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We have compiled a list of 16 questions for our 2018 Provincial candidates from our editorial staff as well as you, our readers. Here’s how they responded.

Links to the other candidates’ responses can be found at the bottom.

Jan Johnstone, NDP candidaate, Huron-Bruce

Q: What do you think is the most important issue facing Huron-Bruce residents today and how will it be addressed?

A: I think the biggest issue we’re facing in Huron-Bruce is the chronic underfunding in our education system. After decades of Conservative and Liberal governments, schools are crumbling. Too many have closed, and too many more are on the chopping block. Our children, teachers and educators, deserve more support, not less.

We will put a moratorium on school closings until we have done a comprehensive review of the funding formula, focused on equity and quality. We will invest $16 billion over 10 years for capital repairs, and hire more teachers and educational assistants. This will allow us to curb class sizes and support our most vulnerable students and their teachers.

Q: How will you protect the interest of the Huron-Bruce constituents and rural Ontarians?

A: Rural Ontarians face many of the same challenges as the rest of Ontarians when it comes to issues like affordability and health care. But rural, agricultural communities like ours there are additional concerns like preserving farmland and supporting family farms.

We will protect farmland from land speculators and expand economic opportunities for family farms and producers. We will increase the cap on the Risk Management Program for producers, and work to help make sure young farmers are able to get their start in the industry. The planned Provincial Food and Water Strategy will promote health through access to healthy food, put public access to drinking water first, and overall make this province’s food system more resilient and strong.

Q: What is your role in ensuring your party will deliver on its promises to Ontarians.

A: Andrea Horwath is someone you can trust to keep her promises, and I’m in full support of our platform.

Q: How will you invest in public health care to ensure that Ontarians receive a high quality of service now and into the future?

A: Chronic underfunding in the health care system after decades of Liberal and Conservative governments has lead to painfully long wait times and overcrowded hospitals where hallway medicine is rampant. We will restore hospital funding and make sure it always keeps up with inflation and population growth. This plan will also take into account the unique needs of rural hospitals.

In this year alone, we will invest $1.2 billion in hospital operations; then, make sure long-term plans are made to give hospitals the resources they need. We will also plan to invest $19 billion over the next decade for expansions and new hospitals. We will add 2,000 hospital beds across the province, and a comprehensive capacity review will help us to plan for the future.

Q: How will you invest in education to ensure that Ontarians receive quality education now and into the future?

A: We will invest in more teachers and educational assistants, cap class sizes in kindergarten, invest $16 billion to repair crumbling schools in a 10-year plan, and we will fix the rules around education development charges so they can fund the new schools that the families in our communities need.

Q: How will you protect the interest of farmers and agriculture in Huron-Bruce?

See answer to “How will you protect the interest of the Huron-Bruce constituents and rural Ontarians?” above

Q: What can be done to help families with special needs children?

A: We’ll make sure schools have the resources they need to support specialized education and allow all our students to thrive. Funding will be based on need, not on overall populations, and we’ll make sure there are timely needs assessments.

Q: Are there plans to increase the availability of skill labourers in Huron-Bruce? eg: bringing in post-secondary education?

A: We know that students all across Ontario are struggling with larger debts and education is increasingly inaccessible to too many Ontarians. By turning student loans into grants, and forgiving interest payments on existing loans, we can make education more accessible to all Ontarians. We will stop the funding freeze and make sure funding keeps up with growing needs.

Q: What will be done to address the family doctor shortage in Huron-Bruce?

A: Most Ontarians have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, but unfortunately it’s sometimes still a struggle in rural communities like ours to get an appointment with a primary care provider. By investing in our health care system and fixing the existing problems, we can begin to close the gaps and make sure all Ontarians have the care they need.

Q: How will you address climate change and ensure that the water and environment will be protected for future generations?

A: We believe big polluters should pay, and that money should support families like those who are lower-income and those living in rural areas like ours. The cap-and-trade system will be more fair, effective and transparent, and we will dedicate a quarter of cap-and-trade revenues toward supporting low-income and rural Ontarians. We will buy back Hydro One and with public oversight, implement green-energy policies in a cost effective way. And we will have a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to help communities, particularly rural and northern communities, stay strong and resilient in the face of the impacts of climate change.

Q: What is your stand on nuclear energy and nuclear waste management?

A: As a long-time resident in Huron—Bruce, I have first-hand experience with Bruce Power’s strong safety culture and commitment to the community. Decisions about electricity supply should be made by experts based on affordability and reliability. Our main focus when it comes to electricity is on doing anything we can to lower rates for working families. I support the refurbishment of Bruce Power and consider nuclear power to be clean and safe. The DGR issue is federal and no provincial government will have any power to change any decision made.

Q: What is your stand on carbon tax?

A: We believe big polluters should pay.But auditors-general in Ontario and Canada have determined the initiatives in the current Climate Change Action Plan aren’t supported by any detailed analysis or plans. Spending cap-and-trade revenue with no regard for effectiveness, as Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals have done, undermines support for climate change action.

An NDP government would invest at least 25% of cap-and-trade revenues to support low-income Ontarians and those in rural communities, and we would implement a Climate Change Adaption Strategy to increase resiliency in communities and economic sectors in responding to climate change.

Q: What are the plans to address hydro rates for Ontarians?

A: We will buy back Hydro One over time to put it in back in public hands – and it will be able to work for the public interest instead of private profits. This will allow us to bring hydro rates down by 30% and keep them down.

Q: Are there plans to increase old age security for seniors?

A: Old age security is federal jurisdiction, but we will support seniors with more investments in health care, seniors care, affordable and supportive housing, allowing them to defer property taxes until their sell their house, and reducing their expenses on things like hydro bills.

Q: Are there plans to address mental health and drug issues in Huron-Bruce?

A: Andrea Horwath has committed to creating a stand-alone Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, giving this important issue the priority it deserves. By investing in 30,000 new supportive housing units over 10 years, hiring 2,600 new mental health workers, and cutting wait times for children’s mental health services, we will help address mental health and drug issues all across the province.

Q: Is there anything else you wish to share with our readers about yours or your party’s platform?

A: I’m committed to representing the interests of Huron—Bruce in Queen’s Park, and I’ll keep our local priorities at top of mind. We don’t need to choose between Liberals and Conservatives, between bad and worse. A vote for me is a vote for change for the better.

See Saugeen Shores Hub for other Huron-Bruce candidates (in alphabetical order):

Don Matheson - Liberal
Lisa Thompson - PC
Nicholas Wendler - Green

At the time of publishing, we hadn’t received a response from Alliance Ontario’s Gerry Huenemoerder and Libertarian Ron Stephens. If we get a response from either of these candidates, we will publish and update accordingly.

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