Kitchener Centre Meet the Candidates May 23 2018

  Notes and Videos May 23 2018

Income Security 

  All people should have enough money for decent living. $389 for the housing portion of Ontario Works is unsustainable and inadequate. It impacts  immigrants and  persons living on social assistance.  All individuals could have access to a universal basic income as social assistance is currently the last resort. Reform of the social assistance is needed so people can do more than just survive.     
    

  There are concerns about people not having enough money   to retire; the cost of rent is dauntingly high. One accident or   illness can make paying for housing impossible. The   OW/ODSP rates were cut of the 90’ but rent still increased.   There is a long list of medications that aren’t covered by   ODSP. Allowable asset level increased recently – but  segregated funds are not included and they are clawed  back on ODSP checks. 

  The Child Benefit is helpful; the recent minimum wage increase has already had an impact but we need the living wage.  We need a better distribution of wealth and more public services.

Healthcare 

  The ideal of Canada’s publicly funded universal healthcare   system in which all citizens are eligible for comprehensive   and adequate health benefits has long been failing. Long   term care waiting lists are extremely long, mental health  services are not available when required. Hospitals and long-   term care homes are understaffed and underfunded, and   adequate dental and vision care is often inaccessible due to   prohibitive costs. There are also frustrations with the   privatization of health care services, expensive P3 projects   and inefficiencies in the system.  

  Kitchener Centre candidates acknowledge these   shortcomings and are seeking to address the issues through   solutions such as increased funding, Pharmacare, and     increased OHIP coverage. Candidates recognize that the   healthcare system is not meeting basic healthcare needs and   are proposing solutions to restore faith in Canada’s health   care system.

Environment

Decades of inaction on climate change and weak targets require ambitious government leadership to support change and phase out our emissions fast. 

Some of the ways to do it are to increase public transportation to be affordable, frequent and rapid; decrease dependency on cars and invest in electric car infrastructure. More space for pedestrians and bikes. A strong position on plastics is needed to ban single use and no production of non- recyclables. Energy efficiency is needed in all new developments (solar panels, LEED certification) while retrofitting needs to be supported by public money. At the same time, all farmland needs to be protected, so do bee pollinators and banning the use of pesticides. 

  Politicians make commitments they don’t follow through, 

allocated money is not being spent. The Carbon Tax is good, exemptions to certain industries are not. 

 Housing

More capital investment by all levels of government is needed for social housing. At the same time, we have to avoid ghettoization, especially close to ION through mixed-income housing. Inclusionary zoning has to be improved and targets set so there is enough designated rent geared to income units. More supports are needed in all social housing, as safety is an increasing concersn in shelters and community housing. We can invest more in co-operative housing. 

With the elimination of rent control exemptions, we can expect many more Above Guideline Rent Increase requests from landlords. Tenants need better protection and enforcement at the Landlord and Tenant Board and their records need to be public to incentivize the landlords to maintain the properties. Due to the lack of protection mechanisms, tenants feel like second-class citizens. The landlords increase rents after a tenant moves out without a limit which seriously diminishes affordability and promotes high turnover practices. We need to introduce decommodification of housing and be firm in the approach that housing is a human right. Renters need to become more vocal and organized.

Democratic Reform

 Participants were unanimous in expressing dissatisfaction with the First Past the Post system. Also, excluding party leaders from television debates is not acceptable. Equal funding of political parties can be paid through public dollars, and no tax credits provided for contributions to parties.

There needs to be more education on the right to vote. Some even think it should be made compulsory.

Many people are still not clear on proportional systems and there is not yet a simple explanation. The voting systems are something people have to learn about and understand better. We need to allow independents to be elected and make our political system more nonpartisan. We could also have a separate ballot to elect the Premier.

Kitcener Centre Collage