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Monday, September 19, 2011

Interviews with Ottawa South's Candidates

It is important that we hear not only from the provincial leaders, but from their local representatives as well.  Local candidates need to be proficient in applying their platform to their riding, and also in connecting how their party will do things differently than the others.

All candidates were asked to respond to the follow questions, designed to measure their effectiveness and likeliness to win the election, as well as their application of their party’s platforms to Ottawa South.  These responses have not been edited or cut in any way.

1.      How does your party’s platform specifically meet the needs of Ottawa South residents?
Jason MacDonald: When the MPP for Ottawa South first took office as the Premier, Ontario was the economic engine that had always driven the Canadian economy and way of life. We had good jobs and a high standard of living in Ontario. Now we've got more than 500,000 unemployed, an unemployment rate that has lagged the national average for more than 55 months and people working harder and harder and not getting any further ahead. A lot of people don’t have the same opportunities any more.  An Ontario PC Government would deliver change that leaves more money in peoples' pockets; that guarantees the services people need, especially healthcare and education; and change that would clean up government.

Dalton McGuinty: failed to respond

Wali Farah: failed to respond
James Mihaychuk: Ottawa South is, if anything, a diverse community of families. Our families have growing concerns over jobs, health care, and sustainability of our economic and ecological environment. Our Green Party of Ontario platform is the only party platform that offers a clear plan to set Ottawa South and Ontario moving forward into the new millennium, eliminating the provincial deficit in just three years, keeping the Ottawa River free of sewage, joining Japan and Germany on a path to eventually and responsibly move away from nuclear power, giving tax incentives to small farms and businesses, and helping citizens to fight epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

In the years to come the Ottawa region needs clear leadership to emerge as a smart city, a cultural hub, a hot bed for active living, and a major innovation engine in Canada and the world. The keys to this sustainable, knowledge-based progress include energy productivity and sustainable fiscal management. Recently, management consultants McKinsey and Company devoted an entire issue of their McKinsey Quarterly magazine and blog to the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Long before we exhaust our resources, they argue, stakeholders including customers, employees, and shareholders will lose faith in firms that do not show strong efforts to be good corporate citizens. Likewise, business leaders including the CEO of Toshiba seek to grow their firms to greater international stature by addressing world-wide energy challenges. How sad, then, that what seems obvious to the better corporate leaders and the general public appears not to have been appreciated by the political leaders of the traditional major parties.

Jean-Serge Brisson: failed to respond
2.      What motivated you to run in this election?
Jason MacDonald: I don’t think anything qualifies a person for politics more than being a parent. My wife Lara and I have twin seven-year old girls.  Like a lot of people in Ottawa, we’re at a stage in life where we think more about important government-delivered services like education and health care; not just for our kids but also for our parents. 

I saw too many examples of the McGuinty Government acting without accountability. I saw the eHealth $1billion scandal go unpunished. I saw Dalton McGuinty’s hydro prices put a burden on the family budget and drive jobs out of Ontario. This is wrong. We need change and that is why I chose to run in this election. Ontario can and will do better again.

Dalton McGuinty: failed to respond
Wali Farah: failed to respond
James Mihaychuk: My decision to run in this election is, to me, an extension of my role as a parent. I invest a lot of time in working with youth in soccer and hockey because I know that there are benefits in terms of the physical and mental health of families. However, as a scientist, I consider it my civic duty to apply my knowledge to address issues affect our health and our families over the long term: pollution, rising health care costs, our heavy reliance on nuclear power, human-caused climate change, and our legacy of debt and waste in government.
Jean-Serge Brisson: failed to respond
3.      What will you do differently than the current MPP, Dalton McGuinty (Mr. McGuinty was asked what he would do differently than the other candidates)
Jason MacDonald: I will not support measures that keep heaping new charges and more costs on to the back of Ontario families. Back in the Spring I heard from a widow who was nearing retirement and had cancelled her newspaper subscription, amongst other things, so she could keep paying her ever rising hydro bill. I spoke to a man who, after living in Ottawa for more than 30 years had decided that now that he was retired and on a fixed income he could no longer afford to live in Ottawa and was moving back to Cape Breton to live with his brother.  There are a lot of people in Ottawa South who can no longer afford Dalton McGuinty's Ontario. As the MPP for Ottawa South I would work to ensure that the hard working families across this province get the respect and relief they deserve from their government.

Dalton McGuinty: failed to respond

Wali Farah: failed to respond
James Mihaychuk: My experience in science and in high-technology business will bring a pragmatic and prioritized perspective to Ontario politics. Greens set aside wedge politics and attacks and offer solutions instead. We speak to our priorities: jobs in the new energy economy, managing our energy future through conservation and renewables, taking a proactive stand on health promotion rather than throwing money at a broken system, strong support for family farms and secure local food, and reforming our democracy. Only the Green Party of Ontario is challenging the three traditional parties to move to eliminate large corporate and union donations to political parties in Ontario, to bring regulations for election financing in line with the current rules for federal elections in Canada
Jean-Serge Brisson: failed to respond

4.      What experience in your background, outside of politics, would make you a good MPP?
Jason MacDonald: I’ve been blessed to hold positions of trust and responsibility in both the private and public sectors. So, I relate to the people of Ottawa South when I meet them on their doorsteps. They want government to provide the services it should and stop driving up unaffordable hydro costs and introducing all of the other taxes that make it tough to raise a family. I understand that public institutions, like government, are also public trusts and they need to be accountable, that they need to provide real value to the people paying the bills. I also understand just how hard people across this province work to make Ontario the best possible place to live, work and raise a family, and I want to make sure that they get the respect and relief they deserve.

Dalton McGuinty: failed to respond

Wali Farah: failed to respond
James Mihaychuk: As a scientist and product manager working in high tech industry, my role has been to bring clarity to complex issues, to manage change, and to understand the life cycle of technologies in a commercial context.  As Ontario moves forward into an era of accelerated technological change and a transition in the way society generates and consumes energy, we need more science and technology thought leaders in government.
Jean-Serge Brisson: failed to respond
5.      How many doors have you knocked on to date?
Jason MacDonald: We’ve knocked on about 30,000 doors. I’m fortunate. I’ve had a dedicated group of volunteers that have been knocking on Ottawa South doors with me since I became the nominated candidate last February. I’m out there several times a day, going door to door, meeting the people of Ottawa South. So far I’ve lost two pant sizes! We can always use more help so come out and join us as we work to bring change to Ottawa South.

Dalton McGuinty: failed to respond

Wali Farah: failed to respond
James Mihaychuk: Over 1,000 and growing, excluding literature drops by volunteers.
Jean-Serge Brisson: failed to respond