s candidates wrap up campaigning for the June 2 provincial election, we invited all seven who are vying to represent Parry Sound-Muskoka to answer five questions of local importance.
Their answers are listed in randomly generated order.
What lessons do you take away from the COVID-19 pandemic that would help this region to be better prepared in the future?
Graydon Smith, PC Party
Our region needs two acute-care hospitals, each equipped with an emergency room and ambulance services. The PCs have committed to building these redeveloped hospitals. We’re the only party that will and can do so.
The PC government has invested more in healthcare than any other government in Ontario’s history. Moving forward, our plan to keep Ontario open includes the following:
- Implementing a new, refundable Ontario Seniors Care at Home Tax Credit to help seniors aged 70 and older with eligible home care medical expenses to help people stay in their homes longer.
- Making additional investments in home care by planning to invest up to an additional $1 billion over the next three years.
- Investing $3.5 billion over three years to support the continuation of over 3,000 hospital beds put in place during the pandemic and $1.1 billion over three years to support the continuation of hundreds of new adult, pediatric, and neonatal critical care beds added during COVID-19.
- Investing more than $40 billion over the next 10 years in hospital and health care infrastructure supporting more than 50 major hospital projects that would add 3,000 new beds over 10 years.
- Making historic investments in hospitals with an additional $3.3 billion in 2022–23, bringing the total additional investments in hospitals to $8.8 billion since 2018–19.
See the PC platform here.
Erin Horvath, NDP
Rather than cutting public health units as the Conservative government has (35 down to 10), the NDP will invest in these and I will advocate that they be more directly involved in regional decisions regarding future COVID shutdown measures, under the guidance of the province. This would prevent our businesses and schools from being shut down when we are not being impacted by high case counts.
The NDP will ensure long-term care homes are brought under the public or not-for-profit within eight years as COVID death rates were higher in private homes (5.7 percent), compared to not-for-profit (2.8 percent) and municipal homes (1.4 percent).
The NDP will increase funding to our healthcare system so we are up to par with other provinces. The current government is investing 10 per cent less per capita than the other provinces on average.
We will expand paid sick days so people do not have to choose between working sick and not paying the bills.
Freezing health care and education workers’ salaries, along with understaffing, has resulted in people leaving from burnout. We will repeal Bill 124, unfreezing their wages and attracting workers back to these much-needed roles.
The NDP will invest in manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Ontario and ensure there are proper stockpiles.
We will ensure all schools have an up-to-date ventilation system to prevent the spread of COVID and other illnesses, and decrease classroom sizes by hiring back 20,000 teachers and education workers.
See the NDP platform here.
Andrew John Cocks, Ontario Party
Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has led our federal and provincial governments to implement extreme measures as a way of mitigating harm to citizens.
However, as time and research has shown, many of those measures have done more harm than good. In Ontario, the economic and societal harm done by our current government’s misguided measures has been compounded by sitting politicians who—despite the growing body of empirical evidence that exposes the folly of their decisions—refuse to admit their errors or commit to a full and speedy reversal of their damaging actions.
The Ontario Party is committed to restoring what our current politicians decimated in the name of COVID-19 and is equally committed to ensuring the government-imposed mistakes and abuses of the last two years are never repeated again.
See the Ontario Party platform here.
Brad Waddell, Populist Party
Many of us realized early on that the numbers just didn’t add up. More and more studies over time have shown that lockdowns are ineffective at stopping the spread of a virus, and the social and economic impacts outweigh any health benefits. We would never isolate healthy people and force the closure of small businesses while the big box store make record profits.
We would also re-hire nurses and doctors fired when we needed them most, and work to increase hospital efficiency to be prepared for any situation.
See the PPO platform here.
Daniel Predie Jr, independent
The privately incorporated political party businesses and their legally indemnified, to a lawyer oligarch, members have spent tax dollars into a legally nurtured for oblivion. If elected I will bring transparency to this corruption, while ensuring through accountability that Parry Sound-Muskoka is better prepared for the future.
Doug Maynard, New Blue Party
So many mistakes were made in how government responded to COVID-19. In my opinion two of the biggest errors which should NEVER be repeated are:
1) Firing health care workers during a crisis of any kind, let alone a pandemic. Health care workers need the support to provide such important services; and
2) Repeatedly locking down small businesses and schools creating additional financial hardships did absolutely nothing to reduce transmission of COVID-19, yet the Ontario government’s only answer was more lockdowns and restrictions. We should have focused on providing protection and care for those most vulnerable to the virus.
See the New Blue platform here.
Matt Richter, Green Party
The pandemic exposed the cracks in the foundations of our healthcare system, which is why more of the status quo isn’t going to help anyone. It all starts with investing in frontline workers and supporting strong hospitals so that we can protect the seriously ill when something like this comes around. To do that, we need to listen to and hear what our health professionals are saying. We are calling for the repeal of Bill 124 so that health care workers can bargain collectively for fair wages, which will help retain them in these key positions so that patients can get access to care.
When it comes to something like the COVID-19 pandemic, knowledge is power. We will commission an independent study of how the pandemic impacted our province in order to deliver fresh insights and new ideas on how we can be better prepared in the future.
See the Green Party platform here.
Election day in Ontario is June 2, 2022. Advance polls are open now. Find details on when and where to vote at elections.on.ca.
If you’re on the voters list, you should have received a voter information card in the mail. Bring your voter information card and one piece of ID showing your name when you go to vote.
If you did not receive a voter information card, you can still vote, but your name may not be on the voters list. Bring one piece of ID showing your name and current residential address when you go to vote.
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