Candidates lay out election platforms in Ingersoll
September 22nd, 2011
By John Tapley Ingersoll Times
INGERSOLL — There was no shortage of questions for Oxford County candidates in the Oct. 6 provincial election during an all-candidates meeting at the CAW Hall Wednesday night.
About 60 people turned out to hear what the candidates had to say on a variety of issues during the two-hour session, sponsored by CAW Local 88 and the Woodstock and Ingersoll Real Estate Board.
The five candidates were quizzed for their thoughts on everything from health care and infrastructure to green energy, job creation and changes to the sex offender registry.
To kick off the debate, each candidate was given three minutes to make an opening statement.
Incumbent Conservative candidate Ernie Hardeman said if his party forms the next government, it plans to pump another $6.1 billion into health care and $2 billion into education.
A Conservative government would also share the gas tax with all municipalities, not just those that have public transit systems.
“We’re going to end Dalton McGuinty’s expensive energy experiments and remove the HST from hydro and heating bills,” he said.
Family Coalition Party candidate Leonard Vanderhoeven said his party is pro-life and would put decision-making power in the hands of local communities and would increase support for families.
“We want to replace the nanny government of Ontario with the family state,” he said.
Green Party candidate Cathy Stewart-Mott said her party would empower local communities and take a big picture approach in tackling issues to avoid “silo thinking.”
“There’s an integral link between the economy and the resource base,” she said.
The Green Party would also “create jobs for the 21st century” and increase support for small and medium-sized businesses and strive for a “sustainable and localized health-care system.”
“We would demand accountability when it comes to government action,” she said.
Liberal Party candidate David Hilderley listed some of what has been accomplished by Ontario’s Liberal government the last few years, including construction of the Toyota plant in Woodstock.
“I’m proud of the priorities of the Liberal government and how well it has provided for people in our community since its election in 2003,” Hilderley said.
More jobs are coming to Oxford, he said, including with Siemens in Tillsonburg.
NDP Party candidate Dorothy Eisen said her party would alleviate some of the burden of Ontario’s harmonized sales tax (HST).
“The NDP will regulate gas prices by setting a weekly maximum to prevent gouging,” Eisen said.
It would also reduce the tax rate for small businesses to 4%, she said, and add one million homecare hours and eliminate ambulance fees.
When it comes to green energy, Hardeman said his party is against the high rates being paid to generate it.
Vanderhoeven said green energy “has a lot of good things,” but has to keep the economy in sight and the current policies will lead to greater debt and “that’s unacceptable.”
Stewart-Mott said her party would like to see the Green Energy Act continue, but “it’s too corporate-driven right now and we need to roll it out to the community.”
Green energy is a way to promote the economy and create jobs, Hilderley said, “and we’re certainly moving forward in this area.”
The NDP would offer incentives to go green, Eisen said.
“We must take climate change seriously and support safe, efficient and affordable energy systems,” she said.