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Three provincial candidates speak at a forum event in Port Perry

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

SCUGOG: Durham riding residents heard from three provincial election candidates during a forum event, held at Canterbury Hall in Port Perry’s Canterbury Commons, on Monday, May 16th.

The event was put on by the Scugog Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Durham Region Association of Realtors and the Durham Region Home Builders Association. The participating candidates were Granville Anderson of the Liberal Party, Todd McCarthy of the Conservative Party and Chris Borgia of the NDP.

Each candidate was first given an opportunity to provide opening remarks.

Mr. Anderson targeted his remarks at small business owners, “I know the sacrifice you all make. I know the hardship the pandemic has caused for all of you. Our platform is going to try to make life a lot easier for you, and I’m going to work with you, hopefully, after June 2nd, to put programs in place to enhance businesses and enrich businesses. Because that is what this community needs to grow and succeed.”

Mr. Anderson also noted a number of local projects he wants to help, if elected, including the rehabilitation of Port Perry’s roads and the waterfront development project.

In his remarks, Mr. Borgia stated, affordability is one of the biggest concerns he has in Ontario, “I’ve watched, as the cost of living has skyrocketed and is out of reach to my generation and many generations to come. I feel like the country built by the greatest generation doesn’t exist anymore.”

Mr. McCarthy used his remarks to provide voters with some background on himself as a candidate, “I run as a citizen. I am a fellow citizen like you. I have held public office as a school trustee of the [Durham Catholic District School Board]. I’ve been a deputy judge at the Oshawa courthouse. I’ve been a trial lawyer, founding the firm of Flaherty McCarthy with the late honourable Jim Flaherty. And in that context, I’ve been an advocate for our fellow citizens in the community.”

One of the candidates’ questions was, what would they do to help provide affordable housing for young homebuyers.

“I know the stress and hardship, especially for young people, to find somewhere to live which is affordable. What we need is a diverse mix [of housing]. As chair of [the] planning and development committee in Clarington, it is my focus to ensure applications which come from developers are working to strike a balance. Make no mistake, there are a number of things that contribute to the problem, and we are prepared to deal with them as a government,” Mr. Anderson said.

Mr. Borgia stated, the NDP has the only “realistic plan to fix what is broken.”

“We know housing is a human right. We’ll help, by giving young people 10 percent of the purchase price for a down payment. We’ll increase the supply of housing options which are affordable. But this also includes aligning it with the growth of transit investments and updating zoning rules to enable the construction of more affordable housing,” he explained.

Mr. McCarthy felt there was one major root cause of this issue. “The big issue is supply. We just don’t have enough homes,” he said. “We’re not just talking about building new homes. In the past year alone, we had 100,000 new homes start construction in Ontario. That’s the highest figure for new home starts in 30 years.”

The candidates were also asked about lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our commitment to 30,000 new long-term care living spaces is exactly what we need: a dignified and supportive environment with one on one care going forward, and new positions for PSWs and nurses, well paid, to support our loving seniors,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Mr. Anderson said, the key to helping the province grow, following the pandemic, is “appropriate and targeted investments to areas that require it.” He also noted, the province has lost a lot of nurses, and a Liberal government would work to recruit new nurses.

Mr. Borgia discussed investing in the healthcare sector. “You can’t make cuts to public health and expect it to stand up to a crisis. We hope to reverse those cuts, hire more nurses and PSWs, and make our healthcare system more resilient to future emergencies,” he stated.

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