B

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

Sumira Malik - Liberal 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, how many units of public housing can you commit to building in your first term?

Sumira Malik: For your question on Housing our party has committed to building 1.5 million homes over a 10 year period which includes building 138,000 units of affordable housing which has been ignored by the current government. On top of that we want to introduce a speculation tax on empty homes that are not being used to help fund our affordable funding initiatives. We also want to introduce a use or lose it tax on developers who have land with approved building permits which is currently estimated at 250,000 homes.

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?

Sumira Malik: Out of all the gripes I have with the current sitting Ontario government, Bill 124 is the most infuriating one. I, like many of your readers, remember Doug Ford constantly calling our Healthcare workers our Heroes, and frankly it's a shame that they are not being treated as such, and as a consequence the amount of nurses leaving the profession has increased by 250% throughout the pandemic. Our government will negotiate fairly with our health care workers for the wages they deserve, while making sure that there are pay increases when they have to work short staffed.

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?

Sumira Malik: In an emergency or conflict, police are often the first call ‚Äď even though the situation doesn‚Äôt always call for police intervention. Our party will ensure more mental health workers are ready to respond to low-risk emergency calls to identify and divert people with addictions and disabilities from the justice system, directing them to more appropriate services. We‚Äôll do this by investing in mental health first responders ¬†and the OPP Crisis Call Diversion Program, as well as provide greater access to social workers for those leaving correctional facilities. While we have not indicated a dollar amount for the shifting of services we do believe that Police services should be changing with the needs and diversity of the communities they serve.

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?

Sumira Malik: This next question speaks to one of the biggest policy planks that the Ontario Liberals have for this election. Doug Ford and his conservatives want to spend 10 billion dollars on a highway to save a few commuters 30 seconds each way, while we would rather put that money into school repairs. One of the main things we are making sure is focused on in our school repairs are the ventilation systems as Public Health officials believe that this is key as we learn to live with Covid.

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?

Sumira Malik: As I'm sure many Ontarians remember, one of the first things Doug Ford did when he was elected was scrap the minimum wage increase from the last Liberal government. If elected on June 2 we will immediately increase the minimum wage to $16 per hour and then broadly consult to create a living wage through the province recognizing that some areas cost more to live in than others.

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Posted 
May 26, 2022
 in 
Local News
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