PROVINCIAL ELECTION CANDIDATE Q&A – Crystal Meloche (Liberal)

Liberal candidate Crystal Meloche

Liberal candidate Crystal Meloche

Q: Electricity prices are a concern to ratepayers in the Essex riding. What is your party’s plan to alleviate concerns over cost and how would you strive to carry out that plan locally?

A: In 2003 we inherited a system that was not clean, was not reliable and was not affordable.  I do recognize that there is a concern over energy prices.  We are taking action to reduce overall electricity system costs and ensure electricity bills remain affordable.  For home owners we will be taking the debt retirement charge off your hydro bills, creating a new low income energy assistance program and we also have the peak saver plus program which will automatically save you on average 9 percent.  We also have several programs set up for small, medium and large size businesses.  One thing to remember is that we have completely removed coal as a source of electricity, meaning Ontario will have a cleaner future.

 

Q:  How do you view the future of education in the province and what changes (if any) would you like to see to improve the quality of education in Ontario?

A: We want to ensure that Ontario’s education system remains one of the best in the world.  Ontario Liberals are committed to helping our kids become lifelong learners and we have done this by increasing funding for education by 53%, funded 13,300 new teachers since 2003, implemented smaller class sizes and brought in full day kindergarten.  We have more kids graduating high school and we want to see that number continue to grow.  Over the next 10 years we will invest $11B for elementary and secondary education infrastructure, including $4.2B to help address school repairs.  My job as your local representative would be to ensure our schools get the funding they need so our kids get the education they deserve.  We have also introduced the 30% off Ontario tuition grant helping 230,000 attend college and university and we have also reduced the cap on tuition fees- from 5%-3% for four years, boosted student assistance and tripled the number of direct student grants.  We have made tremendous gains in education, we are rebuilding our relationship with teachers and support staff and with their help we can continue making improvements.  Our goal is to take our education system from great to excellent, while ensuring long-term financial sustainability.

 

Q: How would you and your party bring jobs to the Essex riding?

A: Ontario Liberals stand for jobs, for growth and for keeping our recovery on course.  We are creating a new $2.5 billion Jobs and Prosperity fund. This fund will help secure business investments particularly in growing sectors, such as advanced manufacturing and agri-food.  Part of the $2.5B is $400 million over 10 years to the agri-food sector which would help our farmers buy productivity enhancing machinery and equipment that will help them be more competitive.  If we invest in our businesses they will grow and that alone will create new jobs.  We also have a youth’s job strategy which has already helped 11,500 youths find job placements and we will create jobs in the Essex riding by investing in skills and training to help our residents get good jobs and succeed at work.  We supported the auto industry during the global recession, which preserved 95,000 direct jobs in the auto manufacturing sector  and hundreds of thousands indirectly and we will continue to support the auto industry.

 

Q: How would you and your party ensure that residents of the Essex riding have the best quality health care and what initiatives would you and your party bring to the table to ensure local residents have the best health care possible?

A: After ten years of investments, health care is finally the priority it should be in Windsor/Essex County. We are committed to building a new single site acute care facility. In Windsor/Essex County we have 23% more doctors since 2003, two fully functional MRI machines, three new CAT scans and a new medical school.  Women in our community now have a health centre to call their own and a new regional comprehensive men’s health program has become a reality.  If elected, we will provide a primary care guarantee, reduce wait times for referrals to specialists, cap hospital parking fees and most importantly we would like to see more nurse practitioner run clinics.

More nurse practitioner clinics would allow our residents in Essex County more accessibility to health care but would also alleviate the stress on emergency room wait times.  We will expand the scope of practices, to ensure nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals can make their full contribution to the health care system.

 

Q: Simply put, why are you the best candidate to represent the Essex riding in the Ontario Legislature and why should the voters put their trust in you?

A: I have proven myself as a councillor in the Town of LaSalle and I understand how important it is to listen to your community and deliver results.  The issues of our community have not been heard, Essex deserves leadership that will get results and I believe we will have another liberal government, the voices of our residents will be heard if we have someone sitting at the table. On June 12, I am asking for your support to create more jobs in our community, invest in key infrastructure and help make life easier for the families of Essex County. I care about Essex County, I believe in my community and I believe in the residents of Essex County.

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