The provincial election is coming up soon. Riverdaler emailed questions to the Toronto-Danforth candidates from the Liberal, PC, NDP and Green parties.
Peter Tabuns has been the MPP representing Toronto-Danforth at Queen’s Park since 2006 under the NDP banner. Prior to that he was executive director at Greenpeace from 1999-2004 and was a city councillor for Riverdale from 1990-1997. Peter Tabuns is running for re-election in the provincial election to be held on June 12th.
Here are Peter Tabuns’ responses to the questions we emailed him:
What do you think are the most important issues for residents of Toronto-Danforth?
Top issues are jobs, transit and health care. Because it is increasingly home to young families, child care is becoming a big issue. The environment may not be the top issue but it is still a powerful issue in our community.
The city of Toronto traditionally has a higher unemployment rate than the rest of the province. The 2006 census shows a 7.2% unemployment rate for Toronto-Danforth, compared to the provincial average of 6.4%. What is your plan to create job growth and reduce unemployment?
An Ontario NDP government will reward companies that create jobs with a Job Creation Tax Credit. We will commit $250 million per year for 2 years. This credit will be equal to 10% of an employee’s salary, to a maximum value of $5,000. Our Job Creation Tax Credit will help create up to 170,000 jobs. We would also implement a manufacturing investment tax credit that would encourage manufacturers to invest in plants and machinery.
The proposed 2014-2015 budget predicted a deficit of $12.5 Billion. When is it reasonable to expect a balanced budget and how can we get there?
New Democrats would balance the budget in 2017-18. Based on the growth in the deficit in the recent Liberal budget, the Liberals have no plan to balance the books. After two straight years of rising deficits, the Liberals say they will.eliminate the deficit starting in 2015 – without showing how.
We will cut inefficient spending and ensure that public money is spent on real family priorities. We will stop corporate tax giveaways and roll back the corporate tax rate with a moderate increase.
What should be done to improve health care for Ontarians? Do you believe in giving people the option to pay for medical procedures?
The Ontario NDP believes in a strongly publicly funded health care system. I think that Ontarians expect their money to be invested wisely in frontline care so that medical care is there when they need it the most. Many Ontarians continue to lack access to primary care and 9 in 10 Ontarians wait too long for a family doctor appointment. Homecare wait times have tripled and the wait for care has meant that seniors can be stuck in a hospital beds that they do not need to occupy.
The Ontario NDP is committed to easing the pressure on hospital resources and reducing ER wait times across the province. We will invest in services for seniors and work towards a 5-day home care guarantee, and we will increase the number of long-term care beds throughout the province. This will free up bed space in hospitals for acute and mental health care. We will also increase the number of family health clinics and extend clinics hours so that more Ontarians can access care outside the hospital ER setting.
We have never supported two-tier health care.
What is the provincial government’s role in funding and building transit? What is your plan for improving public transit for Toronto-Danforth residents?
An Ontario NDP government will invest in high impact transit projects now. Public transit investments are crucial for growing our economy, decreasing congestion and allowing families in Toronto-Danforth to spend time together. I believe that all three levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, have a role to play in building transit. The Ontario NDP will provide much needed funding for the long-delayed Downtown Relief Line – a project that desperately needs to move forward. We need clean trains now, which means electrifying routes like the Union-Pearson Air-Rail link.
We will finance with a modest increase in the general Corporate Income Tax rate to ensure that we can build the transportation infrastructure we need without unfair fees being imposed on middle-income families or cuts to education and health services families rely on.
This year Ontario’s last coal burning power plant was retired. Peak electricity rates were also increased 0.6 cents per kilowatt hour. What is your plan to ensure that Ontario families and businesses have enough electricity at affordable rates?
Due to Liberal mismanagement, energy costs are spiraling out of control – and Tim Hudak’s plan to privatize public hydro assets will only make the problem worse. The Ontario NDP has a plan to rein in costs in the electricity system to lower prices for Ontario families. We will cut down on waste and duplication by merging Ontario’s 4 hydro agencies and capping executive pay. We will make sure we get the best deal on our electricity exports by creating a direct trading agency like ones used in Quebec and Manitoba. We will invest in conservation and efficiency in peoples’ homes and businesses in order to give people direct assistance in reducing their bills but also to make the whole system less expensive to operate. We will stop the ongoing privatization of the electricity system. Finally, we will take the HST and Debt Retirement Charge off of hydro bills.
What will your party do to protect the environment?
The Ontario NDP will invest in low-carbon public transportation. I know a lot of families who tell me they want to be more sustainable but feel it’s just too expensive. So we will make going green at home an affordable option for families and we will also provide incentives for industries to go green. We have a plan to secure green investment by supporting efforts to cap carbon emissions and would work to improve monitoring and reporting of emissions to ensure Ontario can meet emission reduction targets.
New Democrats will invest in things that will directly benefit this riding like funding for bike networks and a plan to help families install solar panels. We will also conduct environmental impact assessments on proposed pipeline projects in our communities.