Anthony is a 19-year-old student at Western University studying Medical Sciences and Financial Economics. He grew up in the political hub of Ottawa which heavily influenced his drive to be involved in the political realm. He served as the master of ceremonies of the all candidates debate in the last federal election in the Ottawa Vanier Riding, mediating a discussion between candidates from all 4 of the major political parties. Anthony has extensive volunteer experience, from community centres and hospitals to the Special Olympics Program and at teaching at orphanages overseas. He also serves on the National Youth Advisory Council of Plan International Canada as a provincial representative, with which he attended the 61st Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Anthony has continued his pursuit of youth governance by joining the board of directors of LEADS Employment Services as the youngest director in the organization’s history, and also serves on the board of directors of the Western USC serving as a director and the chair of the finance committee. Anthony believes he can utilize his current Board experience in the education and non-profit sector as well as considerable knowledge and experience in finance, fundraising, marketing, and community connectivity to be an effective representative for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.
Would you make changes, and if so, what, to the Green Energy Act?
The Green Party of Ontario does not support the current Green Energy Act. Although we stand for renewable energy and look to be powered by 100% renewable energy in the future, there are changes that should be made to the provincial approval process for industrial wind turbines. Under the current Act, corporate power is put ahead of community power. The collateral damage of wind farms to small communities, such as well water contamination, is of great concern for the people of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and amending the Act to give power back to the people of our municipalities is a priority.
Ontario electricity prices continue to spiral upward. What should be done to stop the increases?
Ontario’s current electricity system is unsustainable. First, in order to ensure the best possible rates, we need to conduct an independent review of the costs, benefits and alternatives of all forms of electricity generation before we make any long-term decisions. We can avoid further raising electricity prices by placing a moratorium on rebuilding any nuclear plant (such as Darlington) until proper review is conducted and closing the Pickering Nuclear Station on schedule. Nuclear power plants are outdated and require extensive maintenance. Low-cost opportunities, such as water power, are more economical choices—importing hydro power from Quebec would cost less than a third of Ontario Power Generation’s price. For the long-term, we will develop an Energy Plan for Ontario to be powered by 100% renewable energy.
How do you think the increase in minimum wage has impacted the Ontario economy?
The increase in minimum wage has put more money into the pockets of hard-working Ontarians. However, the increase in minimum wage should be followed by lowered labour costs for small businesses. The GPO plan to raise the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax from $450,000 to $1,000,000 in payroll would automatically and immediately benefit small businesses, and they wouldn’t have to fill out paperwork to apply or wait until they file their taxes. Payroll tax reductions help small businesses by immediately lowering labour costs, improving their monthly cash flow and creating incentives to create more and better paying jobs. It’s clear there are two parties of big business and one party of no business at Queen’s Park. Only the Green Party has a balanced plan that supports a living wage for workers and gives their employers immediate help to offset the cost of the increased minimum wage.
In terms of health care, what do you feel the spending priority should be?
We want to improve the infrastructure of our health care system. We will invest in having comprehensive primary care as our foundation and put health promotion, early intervention, and community well-being at the center of our health system. With these goals, it is important to push for universally accessible dental care and pharmacare. These initiatives are beneficial to all Ontarians, regardless of status and will improve health care for all without discrimination.
The province has a debt of more than $320 billion, running a deficit this year of about $6.7 billion. What has to change?
The Financial Accountability Officer’s findings show Ontario will be in a deficit position for at least the next four years and will spend more money on interest payments instead of essential public services. Ontario already has the largest debt of any sub-national jurisdiction in the world, and it will get much worse. The Green Party of Ontario strongly encourages the government to pursue a balanced budget in a way that does not put the burden on the backs of people and their children and grandchildren. We need to transform politics in Ontario to put the needs of people, communities and local businesses before big donors and corporate insiders.