B

elow are the responses we have received from provincial election candidates from the four major parties at Queen's Park running in Brampton South. We will update this page as more answers come in.‚Äć

Andria Barrett - NDP Candidate

The Hoser: The federal government divested from a responsibility to build public housing in the early 1990s, downloading the responsibility to provinces and municipalities. If your party forms government, how many units of public housing can you commit to building in your first term?  

Andria Barrett: Housing is a human right - everyone deserves a good, stable place to call home. Unfortunately, young adults in Ontario are living with their parents longer and longer, because the cost of a decent place to live is out of reach. For decades Conservative & Liberal governments have only made the housing crisis worse. Doug Ford schemes to help big developers and billionaire investors get rich while it was the Liberals that opened huge loopholes to benefit foreign corporations & billionaires in the first place. We believe that young people should be able to get a safe, affordable place to call their own when they’re ready. No one, ever, should find themselves without shelter, and without housing options that fit their needs and abilities. That’s why through a new public agency, Housing Ontario, an NDP government will build 250,000 affordable and non-market homes over the next decade, to be operated by public, non-profit and co-op housing providers. This includes 100,000 affordable homes charging rents geared to income, as well as 150,000 non-market homes charging below-market rents. We have also committed to repairing 260,000 social housing units, providing income supports for 311,000 tenants’ households, and building 60,000 new supportive housing units. 

The Hoser: Bill 124 has frozen public sector wage increases at 1 percent since 2019. Inflation has climbed upwards of six percent in 2022. Will your government keep Bill 124 as provincial law? If not, will you legislate any limitations to public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights? 

Andria Barrett: For years, it has been getting harder and harder to afford the life we‚Äôre all working for. With record inflation, the price of everything is going up. During the pandemic, as healthcare, education and all public sector workers were on the frontlines Doug Ford still chose to impose a wage freeze. His low-wage policy forced the wages of folks like teachers and nurses to fall behind. An Ontario NDP government would immediately repeal Bill 124. We believe all public sector workers deserve to be treated with dignity and have their collective bargaining rights respected ‚Äď we would never legislate any limitations on those rights.¬†¬†

The Hoser: Communities and advocates concerned with police violence have for years been demanding a defunding of police services, rerouting that money to public social services. Is this a policy your government would pursue? If so, how much money would you reallocate from current provincial policing budgets? 

Andria Barrett: Every Ontarian deserves to live in a safe community, where help is available if they need it, and nobody is treated unfairly, with prejudice or violence, by those in authority. Many Black, Indigenous, and racialized people fear that an interaction with police can mean life-threatening violence. This must end. Governments have neglected to take action on systemic racism and discrimination in our justice system and allowed police oversight to weaken. Liberal and Conservative governments have cut community programs and supports, cut mental health and addictions services, and failed to address the homelessness crisis. The result of all of this has been especially devastating for Black, Indigenous and racialized people and their communities. The Ontario NDP has a plan to put mental health supports at the centre of community safety, end unlawful and unauthorized use of force by police and ensure police are accountable for their actions, and invest in strong community supports for Black, racialized, and Indigenous communities.  

We will restore community trust by ensuring that police oversight bodies are effective, responsive, and truly independent and transparent, including the SIU, so that the system is accountable to communities.  

We’ll invest in mental health response: We will fund and implement alternative first responders in cases of mental health and addictions crises, homelessness and school discipline calls. We will ensure alternative first responders are trained in antiracism, anti-oppression, de-escalation tactics, and culturally responsive care.  

We’ll end carding and destroy all data: We will truly end the racist, discriminatory practice of carding, and destroy the data that has been collected through carding.  

We’ll address gun violence: We will bring all levels of government together to create a provincial strategy to address gun violence and its impacts on communities. We’ll invest to address the root causes of gun violence, including better supports for communities, jobs and opportunities for youth, and affordable housing. 

The Hoser: Considering that COVID is airborne and cases are once again quite high, will your government make any investments in retrofits or building new hospitals, schools, public transit vehicles, or any other large-scale investments related to public health, indoor crowding and ventilation? 

Andria Barrett: The pandemic exposed just how badly broken things are in our hospital system, and how outdated and non-existent ventilation systems left our schools vulnerable to outbreaks. Doug Ford was making cuts to critical services before the pandemic, and he refused to spend the money to shore up hospitals and schools in the middle of a crisis. He continues to let schools fall apart by cutting the repairs budget. Ford is now ignoring more than $16.8-billion in necessary repairs. Before Ford, Liberals drove the school repair backlog up to a whopping $15.8 billion; they can’t be trusted to fix what they broke. An Ontario NDP government will clear the school repair backlog, including ensuring that all schools have up-to-date ventilation systems to prevent the spread of infection during potential future waves of COVID-19.  

‚ÄćThe Hoser: As of 2021, the living wage in Toronto was over $22 an hour. In all major cities and towns in the province, the $15/hr minimum wage is below a living wage. Inflation is now upwards of six percent, and scheduled wage increases and cost of living adjustments are not keeping up. Is your government committed to getting minimum wage levels to a living wage? If not, why?¬†

Andria Barrett: All workers deserve respect, dignity and a good living wage. Unfortunately, the price of everything is going up, from gas to housing to hydro bills, and with Doug Ford’ cancelled a minimum wage increase. The previous Liberal government had 15 years to make sure wages kept up with inflation and growing costs, but chose not to. An NDP government will raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2026 for all workers regardless of their age or occupation. We will also work with stakeholders to determine how best to index the minimum wage after $20, such as using the Consumer Price Index, or a percentage of the average industrial wage.

Ines Espinoza - Green Party Candidate

The Hoser: The federal government divested from a responsibility to build public housing in the early 1990s, downloading the responsibility to provinces and municipalities. If your party forms government, -The federal government divested from a responsibility to build public housing in the early 1990s, downloading the responsibility to provinces and municipalities. If your party forms government, how many units of public housing can you commit to building in your first term? 

Ines Espinoza: The party had committed to building 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next decade, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes.  Renew 260,000 community housing rental homes over the next decade, in partnership with the federal government, under the National Housing Strategy.

The Hoser: Bill 124 has frozen public sector wage increases at 1 percent since 2019. Inflation has climbed upwards of six percent in 2022. Will your government keep Bill 124 as provincial law? If not, will you legislate any limitations to public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights?

Ines Espinoza: We will repeal Bill 124, pay PSWs, nurses, and ECEs a fair wage, and hire 33,000 nurses. We will also restore and improve workers' right to collective bargaining.

The Hoser: Communities and advocates concerned with police violence have for years been demanding a defunding of police services, rerouting that money to public social services. Is this a policy your government would pursue? If so, how much money would you reallocate from current provincial policing budgets?

Ines Espinoza: We will reform the Special Investigation Unit to ensure transparency and justice for racialized individuals who are victims of violence and discrimination at the hands of law enforcement. 

The Hoser: Considering that COVID is airborne and cases are once again quite high, will your government make any investments in retrofits or building new hospitals, schools, public transit vehicles, or any other large-scale investments related to public health, indoor crowding and ventilation?

Ines Espinoza: Yes, that is the plan. We are preparing for future infectious disease outbreaks. Address the repair backlog for Ontario public schools.  Provide funding for schools to make energy efficiency and ventilation improvements. Increase year over year hospital base operating funding to a minimum of 5%.  Invest in a new and expanded hospital as needed to meet demand in high. Work with the federal government to provide surge funding to reduce the backlog in surgeries, imaging and other services.

The Hoser: As of 2021, the living wage in Toronto was over $22 an hour. In all major cities and towns in the province, the $15/hr minimum wage is below a living wage. Inflation is now upwards of six percent, and scheduled wage increases and cost of living adjustments are not keeping up. Is your government committed to getting minimum wage levels to a living wage? If not, why?

Ines Espinoza: Increase the minimum wage each year by $1, starting at $16 in 2022 with a top-up in cities where the cost of living is higher.

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Posted 
May 26, 2022
 in 
Local News
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