Well, a bit of a mini-flood, as on the heels of Eric Hoskins replies to me yesterday, Charles Sousa and his team have sent in their responses to my 5 questions for the Ontario Liberal leadership candidates (Again, here are Eric’s, Kathleen Wynne, and Sandra Pupatello’s answers/responses for comparison).
As usual, no commentary from me on the answers til I’ve given the other candidates every chance to reply. The Kennedy team had promised me something, no indication from Glen Murray, and I havent had the opportunity to try sending these to the late candidate into the race, Harinder Takhar, because I frankly don’t know who I should be sending the request to for his team
The answers are posted verbatim as I received them. I thank Mr. Sousa and his team for replying.
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?
I am seeking the Leadership because I believe that we need to be focused on creating jobs. We need to take decisive action to get that done. With 25 years in financial sector, I understand business. And with five years in public service, I understand government. I want to put that experience to work for all Ontarians and create conditions and incentives to foster more jobs.
2) What would be your first priority upon being elected Ontario Liberal leader and Premier?
My first priority in creating jobs would be to take decisive action, as follows:
- Continue to support and build the manufacturing sector, including the auto industry;
- Further support our secondary processing & new manufacturing including promoting our fresh water fisheries sector;
- Further develop the mining sector and speed up the Ring of Fire with improved transportation and energy transmission;
- Build, develop and sell the Ontario “Brand” in world markets; and
- Make immigration work better for Ontario.
To grow our economy, we must also move people safer and better. That’s why as Premier, I would improve transit in Ontario by:
- Supporting a sustainable, reliable ONTC that connects the North and supports jobs;
- Starting to build high speed rail from Windsor to Quebec City, with Oshawa to Hamilton as a first step; and
- Consolidating the surrounding GTA public transit into one regional transit system by making Metrolinx responsible for the TTC
3) What policy(s) or changes in style would you bring to the Ontario Liberal Party that differ from the current government (if any?)
People want to know that we’re listening. They want to know that we take their concerns seriously and that we are ready to act on them. I believe that the best solutions come from local input and local ideas. As Premier, I want to make sure that we’re not only listening to local voices but working together to grow our economy.
A big part of my approach is my plan to empower MPPs. We have an incredibly talented and engaged caucus and we can only
benefit from having them more involved. That’s why as Premier:
- I will work with the opposition to allow more time for Private Members Bills, so that MPP’s have more opportunities to bring their constituents priorities to the legislature;
- I will consult MPPs earlier in the policy development process, so that local priorities can be incorporated from day one; and
- I will allow more free votes on bills that are neither a platform plank nor a confidence motion.
The best governments are the ones that listen. My plan to empower MPPs will mean smarter, more responsive government for all Ontarians
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?
It’s no secret that we need to do better in Rural Ontario. People want to know that we’re listening. They want to know that we take their concerns seriously and we are ready to act on them. I believe that the best solutions come from local input and local ideas. As Premier, I want to make sure that we’re working together to grow our economy. On December 1st I released my platform for Rural and small town Ontario, which highlights our need to listen to local voices and focus on job creation by:
1. Acting upon local input into decision-making and building municipal partnerships;
2. Strongly supporting industries like auto, primary & secondary manufacturing and food processing;
3. Providing industry with the right tools to create jobs by promoting innovation and attracting investment; and
4. Supporting small businesses by making access to the Southwestern and Eastern Ontario Development Funds easier, simpler and permanent.
It’s crucial that our government be focused on job creation and growth for all Ontarians, including the Southwest and the East. My plan will ensure that we do.
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 another?
I would immediately convene meetings – one on one – with the Leader of the Official Opposition and the Leader of the Third Party. My expectation of these meetings would be to have frank discussions about tangible, immediate objectives that can be achieved for Ontarians as soon as the Legislature is recalled. I believe that we have an opportunity for a renewed approach and I can say right now that my government will be willing to work with them if they are willing to work with us.
A good idea is a good idea – and I am always open to good ideas. We shouldn’t allow political games to get in the way. In a minority Parliament, compromise and inclusion are of the utmost importance and I will reach out early and often to find areas that the majority of members can agree upon.