By-election: Keith Benn, New Blue Party

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Why are you running to represent the riding of L-K-M?

I am very pleased to be running in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, which includes my hometown of Wallaceburg where my family has deep roots. As your MPP, I will gladly represent and defend the interests of the people of L-K-M at Queen’s Park. I will also act keenly as the “tip of the spear” for a much-needed return to smaller, more efficient government, based on the principles of common-sense conservatism that are ignored by the other parties.

I recognize the need to defend the people of L-K-M and Ontario against the reckless waste of our taxpayers’ dollars that has been all too common under several previous governments.

What are the biggest issues facing the riding?

Right now, there are two very pressing issues specific to L-K-M. First, we must push for investigations of potential health hazards caused by industrial wind turbine complexes that appear to have interfered with domestic water supplies in rural Chatham-Kent.

Second, we need to prevent further environmental and social hazards that might arise from ill-conceived projects such as (but not limited to) the proposed landfill and recycling facility near Dresden.

Other very important issues facing L-K-M, as well as the whole of Ontario, include the quality of primary-through-secondary education and the proper management, delivery and funding of health care. Regarding the funding of health care, I suggest the Government of Ontario should insist on directly collecting a larger portion of the income taxes from within our province, rather than having those tax dollars laundered through Ottawa.

Do you feel rural Ontario is getting overlooked? If elected, what if any steps will you take to remedy that?

In my opinion, rural Ontario is not so much overlooked but rather misunderstood and to some degree abused. Large urban populations that are, of course, strongly represented at Queen’s Park seemingly view rural Ontario as empty space to be filled with their waste and their destructive “development” projects. See, for instance, industrial wind turbines and landfills, as discussed above.

We need to remind those in government that rural areas are where much of our food originates and where much of the province’s ecological richness resides. From Queen’s Park, I will remind Ontarians that the destruction of farmland and the disruption of rural communities will not benefit the province or its people, especially with regards to food prices. A rapidly increasing population combined with decreased food production will never lead to a good place.

What are your goals as a Member of Provincial Parliament?

I would seek to define and then to achieve a specific set of objectives that would be clearly identified as highly important to L-K-M and to Ontario. My leadership and management strategies would be guided by the fundamental principles of responsible government. Those principles include achieving all objectives efficiently and in a timely and transparent fashion, while avoiding fiscal waste.

I do not believe in throwing taxpayers’ dollars at projects in order to buy press releases and photo-ops.

Please share some personal details about yourself.

My family arrived in Wallaceburg in the 1880s. My great-grandfather became chief of police and his son established Benn Iron Foundry in the 1930s after returning from the First World War.

My father and his brother grew that business to employ upwards of 300 workers.

I spent my early years living on the banks of the Sydenham River.

I hold a doctorate in geology and I was previously an associate professor at the University of Ottawa. I now work internationally in the minerals industry as a professional geoscientist (P. Geo.).

My personal and family ties to the area provide me with a broad and deep understanding of the people and the land. The professional experience I have accumulated has prepared me well to deal with matters of planning, budgets and the large bureaucracy that is the government of Ontario.

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