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Sandra Pupatello replies first to my set of questions

The first of the Ontario Liberal candidates to respond to the questions I sent off to them/their campaigns has responded; that honour goes to Sandra Pupatello. I was actually sent these answers to me on Saturday, but they sent it to an outdated Progressive Bloggers email account, else I’d have posted it last evening. I’ve learned however their campaign also does due diligence, as I was asked today (out of the blue) if I’d seen them yet, and when I explained I hadn’t, the campaign immediately forwarded the replies to my proper email address.. so bonus marks for that.

I submitted these questions to Ms. Pupatello in written format (as I did with the other campaigns, I feel writing questions and answers prevents any misunderstanding of a response); I have re-posted these answers verbatim as they were given to me. I’d like to thank her for responding so promptly.

1) There are many candidates running to be the Ontario Liberal Party leader. What do you feel makes you best qualified to be the leader/Premier?

All of the candidates are very impressive – I know all of them very well. I am honoured to be a candidate along side such an impressive group. As I’ve travelled the province, Ontarians have told me they want a Premier who’s focus is jobs. They want a Premier who is as frugal and as careful with their money as they are. They want a Premier who is open and transparent and who will be straight with them. Those are the qualities I believe I bring to this historic Ontario Liberal leadership contest.

2) What would be your first priority upon being elected Ontario Liberal leader and Premier?

Jobs. The great global recession of 2009 may be over, but its effects continue to be felt by Ontario’s working families. This recession had a tremendous impact on jobs, trade and our crucial manufacturing base. Its effects continue to be felt right across Ontario. As a former Minister of Economic Development and Trade, I firmly believe that the best economic policy is one whose central focus is job creation. With a foundation of stable, well-paying jobs, our myriad of economic challenges are addressed. If given the honour of leading this great political party, and the privilege of becoming Premier of Ontario, the core of our economic policy will be jobs, jobs, jobs.

3) What policy(s) or changes in style would you bring to the Ontario Liberal Party that differ from the current government (if any?)

I was honoured to serve in the Cabinet of Dalton McGuinty. I was equally honoured to call him my leader for so many years. However, we are very different people, with different priorities and approaches.

With me what you see is what you get. I call it as I see it and I’m not afraid to discuss the challenges facing our province. I believe in working together and being open. These times call for a leader who will work across party lines, someone who will reach out to Ontarians from all regions and all walks of life, someone who will take a prudent and responsible approach to managing the government. I’m that kind of person.

A strong economy and solid fiscal management are the underpinnings of everything else – health care, education, and infrastructure – and that’s my focus for Ontario’s future. When I say my focus is on jobs, I mean it. If we do our jobs, Ontarians won’t have to worry about theirs.

4) It is said that the Ontario Liberal Party has become increasingly an urban party. Is there anything you would or could do to make the party more attractive to rural Ontario?

In the past couple of weeks I’ve been speaking to people from all over the province and they’re excited. They believe that our party – the Ontario Liberal Party – has a significant role to play in bringing the province together and getting the economy back on track.

During the recession, as Minister for Economic Development and Trade, I spoke to members and constituents from all over Ontario from East to West and North to South regularly to make sure that my Ministry understood the economic challenges and opportunities facing those communities. I worked with local leadership, local companies and the surrounding communities to ensure that those regions got the attention and funding they needed. We worked hard to retain jobs during the toughest times and to attract new business and create new jobs for people throughout the province.

My vision for Ontario involves doing this on a much larger scale. My vision for Ontario involves engaging people and resources throughout the province, from every region, working towards the same goal – getting our province and economy back on track, making sure people have good jobs, and making sure our government is well-managed and accountable to the people.

My vision for the Ontario Liberal Party is inclusive and inspired. I hope we can engage our current membership like never before. I hope we can grow our membership to include people who have never been involved before but who are interested in our ideas and who share a common vision for our great province.

Unlike all of my friends who are running for Ontario Liberal leadership, I don’t come from Toronto. I am a proud daughter of the City of Windsor, and my perspective has always been that of an Ontarian who comes from outside Toronto. I’m not in this race to run the provincial government from Toronto; I’m running to make the provincial government in Toronto work for Ontario.

5) You face a minority legislature very hostile to your government right now. Is there anything specific you would do to try and work with one or both parties?

The very first thing I would do if elected leader is pick up the phone and have a conversation with both Tim and Andrea, seeking their ideas on how to make the Legislature work again for the people of Ontario. But I would also put them on notice that I expect ideas not antics, and so do Ontarians. I would welcome all good ideas regardless of party. Since the last election, the NDP and the Conservatives have avoided compromise and real discussions. If elected leader and Premier I will work hard to ensure those days are gone.

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