In a word, maybe.
In assessing who I might want to vote for in the 2019 federal election, and which party’s platform would best benefit the Municipality of Middlesex Centre as a whole (services, infrastructure funding, costs of promises, etc.) I have been doing some digging into each of the three major parties’ platforms that are most likely to win in Lambon-Kent-Middlesex.
I don’t want this to be long, so I’ll do my best to be brief.
Liberal Party of Canada
- On climate change, which I would argue is influencing the frequency and severity of the thunderstorms and resulting flooding that we’re seeing in Middlesex Centre, we know what to expect already. A carbon tax that will continue to increase over the next few years, the rest of the country phasing out coal fired power plants, and so on. The platform also calls for the planting of several billion trees to help capture more carbon, which is something our climate can handle.
- On infrastructure spending, again we know what to expect. One potential boon for Middlesex Centre is in the Infrastructure Canada – Investing in Canada Plan (ICIP). This grant program, unveiled in August in collaboration with provincial governments, will pay for even more of a new arena or community centre than the last major grant program during the recession funded, and that’s how we got the Komoka Wellness Centre built! MXC staff are currently completing the application for funding for a new Wellness Centre-style complex for Ilderton, but we won’t get an answer on the application until Autumn 2020.
- The Liberal Party is also promising to help family farms during hard times, continue to fund expanded access to high speed Internet, and create a new cabinet position in the form of a Minister of Rural Economic Development. There is a lot here that’s undefined or lacking clarity, which I never enjoy.
- Since they are the incumbent, I will say I’m disappointed about electoral reform not coming to fruition, and I don’t think the decision to buy the Transmountain Pipeline was a good one. Those funds could have been used to help fuel research and development of carbon capturing technologies (and others) instead, and used towards training people that work in the oil sands so that they can take other career paths.
Conservative Party of Canada
- The Conservative Party has made their position very clear. Scrap the carbon tax and instead bring in legislation so that polluters have to make changes to, well, pollute less.
- Here’s a little secret. If polluters have to pay to install new technology or change processes to ensure they’re adhering to legislation, driving up their capital expenditures and/or operating expenses, they will definitely pass those costs on to consumers. You will still pay more for those products.
- The Conservative Party is promising to cut over $6,000,000,000 (billion) in infrastructure spending over the next 5 years. Their funding will prioritize roads and bridges. Where does that leave the aforementioned ICIP that’s already accepting applications? I don’t know, but I tried to find out. I have called our local Lambon-Kent-Middlesex candidate, Lianne Rood, on four separate occasions. I left her a voice mail, I even reached out to her on Twitter and Facebook. I have received no response. In my experience, when someone running for office or is already in office doesn’t get back to you, it’s usually because they know you won’t like the answer.
- I do appreciate that they understand there needs to be a transition from the reliance of so many workers on oil & gas towards less carbon-intensive energy production.
- Finally, they are promising to bring back a litany of tax credits for things like public transit passes and putting your kids into organized sports. These can be good for some families! But they’re only good if you can afford to put your kid into sports in the first place. Because these are tax credits, you only get to see this money back after you file your income taxes, which means you need to have the $150 for soccer or $1,000 for hockey ready to go for registration.
New Democratic Party of Canada
- The NDP’s climate change plan has a slightly loftier goal than the Liberal Party’s plan. Both will miss the Paris Accord’s target, though the project of the Liberal Party’s current efforts don’t include the impact of the tree planting plan. The NDP also wants to fund energy efficiency retrofits for social housing and government buildings, and modify the Canada Building Code so that all homes built by 2030 are net-zero ready.
- The NDP wants to improve access to in-person services in and rural communities, expand the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit, work with Canada Post to develop a model of postal banking (already done very successfully in countries like France), and grow affordable transit services for rural areas. They will also continue funding expanded access to high speed internet.
- Rural Canada drives at least a third of the country’s economy, and the NDP wants to invest in regional economic development agencies (more? we already have a bunch, like Community Futures Development Corporation and superclusters), and support job creation in things like tourism and community development.
Those are the highlights I wanted to pull out for you! I am not telling you who to vote for. My vote is still up in the air at this point, about 18 hours before I go out to cast my ballot! I just wanted to provide some perspective on our needs as a community. Thanks for reading!