I have had the honour and privilege of serving as your MPP since 2011. As a father, small businessperson, and lifelong resident of LKM, I am passionate about serving my community and building a better future for our province. I was inspired at a young age to pursue public service by my grandfather, Jack McNaughton, who fought to have the Four Counties hospital built. I became a conservative when I served as a legislative page at Queen’s Park and delivered the first Bob Rae-NDP budget, which included the largest deficit in provincial history. As MPP I have fought to make life more affordable for families and to bring jobs and prosperity back to our province. I have introduced legislation to make government more accountable, to restore local decision making, and to get rid of unfair taxes. If re-elected, I will continue to be a strong voice for small town and rural Ontario.
Would you make changes, and if so, what, to the Green Energy Act?
The Ontario PCs would scrap the expensive and unnecessary Green Energy Act. The GEA was brought in by the NDP and Liberals without regard to the cost for ratepayers or to the impact it would have on our rural communities. Since then, the NDP and the Liberals joined together on three separate occasions to defeat PC legislation to implement a moratorium on wind turbines. For the sake of Ontario’s families and businesses, we need to pursue reliable, affordable energy and stop kowtowing to special interests.
Ontario electricity prices continue to spiral upward. What should be done to stop the increases?
We need to stop building wind turbines and place an immediate moratorium on new energy contracts, tackle the out of control executive compensation at Hydro One, support nuclear power, and return all Hydro One dividends to hydro customers — saving the average family 4.7% on their hydro bills. It’s time to scrap the Green Energy Act. The high cost of hydro has done terrible damage to our province and real action to deal with this catastrophe is long overdue. A PC government will be for the people, and focus on making energy affordable for Ontario’s families and businesses, instead of favouring insiders and special interests as the Liberals and NDP have done.
How do you think the increase in minimum wage has impacted the Ontario economy?
The sudden rise in the minimum wage to $14/hr has unfortunately had many unintended consequences, most of which hurt the very people the higher minimum wage was supposed to help. The first month it was implemented, January 2018, Ontario lost over 50,000 jobs. Many businesses have been forced to cut hours, restrict hiring, or raise prices, meaning there is less opportunity and wages don’t go as far. Between the Liberal and NDP backed carbon tax and minimum wage hike, everything from food to gasoline to child care has become more expensive. That is why the Ontario PCs have pledged to get rid of provincial income tax for everyone making $29,500/yr or less, and to hold the minimum wage at $14/hr for now. This will take some of the burden off employers while still giving financial relief to minimum wage earners.
In terms of health care, what do you feel the spending priority should be?
We need to prioritize frontline care. We have all heard the horror stories about days spent in waiting rooms and patients being treated in hospital hallways. Meanwhile, the healthcare bureaucracy continues to grow and more LHIN employees collect six figure salaries. The Ontario PCs know that it’s our frontline healthcare workers, especially our nurses, who understand the system and we look forward to working with them to make sure funding gets where it needs to go. To start with, we are going to deliver 15,000 additional long term care beds in the next 5 years to ensure our seniors are well cared for. We have also committed to invest $1.9 billion in mental health care to make sure those struggling with mental illness get the help they need. These investments will help ensure care is delivered effectively and efficiently for all.
The province has a debt of more than $320 billion, running a deficit this year of about $6.7 billion. What has to change?
It’s no secret I am deeply concerned with our growing debt problem in this province. Ontario is the most indebted province or state in the world, and both the NDP and Liberals are promising to drive us further into debt for the foreseeable future. They promise voters lots of “free” goodies, as if it isn’t voters who will pay for these election promises through higher taxes. This high debt agenda has to change. Even with historically low interest rates, $1 billion of taxpayers’ money is being spent every month on interest payments. That’s money that should be going to healthcare, education, infrastructure and other vital services. Only the PC Party is promising to get spending under control so we can make life more affordable today, and so we can stop mortgaging our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.