All of the Ontario provincial parties were invited to speak to the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) under President Thomas Saras. The attendance was impressive.
The first speaker was the Provincial New Democratic Party leader Ms. Andrea Horwath. Then Provincial Liberal (L) ministers Ms. Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Transport and Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration spoke. Finally Green Party of Ontario candidate Mr. Trifon Haitas.
Leading off Ms. Horwath brought up a signifigant point, that the province (under her leadership) will give a tax credit to corporations that create jobs. Another plank in their platform is to provide tax credit for capital investment. “We will have a buy Ontario policy as well as one for workers’ training to increase the industrial pool,” said Ms. Horwath.
There was no discussion about trade union involvement and its impact on worker attitudes.
Next speakers were Eric Hoskins and Kathleen Wynne (L).
“Ours is a plan to win the future that focuses on the things that matter to Ontarians , healthcare, education and jobs,” said Dr. Hoskins.
Hoskins (a medical doctor) started on healthcare. He spoke of the “Healthy home protection tax credit” where persons receive fifteen hundred dollars each year for walk-in-baths and ramps to their houses (already available), so that they may already stay in their home. House calls by nurses and doctors will be made available.
“The Provincial PC closed 28 hospitals almost overnight. We are building 18 new ones. The PC’s fired doctors and nearly 8,000 nurses. We have hired more than 2,500 doctors and more than 11,000 nurses, and we are still hiring,” said Dr. Hoskins.
“ In education our schools are better than ever, test scores in elementary and secondary levels are up, graduation numbers are up and class sizes are down. We will reduce post-graduate tuition by 30% by giving the students and their families a grant of $1,600 every year they are in university and $730 every year they are in college. We are extending teachers’ college an additional year and continuing the implementation of full day kindergarten,” added Dr. Hoskins.
Ms. Wynne was not able to add much more in hard data except to pinpoint with a certain pride that in Ontario education is a leader. She was education minister for a long time before taking over transportation.
A discussion on clean energy which is generated by wind turbines took an interesting twist. “When we took over Ontario from the PC’s there were only 7 wind turbines, now there are 270,” said Dr. Hoskins.
“ This past year was the hottest in memory yet we didn’t have a single smog day,” added Ms. Wynne.
Estonian Life asked why the health ministry had stopped covering Chiropody (foot care, mainly for diabetics of which there are over a million in Canada) this past year with no adjusting compensation. Persons who subsist only on their pensions need to pay up to $30 a month extra with no adjusting payment.
Neither Dr. Hoskins nor Ms. Wynne had an answer to the question but said they will get back to Estonian Life.
The final speaker was Mr. Trifon Haitas a candidate of the Green Party of Ontario. Mr.Haitas has been a member of NEPMCC and an award winner. He explained a very concise five step platform and then saved everybody having to take notes by saying that the platform is on also www. GPO.ca .
At fist Trifon pointed out that there are half a million people who voted Green in Ontario, but they are scattered in all different directions and that there should be some way they too can get a voice.
There will be more on this election which is on October 6, 2011 in upcoming issues.
Almost all Ontario provincial parties give their platforms