Brandon: How would your party support rural education, and what is your stance on the closure and amalgamation of rural schools?
Remi: First of all, we think the rural schools should remain open, and the Ontario Party is a firm believer in charter schools. And if we go see their platform, they don’t like the private schools, the charter schools receive government funding. I read something about it and they receive something like, I think, $12,500 per kid at school. And it may be that that money can be used for a family who wants to use it for a different way to teach their kids. I think, let’s say a teacher wants to start his own school: it can be like self-employed and create at the same time different jobs and all that stuff, and maybe they would be more passionate in their job. In a corporation or whatever, they just have one way to go. I think it’s not good. You know, the difference. It’s amazing.
Brandon: So in terms of the rural schools, you’re saying that you would take that path with rural schools as well.
Remi: Yes, exactly. I think in the rural schools, it would be nice to have smaller schools, like one from grade 1 to 6, for example. You know, the older can teach the younger at the same time. Today, they don’t even learn how to write, you know, how to write their alphabet and things like this, because we always have tablets and computers. I’m a fan of technology, but I think there’s too much in the schools. They should learn their history, they should learn how to work, and what you can do in life for your future.
Brandon: What would your party do to support small businesses and local commerce?
Remi: The Ontario party believes that it is the right of every private citizen to own and enjoy private properties. And that includes their own business. Government interference with private properties has become increasingly noticeable in Ontario. Business owners were told to shut down their business, then upon reopening, they were told how many customers they can let in, and to wear a mask. That’s not really good for small business. We promise that they’re never going to close again, that’s for sure. There’s some businesses that just ride on grants, some businesses that should be shut down, because they were not well managed. There’s a way to grow small businesses, and it’s to never close them again.
When your slogan is, “open for business”, you’re not supposed to shut it down, and just open for big, big business, or for essential services like a pot store. Now the thing is, those small businesses, they have to reimburse what they received during COVID, and it’s going to be a pain. I can tell you, it was easy to get the money, but it’s going to be hard to give it back, because they have to make back the money that they lost already with the past customers.
Brandon: Do you believe the COVID 19 pandemic is still a concern locally?
Remi: For me, no, I don’t think it’s at all a concern. I think the media and government created a sense of panic in our population which has led to much mental distress. And after receiving a double dose of vaccine after that, they were not even sure. And after that, put your mask on, remove your mask. They say the mask is good for you, but why do we have six figures? I think they divided the people with that a lot, because there’s some people that believe in it. And I understand that, because I listen to radio like everybody. And I, at the beginning, the first two weeks, I said, “oh my God, what kind of virus is coming? We’re all going to die”. But that didn’t happen.
I’m in the essential services, so I stayed open for the two years, and we barely wore a mask and we never got sick. I got my two shots, my two flu shots, just because I wanted to be with the people. But then we get to the third and the fourth and the sixth one. And I think the government tasted all the power it gave to them. And they became really bossy. You’re not going to get in my home, that’s for sure. This is your choice, I think, to decide if it’s a danger for yourself or not. It’s not the government going to decide.
Brandon: North Dundas is a growing community. Are there any projects that would be investment priorities for the province locally, as in here?
Remi: It is not for the provincial government to set priorities on behalf of the counties. If I’m elected as an MPP in SDSG, one of my first actions will be to sit down with members of our community, to listen to their specific needs, and see how the provincial government can help with it. We do not want to continue with the spread of unlimited government spending either, and each project would be assessed carefully to ensure that the money of our hardworking constituents is spent adequately. I’m living in Bainsville. You’re living in North Dundas. I think it doesn’t grow fast enough. I think we need to bring more people in, because people are getting out of Ontario, and we have a beautiful place where we live. Even yours.
There’s missing a lot of businesses like grocery stores, things like that, houses. And also, there’s space because there’s a lot of agriculture. But sometimes some people want to sell just a portion. And the zoning, it’s a big problem. It’s always a fight. So to give the advantage to farmers to say we’re going to de-zone and we’re going to do nice condos. There’s some people in North Dundas that are too old to take care of their lot because it’s too big, so we can build maybe some condos, things like that, so they can stick with their family. The other projects that you have in North Dundas I’m not aware of because we are almost 45 minutes [apart].
Brandon: Are there any issues that locals have touched base with you about, which you intend to bring forward if elected as MPP?
Remi: Just for example, the ever-increasing noise caused by the 401 is a major concern. And there are some people living near there, like my place in Bainsville. The water issues for rural communities, including mine, are providing terrible water at an unreasonable cost. The municipal taxes are very high. I live in a county where I don’t have a lot of services, but the price: it’s almost near Kingston, or even Toronto. So I would sit down with the city and with the council and all that stuff to calculate that. Not only that, because the price of our houses are going to boom like crazy, what’s going to happen right now being $4,000 of tax, just for example, I’m going to pay, what, $8,000 of tax per year? You know, because my house just doubled in price.
Brandon: What is your take on the affordable housing crisis locally, and what is the solution?
Remi: The solution is to build more and to remove all of the gates, because it’s too complicated. First of all, there’s not a lot of employees now, and we know that. But there are some entrepreneurs that we can bring with a credit of tax for, let’s say, five years. And you ask them, okay, build some condos, build things like that. Because, even if we build small businesses, if you don’t have employees because there’s nobody, it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think the cost of the houses they’re going to reduce so much. We have to reduce the demand and increase the offer. So that’s the way it is. And then we have to manipulate the taxation for houses gently to make sure they won’t want to move.
Brandon: How would you support the largely rural population of this riding in being heard at Queen’s Park?
Remi: To be heard, one must first speak out. This is something that’s been lacking for a long time. Jim McDonnell, I never heard from him, and I tried to communicate with him. And I didn’t like it. Rural [communities] are the backbone of this province, and yet we are ignored by Queen’s Park. I intend to be loud, perhaps even annoying. I want to attract attention to our county. And the only way to do so, is to challenge the government constantly. Rest assured that under my direction, SDSG will be heard. You need somebody that is going to help a lot of people in the state. I improved the life here. We didn’t have any high speed Internet. Now we have some. I reduced the tax for the water tax. I fought with the city and I found a solution. I don’t know why I’m doing that, because it doesn’t give me any money, but in the end it helps people and people like that.