1. Why did you decide to run for provincial politics and what are your main goals for SDSG?
I’ve always been interested in politics. From when I was eight years old I have been aware of the affects of politics on people. I grew up in social housing and realized early on that change came by having a voice and getting involved. I believe that people can either get involved or be governed by those who do. I also love the community I live in and the people that call it home. As a former City Councillor, I understand the concerns and challenges for this community. I see the progress the McGuinty government has made in our community, and all over Ontario, and I want to keep it moving forward.
2. The McGuinty government introduced the HST. Do you believe it has benefitted the citizens of Ontario? If not, would you like to see any modifications to the HST or would you like to see it removed completely?
The Harmonized Sales Tax is an important part of the five-year Open Ontario plan, which supports job creation and enhances important programs and services, including skills training and health care. Ontario’s economy is turning the corner and we are back on track. Our clean energy industry is attracting new investments and creating thousands of good Ontario jobs. The McGuinty tax reform is making our businesses more competitive, creating jobs and increasing investments, allowing our economy to recover faster than ever predicted.
3. How will your experience in municipal politics help you to become an MPP the voters of SDSG can rely on and trust?
My experience on City Council has given me a deeper understanding for how the political system works. As a City Councilor in Cornwall, I was part of a team that worked hard to benefit this community. I have seen firsthand the services, programs, and developments the province of Ontario has brought to this community. The provincial government is an essential component to the continuation and success of many of the programs we have in our riding.
4. What traits and characteristics make you stand out above the other candidates?
I’ve spent most of my life serving the residents of my community. My experience with the Fire Department has prepared me to cope with demanding situations, but also allowed me to meet many people. It was an honour to be elected as a City Councillor in Cornwall and I am thankful for the opportunity. It was while I was serving my term on Council that I came to the decision to run for provincial politics. I am very passionate about this community and I am dedicated to bring continued success to it.
5. Because of the economic woes in the US, do you think another recession is looming in Canada?
It’s undeniable the hardships many countries in the world have faced in the past three years. As the U.S. and many other countries have discovered, it is becoming harder than ever for countries to compete on the global stage. Ontario on the other hand is seen globally as one of the rising stars. The Ontario Liberals are seizing opportunities and are keeping education, health care, and our economy on track. We have replaced the jobs lost during the global recession, and then some. So far, in 2011, Ontario's economy has created more full-time jobs than the rest of Canada combined.
6. Jim Brownell has been a respected and admired political figure in SDSG for several years. What have you learned from his tenure as MPP and what would you say were his biggest political and personal attributes?
Jim Brownell has done many amazing things for this community. His tireless efforts at Queen’s Park are visible all around SDSG. Hospitals, roads, businesses, and many other projects beam Brownell success. I admire Jim’s relationships with stakeholders in this community, and I plan to keep listening, advocating, and defending them. Jim is loved all around this community, from one side of the riding to the other, and although he will be missed as our MPP, I know we will continue to hear great things from him.
7. Although economic development in Cornwall is on the rise, the population is not, why?
The City of Cornwall is booming with activity. Just recently, Jim Brownell announced Ontario is helping Cornwall attract new businesses by extending a road and upgrading the water infrastructure in the Cornwall Business Park. Upon completion of these improvements, Boundary Properties and Target will establish distribution facilities. These projects will create over 1,000 jobs in addition to hundreds of construction jobs. There are new developments on Brookdale Ave., with the new Shoppers Plaza at Vincent Massey Dr., and the ongoing development of the Shopping Centre on Tollgate Rd. Cornwall is the perfect place for families and young professionals to reside. With more jobs, comes more people and I believe the increase in available jobs will attract people to Cornwall.
8. The McGuinty government’s Green Energy Act is helping the province to become a global leader in the clean energy business. Although it is a major area for debate between parties, the Act promises to create thousands of jobs, modernize the province’s energy infrastructure and most importantly, clean the air we breathe. What is your stance on the Green Energy Act?
I believe in the Green Energy Act and what it will bring to Ontario. The Green Energy Act will expedite the growth of clean, renewable sources of energy, like wind, solar, biomass, and biogas, helping Ontario become North America’s leader in renewable energy. At the centre of the act is the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program, which provides guaranteed rates for renewable energy. The FIT program gives investors what they are looking for, including stability, certainty and the commitment that we are in this for the long run. FIT is why companies are flocking to Ontario, creating thousands of jobs.
9. Healthcare is one of the hottest topics for the upcoming election. With wait times down, increased hospital funding and more doctors being trained and recruited in Ontario, the McGuinty government appears to be on the right track. What is your party’s commitment to healthcare and what do you hope to accomplish for SDSG?
As the question outlines, the McGuinty government has done an exceptional job in regards to healthcare in the province of Ontario. Here in SDSG we have seen the completion of Winchester District Memorial Hospital, the Glengarry Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, and the Cornwall Hospice. The Cornwall Community Hospital redevelopment project is well underway, which upon completion will expand ambulatory care, mental health, critical care, emergency department, and many more support services. There has been significant progress made in healthcare in Ontario under the McGuinty government, and it continues to be a top priority. We will continue to hire more nurses and health care professionals, implement a Seniors Healthy Home Tax Credit to help seniors make renovations needed to stay in their homes, provide more free immunizations for children, and continue to track and bring wait times down.
10. On October 6, what are the main reasons why the voters of SDSG should vote for you?
It’s simple, I believe in an Ontario that is worth fighting for and I believe that under the present leadership we are moving in the right direction. If you look around SDSG, you can see the work the McGuinty government has done. Hospitals have been built, businesses have grown, and our infrastructure has been improved. I want to fight to protect the gains we have made under the McGuinty government.
MacDonald's campaign office is located at 633 Pitt Street in Cornwall. You can reach him at 613-933-5144 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.