KAWARTHA LAKES-The provincial election is coming up on June 2, 2022. We asked all of the local candidates the same questions are printing their answers in full in the order received.
Here is Kerstin Kelly, Ontario Party.
Bio provided by candidate
I am the daughter of Ann and Armin Mehnert poor immigrants who escaped from East Germany and made a life for my siblings and me on a subsistence farm south of Bobcaygeon in Verulam Township.
I am a doctor of veterinary medicine, businesswoman and most importantly mother to Lauren and Alexandra and wife to Neil Kelly. I practiced veterinary medicine in Sutton, Beaverton and Lindsay and simultaneously ran the Lindsay airport with my husband and family.
My life has been spent participating in and contributing to this community and recently retired in 2020. I am very motivated to run in this election because I see a great need to get Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock back on track and bring transparency, truth, accountability and respect back to the voters and people of this riding.
What are the three top local issues in your opinion?
During my door to door canvassing the three main issues I hear from constituents are that they want me to address are lack of affordable housing, inflation and mental health.
What is your stance on those issues and your proposed solutions?
I believe people should be able to live their lives comfortably and not have to choose between their next meal and pay their rent or their mortgage. Home prices in Ontario have risen 180% in the last decade while average incomes have risen just 38%. In the last year alone, the average price of a home rose by about 25%. With an average home in the province now listing above one million dollars, working-class Canadians can no longer afford a place of their own to raise a family.
In other G7 nations, there is an average of 471 housing units per 1,000 residents; in Toronto a study by Scotiabank found just 360 housing units per 1,000 residents.
Simply put, the supply of homes is too low and demand for homes is too high and, on both fronts, our current politicians are mostly to blame for this crisis.
The solution is not government funding funnelled to new homeowners. As recent history shows, when government money is made available the market responds with proportional increases to home prices.
One of the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force objectives is to build 1.5 million new homes within the next 10 years. For the province to confirm the available land supply to accomplish this objective, we need to remove red tape. Property owners must be given more freedom to construct larger multi-unit residential buildings, and to add tiny houses to their properties, while we protect agricultural land. It should not take 6-18 months to get building permits.
We would advocate for establishing an Ontario focused purchasing ban on foreign investors on residential homes and vacant land, as well as, striking up a money-laundering task force charged with rooting out corruption and instituting needed regulatory changes related to real estate sales and purchases.
In our riding the lack of affordable housing impacts women’s shelters. Women and children cannot find housing so they are forced to stay in shelters long term. The Landlord-Tenant Board of Ontario has created a crisis by making it impossible for good landlords to remove bad tenants. The LTB takes months to respond if ever and with impossible red tape has effectively inhibited good people from renting to potentially risky tenants. We need to address this to open up more affordable housing.
Inflation has gone through the roof and everyone is feeling it. Our incomes have not risen to the rate of inflation and the last year has been a complete shock for people with grocery staples going up to 50 percent in some cases. We need to have more transparency in government so that we can monitor the runaway spending that has taken place with our current provincial Conservative government. We have never seen a Conservative government act in such a foolhardy way with nothing to show for it and the Liberals and NDP have the same track record. Average citizens are taxed to the point that two people working in a household barely covers the bills. We need to curb the tax load of income earners and businesses so that we open the tap to growth and innovation. What we have right now is bloated government that is spending money that is not theirs and they need to be reined in.
Mental Health and Depression
Sadly I have heard many tragic stories at people’s doors. Mental health is a major issue that people are dealing with at an unprecedented level. I will support legislation that virtually outlaws the provincial government’s ability to impose lockdowns, and recognize that all work and all workers are essential. Putting food on the table, feeding and clothing a family, paying rent and paying a mortgage are all essential. Costco, Walmart, Amazon are no more important than our own means to survive and make ends meet. I would strongly support the requirement that businesses and organizations that fired or suspended employees due to COVID mandates to return those workers to their original positions of work. We must ensure resources and staff in Ontario’s hospitals, retirement homes and other related facilities are sufficient to keep the medically and mentally vulnerable safe and healthy. More coaching, mentorship, and healing therapy must be made available to facilitate healing, purpose in life, hope and recovery.