The Carleton provincial candidates respond to our Stittsville relevant questions

With the Stittsville debate behind us, Stittsville Central reached out last week to the provincial candidates in Carleton Riding asking each for their responses to the same six questions. Each candidate and party has different ideas about what is important, how to spend our tax money, and how to solve problems. You need to decide what is important to you, what you think is best for our riding, and which candidate and political party you align with most. The responses below may help you to make your decision when voting in the Ontario Election on June 2, 2022.

It must be noted that Goldie Ghamari of the P.C. Party of Ontario (and the incumbent for Carleton Riding) did not respond to our questions.

The responses are provided in alphabetical order by Party affiliation.

Green Party of Ontario – Carleton Candidate Cody Zulinski

1. As you’ve been meeting people in our community and knocking on doors – what would you consider as the top three issues with Stittsville voters?
Every single healthcare and education worker I’ve met with has had a lot to say about the inadequacies of the current government – between the stressful working conditions during this pandemic and the lack of support, whether it be Bill 124, freezing nurses’ wage increases, or the war started by our Minister of Education against educators to increase class sizes and force mandatory e-learning, things are not good in two of the most important fields of our provincial government.

And on top of everyone’s mind is affordability. Doug Ford kept none of his promises to lower electricity bills or gas prices, because they were all just rooted in empty rhetoric with no plan. Meanwhile, Greens have an actual strategy to lower electricity prices by lowering consumption through housing retrofits, and we have an actual strategy to lower fuel costs by making electric vehicles and e-bikes more affordable and accessible.

2. Housing affordability and attainability is lacking in Stittsville. Would you collaborate with the Ottawa municipal council to ensure that there is an increase in affordable supply while respecting local decision-making?
Housing affordability is in crisis right now, and it would be foolhardy not to acknowledge the systemic challenges with that. Whether it be municipal or provincial, oftentimes developers are the ones funding re-election campaigns. We’ve seen that here in Stittsville recently with the 18-story apartment complex on Robert Grant getting the go-ahead despite heavy public opposition.

Greens want to ensure that public consultation is respected once again and that long-term solutions are put in place for building smarter housing that stays affordable, like triplexes or walk-up apartments.

We propose building 1.5 million homes in the next 10 years, including 182,000 affordable community rental homes. We’ll also require that 20% of new developments over a certain size are affordable and apply a 20% speculation tax on those buying their third or more property to ensure homes are prioritized for those who need them most.

3. Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit $2.1 billion Stage 1 is currently under the scrutiny of a provincial public inquiry into its breakdowns, derailments and safety concerns. If elected, would you recommend that further provincial funding of $4.6 billion for Stage 2 and future funding for Stage 3 expansions be put on-hold until the public inquiry establishes requirements to ensure the O-Train operates efficiently and safely?
Challenging question. We no doubt are in need of a reliable transit service to make its way to Stittsville as urgently as possible, however, the challenges with the LRT’s progress thus far are undeniable. There is little doubt in my mind that many of those issues came from the pressure to rush things and meet deadlines so that the “on track for 2018” campaign wouldn’t reflect so poorly upon city officials prior to the 2018 fall election (and it still fell a year behind schedule).

I would propose treating the public inquiry as a priority that must be dealt with, but continuing the project with third-party oversight to ensure that no corners are cut this time around. It needs to be built, but let’s do it right the first time.

4. What do you hope to accomplish or the single greatest change do you hope to have made during your term as MPP for Carleton if elected?
I want us to have sustainability in all aspects of our lives. We are a riding rich in greenspace and farmland and right now, we are losing 175 acres a day of prime farmland to developments like Highway 413 which is costing us billions and will produce as many greenhouse gas emissions as Toronto in a year. 

Once it’s built, we will never get it back; Stittsville understands this well. We almost lost the entirety of the Shea Woods and our heritage sites like the Bradley-Craig barn are usually easy targets.

But I want sustainability for people too. We have an economic model that is currently bleeding us dry for record high corporate profits that individuals will never see. We can’t keep going on this way and the status quo parties simply don’t understand what life is like for those of us not making 6 figure paycheques every year.

5. Is there anything additional you would like to share with Stittsville voters?
Stittsville is the place I call home. Spending 3 years working with Councillor Shad Qadri allowed me the great privilege of getting to know the community and the community builders that make it what it is.

I am a teacher for many of Stittsville’s youth and regardless of what happens this election, I will continue to be a part of helping our families grow in whatever ways I can.

Encourage your children to get involved in civic action early. The world they are inheriting is going to have a lot of issues in need of solving because some of our leaders refuse to act on them. However, I’ve seen what some of our kids are capable of and they are truly amazing. They have the power for change, even if they don’t see it yet.

6. To lighten things up – Who is your political hero (alive or dead) and why?
Alive – Bernie Sanders. He is the progressive voice that the USA was deeply in need of, and he has a track record of always being on the right side of history all the way back to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He is evidence that integrity means doing what is right, even when that isn’t necessarily what is popular at the time.

Dead – Martin Luther King Jr. His fearlessness to change the world has left an impact that will be felt for generations. He knew that many of society’s issues had deeper root causes than what most people acknowledged. He also recognized the power of using your voice for change and how collectively, we are stronger than when we are alone. That’s what we need right now – to come together.

New Blue of Ontario Party – Carleton Candidate Rob Stocki

1. As you’ve been meeting people in our community and knocking on doors – what would you consider as the top three issues with Stittsville voters?
People are concerned about many things. Seniors are concerned about life in retirement. Business owners are concerned with future lockdowns and the destruction of their investments. Loving parents are concerned with the future of their children. When speaking with most at the doors who have learned about the New Blue Party – they feel a sense of relief and ability to talk freely. These are the recurring themes I hear:

  1. Distrust/Dissatisfaction with government (of all political stripes). 
  2. Inflation and the rising cost of living / cost of housing
  3. Woke movement in schools

Most vote out of a sense of choosing “the lesser evil” as opposed to voting for someone to be confident in. I want to change that and provide someone you can be confident with when voting.

2. Housing affordability and attainability is lacking in Stittsville. Would you collaborate with the Ottawa municipal council to ensure that there is an increase in affordable supply while respecting local decision-making?
My father is a real-estate agent. The housing problem is caused by foreign money coming in and buying houses while not living in them, causing lower supply and higher demand, thus high increases in housing prices. My solution is simple. Heavily tax absentee owners and make housing speculators realize that tying up the market is not a profit-making venture. This will dramatically increase housing supply and make housing more affordable – especially to first-time home buyers.

So if Ottawa City Council was on board with this plan, the answer is YES!

3. Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit $2.1 billion Stage 1 is currently under the scrutiny of a provincial public inquiry into its breakdowns, derailments and safety concerns. If elected, would you recommend that further provincial funding of $4.6 billion for Stage 2 and future funding for Stage 3 expansions be put on-hold until the public inquiry establishes requirements to ensure the O-Train operates efficiently and safely?
Public transit, when useful, reliable, and safe, provides confidence to residents and an increase in usership. Having looked at transit systems in the colder Scandinavian countries, I wonder why our light rail is so unreliable by comparison, especially since Scandinavian countries share our weather and have already perfected it. We could have used them as a model. I wonder, is our situation in Ottawa similar to the legendary corruption the City of Montreal faced with organized crime being involved in constructions projects, where the work was substandard to line the pockets of politicians and criminals? Where bridges failed due to a lack of decent concrete mixture? I think an investigation is needed, as well as solutions. I am a supporter of public transit. I think it’s the duty of government to make sure it’s safe, reliable, and free from corruption/incompetence.

4. What do you hope to accomplish or the single greatest change do you hope to have made during your term as MPP for Carleton if elected?
I wish to restore confidence in government by changing the paradigm. Government in a democracy exists to serve its people, not dominate them with the policies of foreign interests. We have become a province of stagnation, stagflation and incompetence. It’s time government enabled its citizens to flourish as opposed to constantly slowing them with intrusive regulations and unwanted policies, such as “wokeism” in schools, which ALL the legacy parties supported. I want to introduce recall legislation as well as ineligibility to run for a subsequent term under the conditions of broken promises. For example, I used to be a PC and helped Doug Ford get elected. But I joined the New Blue Party of Ontario because the Ford government has not kept a single campaign promise. Yes, not even one. As far as I’m concerned, all current members of a government that fails to keep its promises should be barred from being able to run again. The first step in restoring confidence in government is holding them accountable.

5. Is there anything additional you would like to share with Stittsville voters?
I want to demonstrate that government can once again be an institution for good, in the service of people as opposed to an entrepreneurial pursuit by politicians. Case in point – there is no good reason for useless expensive windmills if “clean energy” is the goal. The world’s 3rd largest producer of hydro-electric power is right next door to Ontario – Quebec. They have a massive potential surplus of energy that’s clean, reliable and safe. To purchase power from Quebec would cut our costs in more than half, while not destroying our beautiful province with useless, ugly and expensive windmills. The New Blue Party of Ontario will lower your electricity rates and get rid of useless windmills.

6. To lighten things up – Who is your political hero (alive or dead) and why?
My favorite politician is Ghandi. He was selfless, dedicated and unshakably strong. He challenged the extractive policies of the British government and stood for his people. He was a man of peace and through peaceful policies and measures, managed to secure sovereignty for the people of India, giving them the power of self-determination as opposed to perpetual servitude. Ghandi was a man of principal and strict moral code. He served the people powerfully, yet modestly as “an equal”, not a tyrant. He was a leader, not a dictator. He brought his people together, instead of dividing them and placing them into “tribes” as I see our politicians doing today.

Ontario Liberal Party – Carleton Candidate Tom Dawson

1. As you’ve been meeting people in our community and knocking on doors – what would you consider as the top three issues with Stittsville voters?
Schools, transit and affordability come up at the doors all the time in Stittsville, but the first two are tied together.  Many parents have commented that there are serious challenges with last minute bus cancellations, either school buses or OC Transpo, and this has a severe impact on parents’ work lives and is quite disruptive for their kids.  Leadership is needed to ensure stability.  

With respect to affordability, many in Stittsville are quite interested in the Buck a Ride initiative with the addition of extra routes as it would greatly benefit their commuting and save a lot of money.

Families are excited about the $2750 daycare rebate as well as the 18 month parental leave top up which means they will have financial stability as their families grow.

2. Housing affordability and attainability is lacking in Stittsville. Would you collaborate with the Ottawa municipal council to ensure that there is an increase in affordable supply while respecting local decision-making?
The Ontario Liberals will build 10,000 new affordable homes in Ottawa over the next ten years and prioritize first time home buyers.  We will empower municipalities to accelerate housing projects.  

We’ll make sure that local communities have the resources they need to approve housing quickly and responsibly.

We’ll update Ontario’s growth planning framework to recognize that building homes for all current and future Ontarians is a fundamental obligation of local governments. We’ll also increase housing targets in highly unaffordable communities and more accurately estimate housing demand. 

We’ll work quickly in close collaboration with municipal partners to allow homes with up to three units and two storeys to be built as-of-right across the province – with this permission also extending to secondary and laneway suites. 

We’ll also allow interested municipalities to permit Street Voting – which lets single streets of residents, both renters and owners, vote to increase minimum housing allowances.

3. Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit $2.1 billion Stage 1 is currently under the scrutiny of a provincial public inquiry into its breakdowns, derailments and safety concerns. If elected, would you recommend that further provincial funding of $4.6 billion for Stage 2 and future funding for Stage 3 expansions be put on-hold until the public inquiry establishes requirements to ensure the O-Train operates efficiently and safely?
The Ontario Liberals will commit 50% provincial funding for Stage 3 of Ottawa’s regional transit plan and will apply the lessons learned from the first two stages.

For too long changing governments in Ontario have ripped up or ignored existing transit plans, delaying progress and contributing to more gridlock and pollution and higher costs. We’ll put an end to political games by maintaining all existing funded transit plans.

We’re going to cut public transit fares to $1.00 per ride and $40 for monthly passes until January 2024. 

Transit is the best tool we have to add more homes to a community without adding more cars, driveways, roads and parking lots. It can be a more affordable alternative to driving. We want to save people money and move more people on transit.

4. What do you hope to accomplish or the single greatest change do you hope to have made during your term as MPP for Carleton if elected?
My hope is that the many communities of Carleton feel engaged, empowered and enthusiastic about the politics of unity.  There has been too much divisiveness coming into politics of recent, too much isolation as a result of the pandemic and it’s important that we remember that we have more in common than we have that separates us.

We all care about our families, friends, neighbours and the environment, so let’s get back to building those relationships as we rebuild our communities and the economy.  Government shouldn’t be about politics, it should be about serving everyone in the best manner possible, regardless of political stripes.

We’re all trying to do the best we can for our families and we can accomplish much more by working together and remembering that we’re all in this together.

5. Is there anything additional you would like to share with Stittsville voters?
I want Stittsville voters to feel connected to their chosen government and to their elected representative.  I want them to have confidence that their issues, concerns and voices will be heard and taken seriously.  I want all voters to feel respected by their officials. I want everyone to know that their government is there to work for them.

6. To lighten things up – Who is your political hero (alive or dead) and why?
I will be liberal with my response and provide 3 answers. Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama all accomplished great things. They left legacies of hope, they left examples of dignity and they showed us that the future could be better if we worked for it. Churchill overcame incredible adversity during World War 2 and rallied several nations to the cause of fighting for freedom. Mandela demonstrated unbelievable resilience, courage and forgiveness as he worked across party lines to heal his country in the post-apartheid world. Obama was elected against all odds on a message of hope and a more inclusive America.

Ontario New Democratic Party – Carleton Candidate Kevin St. Denis

1. As you’ve been meeting people in our community and knocking on doors – what would you consider as the top three issues with Stittsville voters?
The top three issues I heard from Stittsville voters are likely: Long-term Care, Education, and the Climate Crisis.

2. Housing affordability and attainability is lacking in Stittsville. Would you collaborate with the Ottawa municipal council to ensure that there is an increase in affordable supply while respecting local decision-making?
Yes. Housing affordability is a major issue across the Ontario and this local/municipal leaders should be involved in the efforts to find solutions to this problem.

3. Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit $2.1 billion Stage 1 is currently under the scrutiny of a provincial public inquiry into its breakdowns, derailments and safety concerns. If elected, would you recommend that further provincial funding of $4.6 billion for Stage 2 and future funding for Stage 3 expansions be put on-hold until the public inquiry establishes requirements to ensure the O-Train operates efficiently and safely?
A proper inquiry to ensure efficiency and safety should be employed for all public transit projects.

4. What do you hope to accomplish or the single greatest change do you hope to have made during your term as MPP for Carleton if elected?
As a teacher I entered into this race with a focus on education and increasing access to support for students to ensure that they not only succeed but excel.

5. Is there anything additional you would like to share with Stittsville voters?
Beyond the importance of properly funding and improving our public education system, it is important that we preserve and restore our publicly funded healthcare, long-term care and home care systems.

6. To lighten things up – Who is your political hero (alive or dead) and why?
Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders. I believe he embodies the principles of honesty, integrity, and courage that should be the ambition of all public officials.


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