Employment and Healthcare Also Top Priorities As Candidates Enter Election Home Stretch
PETERBOROUGH-With the provincial election campaign entering the home stretch, one could possibly safely argue this campaign has perhaps not captured the public’s imagination and attention like past provincial elections. There may be a couple of factors for that, not the least of which is the now more than two-year-old Covid-19 global pandemic. Voter fatigue could also be a factor as it was just last fall that voters went to the polls for a federal election.
Nonetheless, voters will go to the polls on June 2. Kawartha 411 has reached out to all six candidates in the Peterborough-Kawartha Riding for a short bio and what they think the three top local election issues are, and what they intend to do about them. Affordable housing was a common theme.
We have printed their responses in the order they came to us.
Liberal Greg Dempsey:
Greg Dempsey grew up in Peterborough, graduating from Adam Scott CVI in 1999. He holds a BA and BSc from Bishop’s University, a law degree from the University of Victoria, a certificate in international Indigenous Studies from Columbia University in New York, and a Master of Laws degree in International Human Rights from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
“I am incredibly honoured to be the Ontario Liberal Party candidate for Peterborough-Kawartha. From my roots in Peterborough, I’ve built a career bringing people together. And I’m committed to electing a better, more caring provincial government. One that will take decisive action on the climate crisis, support the under-resourced, partner with Indigenous peoples, and restore our relationship with healthcare and education workers. We can do it, together,” Dempsey stated.
He said that his top local issues are housing and affordability, supporting healthcare and education and building a better relationship with healthcare and education workers. Dempsey also lists the climate emergency as another top priority. He said he would work to cut transit fares, protect greenspaces and cancel the proposed Highway 413.
NDP Jen Deck:
Jen Deck is an educator, a parent and the current president of the Kawartha Pine Ridge Elementary Occasional Teacher Local as well as past president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) District 14 Occasional Teacher Local. She said there are many local issues of importance and she promises to bring a fresh, community focused perspective to Queen’s Park, if elected.
“Housing is a human right. The lack of safe, affordable housing impacts nearly everyone in our community. Doug Ford actually cancelled rent control for so very many renters and cut programs for unhoused folks. Worse still, he has pandered to developers and billionaire investors at the expense of average people,” Deck stated. “Ontario’s NDP will make it easier to buy a home and ensure renters are not left behind. Basement apartments, laneway houses and secondary flats are such a great way to ensure we have a variety of housing options here in Peterborough. We also need real rent control to prevent renovictions from putting folks in precarious housing situations.”
Deck added that employment, job creation and supporting small businesses are also among her priorities. She said an NDP government would address mental health issues in Ontario noting that mental health is every bit as important as physical health.
Green Party Robert Gibson
Robert Gibson moved to the city of Peterborough five years ago where he has been active in the community through writing articles largely on the environment and municipal issues. He has hosted ‘Environmental Soup’ through the facilities of Trent Radio. Robert graduated from Trent University in the Environmental Science and Studies program and has been involved with various environmental and social justice organizations. Currently, Robert works as a janitor within the City of Peterborough.
“The three biggest issues are housing, the opioid crisis and climate change. If elected as a Green MPP I will carry the lessons I learned from meeting with various groups and individuals who said that housing has to be part of the solution to the opioid crisis as well as a dementia strategy,” Gibson stated. “I will support legislation that increases available support for individuals who need support related to addiction and mental health and disability. I will address the opioid crisis by supporting legislation to decriminalize drugs, doubling Ontario Disability and partnering with people who have addictions. A Green Government will declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency and create an Ontario Emergency Opioid task force.”
Ontario Party Tom Marazzo:
After a career serving his country as an officer in the Canadian Army, Marazzo began teaching software applications at an Ontario college, but was fired from that position for questioning the legality of the school’s COVID vaccine mandates. Tom volunteered for FreedomConvoy2022, where he was essential in helping to coordinate truck movements and logistics, as well as conducting negotiations with the Police Liaison Teams from the city of Ottawa.
He said that his top priorities are to get the Ontario Government to immediately remove all Coivid-19 related mandates and conduct a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic.
“Bill 100 (Keeping Ontario Open for Business Act, 2022) must immediately be repealed, as it doesn’t comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and by-passes due process for anyone accused of violating it, Marazzo stated. “Bill 67 (Racial Equity in the Education System Act, 2022) must not be allowed to be passed into law as the Ministry of Education must stop their obsession with indoctrination and focus solely on education and skills required for success in a career.”
New Blue Party Rebecca Quinnell:
Rebecca Quinnell is a mother of three boys and served as a nurse in Ontario for 17 years. She is a strong advocate for healthcare. She believes in restoring quality and dignity to our healthcare sector. She resides in Peterborough and loves spending time in the community with her sons. She is a strong believer in responsible government, which is why she has decided it’s time to enter politics and make a change for the better.
She said unification is among her top priorities.
“It’s important for the people of Peterborough-Kawartha to unify again. It’s time to go forward together and discuss the past few years honestly. The PC government has done nothing but divide us, this must stop, we will make it stop,” Quinnell stated. “The number one issue we find when we speak to people in the community here is the cost of living. Everyone is noticing the inflationary pressures we are facing. (Some) people can no longer afford to put nutritious meals on their table.”
Quinnell also stated that the opioid crisis is also a priority noting that she has met with many broken-hearted mothers. She said she does not believe drug users should be punished with prison, however, she believes we are creating a generation of addicts. Quinnell added that ending the opioid crisis begins with tackling the root cause of mental health, which she insists is despair.
PC Party of Ontario Dave Smith:
Kawartha 411 reached out to incumbent PC candidate David Smith with the same request but had not received a response as of publishing time.