Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Candidates – By the Issues Part 4

This week we reach the fourth and final question from the Candidate Questionnaire.

Question #4, Candidates choice: What issue, aside from the three previous, do you consider a matter of importance for the city, the region and the country?

Tom King: I am extremely concerned about the growing number of people living in poverty. In a country such as ours, where there is an abundance of resources and riches, how can Canadians be poor? When the House of Commons voted to support Ed Broadbent’s motion calling for urgent action to end child poverty by 2000, many Canadians had a renewed sense of optimism. The Conservatives and Liberals made a commitment to the poor and vulnerable in our country but when it came time to take a principled stand, they chose Bay Street over Main Street.

Gloria Kovach: Building Canadian competitiveness and keeping the economy strong.
In just two and a half years our Conservative government has reduced the federal debt by $37 billion dollars, we have made many changes to personal taxes to aid in improving the fiscal health of Canadians including: Increasing the basic personal exemption, tax credits for public transit, sports, textbooks, tools and apprentices; income tax eliminated on student scholarships and bursaries; introduced the most important savings vehicle since the RRSP, a savings account for up to $5,000 per year with a tax free exemption on interest or capitol gains.

Mike Nagy: Poverty. Martin Luther King wrote that, “The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” We are such a rich country with a beautiful history of democracy, justice and social responsibility. The fact that 15 per cent of Canadians live in poverty, including children, is a national tragedy and utterly unacceptable. We have solutions to eradicate poverty, provide every Canadian with housing, introduce the guaranteed liveable income, ensure that education that isn't a debt sentence by forgiving 50 per cent of student loans upon graduation, and remove taxes from the people who earn the least.

Frank Valeriote: In my mind, the most important issue for Guelph and Canada as a whole is health care. The Liberal Party is committed that our health care system remains public and accessible to everyone, especially the least privileged. Our first priority in terms of health care is to reduce wait times. The Harper government has not moved forward on this issue, and the Canada Health Council and the Canadian Medical Association have both criticized this government for not meeting former Liberal targets on reducing wait times. This is unacceptable, and the Liberal Party will change this in government.

Debate On!

It was announced that the candidates’ debate, which was cancelled out of anticipation of the calling of General Election back on September 3rd, has been rescheduled for October 7th. The debate will still be hosted by the Guelph Place Banquet Hall on Michener Road, and will still be carried live on Rogers Cable. Two days later, on October 9th, another debate will be hosted at Guelph Place, but with a more unusual set-up.

It’s being organized by Cam Guthrie, who was a public Kovach supporter until recently. He says on his website that he “cannot stand typical debates.” On debate night, each candidate will get a half-hour on stage, alone, to answer questions while the others wait in a secluded room, where they’ll be unable to hear the questions, as they await there turn. The questions will be taken from those submitted to him online from the public. King, Kovach, Nagy and Valeriote have all been invited to participate, but it seems that Valeriote has already turned down the offer.

Anyone wanting to send Guthrie a question can e-mail him at, just make sure your questions are about vision, accountability and leadership. And for more information on the Guelph Election, visit my blog at

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