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Where do your LPC, NDP, and GPC candidates stand?

September 16th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Opining on rail safety, daycare, development, health care, and Bill C-51

When residents in The Annex Gleaner coverage area go to the polls on Oct. 19, it will have been less than 18 months since they voted in a federal by-election to replace member of Parliament Olivia Chow, who had stepped down to run for mayor. Since then, the riding of Trinity-Spadina has been largely redistributed into two new ridings: University-Rosedale and Spadina-Fort York. With most Gleaner residents voting in the former, we asked candidates running for all four major parties in the riding to answer a series of questions on policy and their neighbourhood. However, for the first time in the Gleaner’s history, one candidate, Karim Jivraj of the Conservative Party of Canada, declined – at the last minute – to participate in this popular feature.


Compiled by Annemarie Brissenden

Are you satisfied that the major rail corridors in University-Rosedale are safe, particularly for transporting hazardous materials?

Freeland: Absolutely not. As the MP for Toronto Centre and as a local resident who lives next to the train tracks, I have been energetically involved in the rail safety issue.

This is an accident waiting to happen. It is something the federal government can fix – although Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have been missing in action. There are immediate steps we can take: we need more transparency about the dangerous goods which are being shipped, safer train cars, lower speed limits, better braking systems, and better controls on the volatility of the goods that are being shipped. In the medium term, we need to work on rerouting these dangerous goods so they are not travelling through the heart of our city.

Hollett: I am not satisfied that the major rail corridors are safe. I’ve attended the last four rail safety meetings in our community, and the deregulation of our rail industry by both the Liberals and Conservatives have led us to a very dangerous situation. The experts and the NDP agree, rail needs to be safe, regulated, and transparent. Otherwise we could still face a Lac-Mégantic here in University-Rosedale.

Wright: No, dangerous and volatile substances should not be transported through the riding. They must be stabilized prior to transportation, local first responders need to be given real-time information, and we should initiate community and industry consultations on transitioning the Dupont line to passenger rail integrated with our public transit network.

What do you think of Westbank’s proposal for Mirvish Village? What can you do federally to ensure that development and increased density don’t harm the area?

Hollett: I’ve spoken with many community members and resident associations about Westbank’s proposal for Mirvish Village. There is great interest in the rental units, mixed-use space, day care, and working with the community. Many details remain to be seen, but of all the proposed developments in our community, this has the most potential.

As a federal candidate and hopefully MP, I will continue to attend these meetings, working with our city councillors to make sure both housing and infrastructure needs are met. The municipalities can’t do it alone, federal support for affordable housing and public transit is key as our city continues to grow.

Wright: Westbank’s proposal for Mirvish Village includes innovative and exciting additions to the neighbourhood and community, though some issues regarding tower height and density still need to be addressed. As MP for University-Rosedale I will work closely with other levels of government to promote responsible development that adds to our community.

Freeland: It isn’t the federal government’s job to make decisions about local developments in University-Rosedale, and as someone who believes strongly in grassroots democracy I think it is important that decision-making powers always be vested as locally as possible. Decisions need to be taken as close as possible to the people they affect.

Having said that, it is essential that the federal government increase funding to cities so that they can build the infrastructure they need to support growing populations, including more affordable housing. These needs are particularly acute in Toronto, because our city is growing so swiftly.

A Liberal government would do precisely this, with the most ambitious infrastructure plan of any Canadian political party – an additional $60 billion over 10 years, including $10 billion a year for the next two years. This would have a huge impact on jobs, economic growth, and quality of life in University-Rosedale.

Westbank’s proposal for Mirvish Village is a concern for many of the local residents I have been speaking with on my canvasses. As MP I would work with Westbank and local residents to ensure the development is responsive to community input and conscious of the responsibility of all new projects in our historic neighbourhood to enhance the existing community. Including arts spaces, room for small, locally-owned businesses, and green sustainability is essential.

Do you support Bill C-51, aimed at reforming national security through modifications to the criminal code?

Wright: Absolutely not. Bill C-51 is an affront to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and civil liberties. It is shameful that the Conservatives and Liberals supported this dangerous legislation and that the NDP was so slow to oppose it. We need to repeal the bill immediately, maintain the divide between domestic intelligence gathering and enforcement, respect the rights of citizens to express political opposition to government policies, and maintain privacy protections on personal information provided to government.


Freeland: The Liberal Party’s commitment will always be to defend the rights and freedoms of Canadians and to protect their safety. Mr. Harper doesn’t think we need to do anything more to defend our rights and freedoms, and the NDP doesn’t think we need to do anything more to protect our security. We need to do both.

There are understandable concerns with Bill C-51, and we’re committed to repealing and overhauling the parts that are problematic for many, including me. We’ll fix the bill to ensure adequate parliamentary oversight and mandatory legislative review, and to prevent misuse. Canadians should know that the NDP voted against Liberal amendments that proposed these changes.

When it comes to civil liberties and security, Canadians deserve serious and level-headed debate. Instead the NDP is joining Stephen Harper in resorting to the politics of fear.

Hollett: I do not support Bill C-51. The NDP voted against the bill, which has been criticized by the United Nations and is now in court. We don’t have to choose between security and our rights. It’s a false choice – we must protect both. We are committed to repealing Bill C-51. I’m proud to stand with Tom Mulcair and his principled approach on the issue. A lot of people in University-Rosedale tell me they are voting for the NDP for the very first time over Bill C-51.

Should the federal government fund childcare?

Freeland: The Liberal Party understands that Canadian families need support immediately, which is why our expanded child benefit plan would come into force as soon as a Liberal government takes office. It would lift 315,000 Canadian children out of poverty by supporting Canada’s poorest children with a tax-free $6,400 a year. A typical two-parent family, with two children, earning $90,000 a year would get a tax-free benefit of $5,875 a year.

As part of our broader infrastructure plan, we will boost investment in social infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over 10 years, including investments in early learning and child care. We will also fund the creation of thousands of new childcare spaces, enhance their quality, and ensure that affordable childcare spaces are available to more families who need them.


Hollett: The NDP is committed to affordable/accessible childcare at no more than $15/day, based on the model in Quebec where Tom is from. Parents in University-Rosedale are concerned about the high price of daycare in Toronto as well as the long waiting lists. $15/day childcare is a game changer. It’s long overdue. The NDP has also received support from chambers of commerce and boards of trade because employers realize our childcare plan is also good for the economy.

Wright: Yes. The federal government should help fund affordable childcare for those in need including working with business and industry to normalize on-site day care in the workplace.

Do you support the federal government’s new funding formula for health care? (Starting in 2016-17, the federal government will base its health care contributions to the provinces on economic growth.)

Hollett: Health care is a key issue in this campaign, and I’m proud to have so many doctors and health care workers volunteering on our campaign in University-Rosedale. Working in collaboration with the provinces and territories, the NDP will bring medicare into the 21st century. We’ll revoke the Conservatives’ unilateral decision to take $36 billion in anticipated funding out of health care, and engage with the provinces in a discussion of real needs. We support the development of new agreements that ensure improved health outcomes. We recognize the jurisdiction of all provinces over health care delivery, but want to work together to improve our public and universal health care system.

Wright: I am a strong proponent of high-quality publicly funded universal health care and oppose policies that are not based on medical need. I am deeply concerned that changes to health care contributions may lower the quality of care provided in some areas.


Freeland: Liberals believe that it is the federal government’s responsibility to work collaboratively with the provinces, territories, and indigenous communities to tackle health issues such as reducing wait times and strengthening community-based care, senior care, mental health, and prescription drug coverage.

Since coming to power, the Conservatives have made changes to how provincial health transfers are paid out that have resulted in steep cuts to important programs, including those administering drug treatment, mental health treatment, and suicide prevention. Further, the Harper government has announced unilateral reductions to health transfers after the Liberal Health Accord expires in 2017 that will completely cut funding for reducing wait times – at a time when Canada ranks last among OECD-country family doctor wait times and has shown no improvement in wait times since 2004.

Tags: Annex · Liberty · News

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Christopher King // Sep 17, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Shame that CPC candidate Karim Jivraj had to back out at the last minute. Not that I’m voting for him, but because he was a breath of fresh air when compared to previous CPC candidates; open and honest.
    Guaranteed that this backing out has more to do with the #HarperGovernment trying to keep their message on track and to prevent individual candidates from exercising individual thinking, despite the occasional the gaffes, horrible or as funny as they have been. We deserve to know where a candidate stands on key topics important to our voting district.