable to urban areas. Greens value our rural areas and I will not let them be neglected.
2. Cost of Living/Housing Affordability: Although inflation is a more complex topic dealt with at the federal level, many things can be done provincially to make life more affordable. Incentives for electric vehicles and renovations to make homes more energy efficient will make your income stretch further. Our GPO Housing strategy plans to build 100,000 new affordable housing units including supportive and accessible units. We will reduce housing speculation and provide support for renters and pathways to home ownership.
3. Climate Change is happening now: Floods, droughts, heat waves, forest fires, tornadoes and other extreme storms are happening all around us. Elderly and individuals with chronic diseases are adversely affected by an increasing number of heat waves. Those living in flood prone areas see increasing costs of maintenance and insurance. Support to protect our homes and our municipal infrastructure is essential. Farmers face more weather extremes making crop failure more frequent. While doing everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint and minimize the negative impacts of climate change, Greens also plan to support families and businesses with Climate Adaption Funds.
As a representative of the Green Party of Ontario I value people, not big business. A vibrant economy is important and we need healthy people, and a healthy climate to keep our economy functioning. I will work to find solutions for the complex problems that challenge us and reduce the divisiveness that exists in the provincial legislature. A Green vote is not a wasted vote as some may think. The more Greens are elected the more we can keep the government accountable. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.