Q&A With Rachel Power, Green Party of Ontario Candidate

Rachel Power

Rachel Power

The provincial election is coming up soon. Riverdaler emailed questions to the Toronto-Danforth candidates from the Liberal, PC, NDP and Green parties. Rachel Power is the Green Party of Ontario candidate.

Here are Rachel Power’s responses to the questions we emailed her:

What do you think are the most important issues for residents of Toronto-Danforth?

The most important issues to Toronto-Danforth, and all of Toronto, are the crumbling infrastructure / transportation within Toronto – and protecting our environment / lifestyle by sourcing clean, renewable energy.

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?

Our immediate plan is to lower payroll taxes on small business to encourage job growth and opportunity. Your Green MPPs will call for doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption from $450,000 to $900,000for businesses with payrolls of less than $5 million. This simple change will double the number of local jobs small businesses can create without being taxed. Doubling the EHT exemption will let small businesses keep about $800 million each year to invest in our communities. We’ll pay for it by reversing the Liberals’ Bay Street corporate tax cut by 1% and set the rate at 12.5% — less than the North American average.

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?

The Green Party plans to reduce the deficit by getting our fair share for our natural resources! The amount Ontario / Toronto charges for mining, aggregates and water-taking is laughable. It’s time that people who profit from our shared natural resources pay a fair price for the water, aggregates, and minerals they take.
We will push the government to increase royalties and levies for mining, aggregates and water-taking. The people of Ontario should receive our fair
share of revenues from natural resources – while putting plans in place to protect them!

What should be done to improve health care for Ontarians? Do you believe in giving people the option to pay for medical procedures?

I personally believe in giving Ontario the option. We are losing too many Doctors to the United States in search of higher wages /salaries and our line-ups are too long for those in need of critical care. We need to seek out other options in our Health Care system – and quickly.

What is the provincial government’s role in funding and building transit? What is your plan for improving public transit for Toronto-Danforth residents?

I believe in implementing taxes and tolls for those using our roads and highways – especially in Toronto. Why should Toronto taxpayers be left to foot the bill alone for the damage / traffic / congestion caused by routine visitors from out of town / commuters. This will also encourage commuters to seek out public transportation. The Province and City should explore ways to fund our transportation needs together. There is not ONE right answer or solution to this problem. Ontario politicians need to put ego aside and work together to solve this problem.

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?

This is another major issue that requires extensive research and cooperation across the board. Ontario needs to hire / dedicate a team of environmentalists / scientists and engineers to tackle this problem head on and do what is best for our environment and for the long term. Not what is best for certain political agendas and supporters.

What will your party do to protect the environment?

On top of stiffening the prices and access to our natural resources – the Green Party also proposes a rebate / subsidy to encourage homeowners to invest in energy saving and creating technologies. Energy saving devices, solar panels, etc.