On June 2, Ontario voters will elect the Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) who will form the province’s 43rd government. In a democracy, it can be easy to be drawn into the words and promises of party leaders, who will hold the title of Premier of Ontario if their party wins more seats than the other parties. It is therefore important to remember how a democracy actually works. Issues in North Dundas – and the rest of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry – are very different than issues in Etobicoke, or Kingston, or Thunder Bay, for example. MPPs are meant to act as elected representatives who bring local perspectives back to Queen’s Park in Toronto, where legislative decisions are made.
The riding of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry has six candidates fighting for the local MPP job and a seat in Ontario’s legislature. The Times extended interview invitations to all, with five candidates accepting interview requests as of the time of writing. Seven questions will be asked of each candidate, with all questions aimed at learning how the candidates view common provincial election issues from a local perspective.
On the subject of education, candidates will be asked, “How would your party support rural education, and what is your stance on the closure and amalgamation of rural schools?” To gain an idea of each candidate’s stance on infrastructure investment, they will be asked, “What projects would be investment priorities for the province locally?”
One issue sure to be important to many North Dundas locals is each candidate’s stance on supporting local businesses. Candidates will be asked, “What would your party do to support small businesses and local commerce?” Another hot button issue is the current housing crisis, and candidates will be asked, “What is your take on the affordable housing crisis locally, and what is the solution?”
To help distinguish province-wide matters from the local issues that an MPP is expected to care about, candidates will be asked, “How would you support the largely rural population of this riding in being heard at Queen’s Park?” Given that half of the time during which the 42nd parliament was in session, the COVID-19 pandemic was ongoing, candidates will be asked, “Do you believe the COVID-19 pandemic is still of concern locally?”
Finally, a candidate’s best quality is perhaps their ability to listen to constituents. Candidates will have the ability to bring their own issues, and those of local residents to the table when they are asked, “Are there any issues that locals have touched base with you about, which you intend to bring forward if elected as MPP?”
Look for your local candidates’ answers to these critical questions in the June 1 edition of the North Dundas Times before casting your vote on June 2.