Jeff Green | Oct 04, 2007
Feature Article - October 4, 2007 Feature Article - October 4, 2007
Provincial Election 2007: A Voter's Guide to LFL&A.
This is the final issue of the Frontenac News before the provincial election on October 10. In order to help voters as they consider whom to vote for, we have included articles that provide a bit of background and some of the policy positions taken by Rolly Montpellier (Green), Randy Hillier (PC), Ross Sutherland (NDP), and Ian Wilson (Liberal). We could not reach Stella Postma (Family Coalition Party) early this week, but we did receive a letter from her, which is reprinted below.This will be the first provincial election in the new riding Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington and after it is over we will be represented by a first time MPP. The riding is listed as one of 14 “ridings to watch” by the National Post, and is either listed as too close to call, or as a riding which is expected to go PC in a close vote by various election prediction organizations. The local election results will not be printed in next week’s paper, which will be at the printer’s on Election Day, but we will post the local results at Frontenacnews.ca as soon as they come in.
Family Coalition Party: Stella Postma
Thank you for taking the time to read this introduction of myself as a candidate for the Family Coalition Party (FCP) in the electoral district of Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. I have resided in the Addington County for 20 years and the first 17 years as an entrepreneur in the tourist sector of the Land o’ Lakes region. I have decided to run for the FCP mainly because of the referendum, which represents the real chance for the FCP to have a level playing field and fully participate in the political discussion in Ontario. A Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) has been successful in many countries. The FCP has existed for 20 years and have strived to alert the faith-based citizens of the declining morals and culture.
The FCP stands for 1. Upholding the Traditional family as a natural institution based on marriage. 2. Marriage as the union between a man and a woman. 3. Protection of life from conception to natural death. 3. Parental rights in the education and upbringing of their children. 4. The right to public Practice of personal freedoms of: conscience, speech, association, and faith. 5. The right to own property. For more detailed platform principals go to the website www.FamilyCoalitionParty.com.
Speaking for myself concerning Family and coming from a large family situation, I know how important principles are in sustaining a strong family unit. The family has been under considerable changes in many ways in the last decade. There .are many issues in this election campaign but the word "family" seems to be purged from it; it’s not politically correct and in Ontario Law every reference to real marriage and family terminology has been erased. Personally I feel that without the basic structure of family life for the present and future generation, there will be no hope for successful government.
May I urge all family conscious voters to consider exercising their rights on October 10 towards a turnaround for a stronger and healthier Ontario and a future for our children.
Green Party: Rolly Montpellier
Green Party candidate Rolly Montpellier is a relative newcomer to the region, having lived most of his life in the Sudbury area until moving to Buckshot Lake in North Frontenac with his wife Karen two years ago. He says, “The warm, open-hearted and neighbourly people we have met since our arrival have been the best part of our experience of moving to North Frontenac".
Shortly after moving to the area, Rolly joined the local Green Party and when he was approached to seek the nomination for this election, he says he "felt that the problems that we are facing as a society are serious and I had a moral obligation to run in this election". The highlight of the campaign so far for Rolly has been the opportunity to meet people throughout the riding, and he feels he has been able to give the Green Party a larger profile in Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington.
He brings an intense commitment to environmental issues to the election, hence the connection to the Green Party. "The Green Party is the only one that looks at the energy debate in terms of the limits on the amount of energy we can use in our daily lives, and as a society. There are real limits; that will have an economic impact. We can't change that simply by tinkering, by putting scrubbers on coal-fired plants, and things like that."
He has been disappointed, however, by the amount of time that has been devoted to the faith-based school debate in this election. “It has distracted from the real issues, such as the rural economy, the environment, health care and others. The faith-based schools discussion, which is not central to people’s daily lives, has derailed the whole agenda," he said.
Rolly Montpellier worked for many years in the education system in the Sudbury region, spending 20 years as a school board superintendent of business. He has long been active in his community, as a school board trustee, and a member of two different hospital boards, and the board of a credit union. He has also participated in government study groups, and served as CFO of several provincial and federal election campaigns in the Nickel Belt riding.
Rolly, the local Green Party Association, and the provincial party as a whole, have actively supported the anti-uranium exploration protests in North Frontenac. Party leader Frank De Jong visited the protest site with Rolly in July, and the two men supported the protesters at Parliament Hill last Friday.
The party is opposed to nuclear power and supports a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining throughout the province. In that sense they are similar to the NDP.
But as Rolly explained at an all-candidates meeting in Kaladar, the Green Party energy policy extends into their tax policy. They intend to introduce a 2-per-cent carbon tax on oil, natural gas and coal imported or extracted for use in the province, and a corresponding decrease in personal and corporate income taxes. The proposal goes under the slogan, “Tax what you burn, not what you earn.”
Liberal Party: Ian Wilson
"Unfortunately, I have a lot of time to devote to covering this large and diverse riding as MPP," Ian Wilson said at an all-candidates meeting in Verona when asked how he would try to be responsive to constituents’ concerns if he is elected next week.
This might seem like an odd response, but Wilson was referring to the fact that he is a widower, and he has had time to pour himself fully into the current campaign, which he has been waging since he won the Liberal nomination after a hard-fought selection process in early June.At church suppers, pancake breakfasts, summer fairs, and every other manner of summer event, Ian Wilson has been visiting and talking provincial politics for the past three months, and he seems to be enjoying himself.“It’s stimulating, it’s great,” he says, “you get up in the morning and that is what you are doing. By meeting a lot of people I’ve become better informed on a wide range of issues, and for someone who is a bit of sponge as far as learning is concerned, that makes for a good day.”
It has surprised Ian Wilson that during the writ period the issue of faith-based schools has come up repeatedly as he travels the riding.“It’s not an issue that you would think people would concern themselves with in a riding like ours, but you’ve got to find the money to do it somewhere, and if it goes ahead the impact will be felt across the province. The Liberals have invested in rural schools, and part of what makes a community is its schools,” he said.
He has also found that the issues that concern people “are very personal, and vary across the riding. The uranium exploration is important in North Frontenac and Lanark, and health care continues to be an issue throughout the riding.”
Ian Wilson came into the campaign with an extensive background in public service. He worked at St. Lawrence College for 36 years, as a professor and dean of the school of business: served as a councilor, deputy reeve and reeve of Ernestown Township and county councilor and warden in Lennox and Addington; served as board member and chair of the Kingston Area Economic Development Commission (KEDCO), and as founding president and chair of the Kingston Area Recycling Corporation; served on the board at Kingston General Hospital and chaired the board from 2001- 2003, and on the board of the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority.
He describes himself as someone who is adept at working with government. “We are going to get a lot further in this riding by working with the government to make improvements,” he said.
In terms of health care and hospital funding, issues that are close Ian Wilson’s heart, he says the Liberal government is on the right track.“The Liberals have moved a long way in terms of improving the hospital situation, including a $21.5 million addition to the Lennox and Addington Hospital in Napanee and the redevelopment at Kingston General Hospital … this is a government that is investing in health.”
Ian Wilson has also taken a stand on the issue of mining rights and uranium exploration in the riding. He supports a moratorium on uranium exploration and has made the proposal, which he acknowledges is a position “that goes much further than the party,” that in certain parts of the province such as LFL&A, which is a tourist-based economy, “mining rights should be extinguished altogether.”
New Democratic Party: Ross Sutherland
This is the third time Ross Sutherland has contested an election for the NDP. He ran federally in LFL&A and provincially in Hastings Frontenac Lennox and Addington during the last provincial election.
"I'm enjoying it more this time around," he said earlier this week, "I'm getting a much more positive response than in previous elections, more sign requests, more literature requests. A lot of the traditional NDP vote seems to have come back, partly because people are unhappy with John Tory's ideas, and there is a general dissatisfaction with McGuinty. There's a lot of movement out there, people are going in different places, and I feel great about it.”
Another difference for Ross in this campaign is that he is a full time campaigner. A career registered nurse who worked in the emergency department at Hotel Dieu hospital for years, Ross stopped working last year to complete his Master's degree, and after receiving the NDP nomination he redoubled his efforts and completed his thesis in August to free up the entire election period for the campaign. This is one of the advantages that have come from the scheduled elections that Ontario has adopted; candidates are able to plan their time to take on the commitment to run.
As always, health care is an important policy issue for Sutherland, who in his role as a co-chair of the Kingston and Area Health Coalition has been an outspoken critic of privatization of health care delivery in Ontario, which he says is costly and inefficient. In his view, this has hit rural Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington in terms of the delivery of home care services.
"The province is spending more and more money on rural home care, and delivering less and less service, because of the competitive bidding system that was introduced several years ago."
He has noticed during this current campaign that people in the riding are concerned about the issue of downloading of services from the province to the municipalities and its impact on property taxes.
"People understand the downloading issue; they link it right back to Mike Harris, which is a problem for the Conservatives” he said. “The NDP have a plan to upload $1.4 billion in municipal services over 4 years.”
Sutherland has also taken an active role in supporting the anti-uranium exploration protests in North Frontenac, visiting the site on the first day of the occupation and several times since, and participating in rallies. He was in Ardoch when the canoes left for Parliament Hill in September 22, and was at Parliament Hill last Friday when the canoes arrived.
"The NDP is opposed to nuclear power, and to uranium mining as well. We support the moratorium on uranium mining that the Algonquins are calling for. Energy policy is something people want to talk about in this election," he said. “The McGuinty proposal to build two nuclear power plants at a cost of $40 billion is an expensive mistake.” To illustrate the financial costs of nuclear power, Sutherland has been bringing blow ups of his own hydro bill to all-candidates meetings, with the item “debt retirement charge” circled on the bill.
“That is the charge we are still paying on our hydro bills for the 30-year-old nuclear power plants we already have. The Liberals, and the Conservatives, would have us repeat an expensive mistake on a technology that will be devastating to the environment,” he said at an all-candidates meeting in Kaladar.
PC Party: Randy Hillier
Randy Hillier has already had a political career, of sorts.
As the former President of the Lanark Landowners’ Association and the Ontario Landowners’ Association, he has been at the forefront of what he calls “a rural revolution.” For several years, rural landowners, farmers and small business people who have run up against government regulations, ranging from the size of eggs for sale at farmers’ markets, to rules under the Nutrient Management Act, to regulations about sawdust piles, Randy Hillier and the Landowners’ Association have come forward to confront the situation on their behalf.
On a macro-political level, the Landowners organized tractor convoys to Parliament Hill in Ottawa and Queen’s Park in Toronto to protest against government policies and assert the rights of the farm community and rural landowners in general.
Randy Hillier’s flair for the media, and his steadfast commitment to a landowner’s right to the “enjoyment of his land”, have been the basis of the work he has done as a political activist.
Many of the issues he has taken on have to do with the relationship between rural landowners and government officials.
In a radio interview that is posted in his election website, he described the source of this conflict.
“Government does not respect or trust landowners and this is evident from the host of regulations. Trust and respect are traits that are earned and never is achieved through coercion, intimidation or legislation.”
Randy Hillier described his decision to run for office in an interview with the News by saying “I found that I’d gone as far as I could working from the outside, and decided to make changes to the system from the inside.”
Even though he is committed to working within a party structure, Hillier says he will not shy away from his political beliefs and the wishes of his constituents.
“There is nothing more powerful than a sensible, reasonable argument, delivered with conviction. That’s what I do now, and that’s what I’ll do in government as well.”
Randy Hillier made reference to two very recent developments to illustrate this point in an interview with the News on Monday.
He talked about the decision by Conservative party leader John Tory, announced earlier that day, to allow a free vote on extending provincial funding to faith-based schools, which he said came about because candidates from across the province convinced John Tory that they did not support faith-based schools.
Hillier had expressed support for the faith-based school funding proposal at all-candidates meetings, with the proviso that it would only be done after a process of public consultation.
“I still support the process that John Tory has outlined, which will allow everyone to look at this situation,” Hillier said in Verona on September 24th.
However, he said this week that he does not support funding faith-based schools, although he thinks looking at the idea in more detail is reasonable.
Randy Hillier has been an advocate for changes to the Ontario Mining Act, partly as a response to the ongoing protest in North Frontenac, and because of his commitment to landowners’ rights. This week, he announced that at his request, the party “has committed to addressing the conflict associated with the exploration of uranium in our riding.”
The release quotes John Tory, who said in a speech in Thunder Bay, “The PC Party will undertake a complete review of the mining Act.”