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Oct. 17, 2021 | Sunday
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Election '21 Exclusive: Final pitches from your Niagara Falls riding candidates
A photo from The Lake Report's all candidates debate Sept. 7 at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery. (File/Jessica Maxwell)

The Lake Report and NiagaraNow.com asked all five federal candidates for the Niagara Falls riding in Monday's federal election to submit opinion pieces outlining their platform and what they plan to do if elected. Their exclusive op-eds are below, in alphabetical order by party name:

 

Tony Baldinelli
Conservative Party of Canada

Ultimately, this election is about how we get Canada back on its feet and rebuild our economy, our jobs, and our way of life.

Once elected, a Conservative government will focus relentlessly on jobs, wages, and getting Canada’s economy and finances back on track, as quickly as possible. Unlike the other parties, we have put forward a comprehensive plan that is designed to get Canadians back to work and lead us into a recovery.

Our Canada Recovery Plan is based on five pillars:

  • Secure jobs – recovering the 1 million jobs lost during the pandemic.
  • Secure accountability – by enacting new anti-corruption laws to clean up the mess in Ottawa.
  • Secure mental health – through our Canada Mental Health Action Plan.
  • Secure our country – by creating a strategic stockpile of essential products and building the capacity to manufacture supplies and vaccines here at home.
  • Secure Canada’s economy – by balancing the budget over the next decade.

I think it was incredibly disappointing that the Prime Minister decided to put his own self-interest and that of the Liberal party, before that of the residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Fort Erie and Niagara Falls, by calling this election.

Parliament was functioning for everyone but Justin Trudeau himself. Instead, as issues such as the Delta variant and Afghanistan dominated our news cycle, he plunged us into a $600 million federal election because he thought he could win. In fact, in the last five-week session of Parliament, which ended in June, five Conservative private member’s bills were passed into law, including the bill I had seconded, C-218, which legalized single-event sports betting, for the benefit of our tourism and hospitality sector.

If re-elected, I will continue to fight for our businesses and farmers on their recovery and infrastructure needs; I will fight for the safe return to work of all their employees; I will fight for our borders to be treated fairly; I will continue to fight for a clean environment; I will fight for our youth and their futures so they can stay here and be able to afford their own homes; and I will fight to ensure we get through this pandemic and into a recovery, through our Canada Recovery Plan, as quickly as we can.

Being elected member of Parliament in 2019 was the greatest honour ever bestowed upon me and I can assure you I will continue to advocate on the issues of importance to the people of this incredible riding.

I am deeply thankful and grateful to the residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Fort Erie and Niagara Falls for placing your trust in me to represent you in Ottawa and I hope to gain your trust, once again, on Sept. 20.

 

Melanie Holm
Green Party of Canada

The Green party has long been the champion of the environment, and finally, most of the country is recognizing that climate change can no longer be ignored.

In Canada, we are already experiencing the effects of a 1.7 Celsius increase in average temperatures and a recent UN report revealed that human activity is the primary contributor. Locally, we’ve seen the impact that the growing population coupled with a slight rise in temperature is having on our communities.

We’ve seen record low water levels, record high water levels and an increase in severe weather. The rising temperatures coupled with the removal of natural buffer zones have caused the erosion of our shorelines. The steady development into and around our natural wetlands has had a devastating effect on local biodiversity.

It sounds catastrophic, but climate change can be managed if we act immediately by transitioning to a green economy, focusing on green energy and green technology, and eliminating the extraction of fossil fuels.

By collaborating across levels of government with the Indigenous community and other local organizations, we can lead the way in Niagara. We can directly benefit from this transition by supporting and advocating for the green industries that are already here and creating a reputation for our innovative local policies.

While the Green party’s environmental policies may be well known, our social policies are needed now more than ever. The pandemic has highlighted the need for a Guaranteed Livable Income, a set base amount that would provide enough money to put a roof over your head and food on your table.

Our party also has a housing plan that considers housing for everyone, from people experiencing homelessness, to seniors who are looking to move into smaller, more manageable homes or apartments, young people looking to buy their first homes, and families looking to scale up. We all deserve to live with dignity and the Green party will ensure we all do.

This is our chance to do something different. This is our chance to take bold action on climate change and to become leaders in green technology. This is our chance to choose a housing strategy for everyone and to implement a Guaranteed Livable Income.

This is our chance to build a better, stronger, more resilient community. When you go to the polls, vote for the future you want to see; vote for me, the Green party candidate for Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, and Fort Erie.

 

Andrea Kaiser
Liberal Party of Canada

As many of you know, Niagara-on-the-Lake is my home, where I have spent the last 50 years, growing up, raising my family, and working right here within the community. I have been a small businesses owner, volunteer, and served our community on town council for over a decade. These experiences mean that many of you know me personally and know I entered public life because I believe in making positive contributions to our community above all else in politics. 

It should come as no surprise that I am a candidate for the Liberal party because not only does the party provide positive leadership for Canadians but also stands for the things I value most. I believe a community is only strong if all our neighbours are thriving, which means that we must always extend a helping hand to those in need, values my parents, Karl and Silvia Kaiser, instilled in me growing up. 

I am also a Liberal because I believe in strong public services, which we need to defend against privatization. And it is clear we need to take decisive action to ban assault weapons and strive to keep Canadians safe from gun violence. I am also committed to protecting our natural environment and I am proud of our Liberal government’s world-leading climate action plan.

I firmly believe we need to do everything we can to end this pandemic through vaccination because it is the best tool we have to keep Canadians safe. It is time for Canadians to do their part and reduce the strain on the health care system and allow us all to get back to normal. We also need to avoid further lockdowns and must be ready to implement our strong Economic Recovery & Jobs Plan and rebuild a thriving local economy. 

Our community needs a member of Parliament who does more than simply represent their political party in Ottawa. We need an MP who works tirelessly to advance our community and its values every day. I will be that member of Parliament because this is who I have been my entire adult life. I have worked hard to earn my reputation for bridging people across partisan divides to accomplish progress on important issues. 

Locally, I will work to deliver critical infrastructure investments that relieve congestion and prioritize federal funding to protect natural assets like Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. I also will be a champion for our local entrepreneurs because they are the backbone of our community. If elected, I will work hard every day to deliver on these commitments, so if you want a strong local voice to represent you in Ottawa, I am asking for your support.

 

Brian Barker
New Democratic Party

Firstly, I want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to chat, call and email myself and my team. It's been incredible to hear from all of you, your stories, your hopes and your dreams for your kids and yourselves. As I have said to many of you before, I am just as sick as you are of being taken for granted.

We have said in this community that the climate crisis is real and it matters, yet Canada since 2016 has emitted more greenhouse gasses than any other G7 country. We have continued to say seniors deserve respect for a lifetime of dedication to this community, yet under consecutive governments their bills go up and their benefits buy less.

Year after year we continue to watch more and more of our health care services rely on supplemental private services as our public services are hollowed out. Our once great health care system has been whittled down and the dream of Tommy Douglas, to have a system that covers dental care, prescription medicine and mental health care, continues to drift further away.

We now fear for the kind of lives our seniors are living in long-term care after COVID exposed what companies bent on profit were doing to our loved ones. Simply put, life is not getting easier and we have to ask ourselves when enough is enough.

We cannot keep making the same choices and expect different results. In this riding, it's being grounded locally that matters. Our MP should bring our needs to Ottawa, not just talking points from Ottawa back here.

So, I'm asking you to make a new choice this time. To vote for investment in health care, removing profit from a broken long-term care system, real action for a sustainable future and a focus on building a community where our kids and grandkids can grow up with the same opportunities we had.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is beloved by its residents because of its character. We cannot let that character disappear. Whether that means fighting for a future where a changing climate doesn’t decimate our wine industry or upend our farms, or having a representative who speaks up against developers trying to rip up our greenbelt to build highrises, it all means having a local voice for local issues.

Over the last four weeks myself and my team have been honoured to hear your voices and to advise us on how to move those local issues forward.

I am hoping you will try something new on Sept. 20 and help us bring this passion to office. We are hoping that this year you will vote New Democrat.

 

Peter Taras
People's Party of Canada

The unprecedented government response to the COVID-19 pandemic has had massively negative repercussions on Canadians’ physical and mental health, economic well-being, as well as their rights and freedoms.

The standard approach to pandemic management had always been to protect the vulnerable and allow the rest of the healthy population to go about their regular lives while building herd immunity. Lockdowns of entire populations were never part of any pre-COVID pandemic planning.

This experiment was largely ineffective in reducing the spread of the virus, but caused significant collateral damage. The vast majority of COVID victims were elderly patients with comorbidities in nursing homes that governments failed to protect. Lockdown measures will cause even more deaths in the longer term due to stress-related illnesses, depression, postponement of surgeries, drug overdose, suicide, domestic violence, etc.

Governments don’t want to admit that they were wrong and are imposing increasingly authoritarian measures on the population, including vaccine passports. Both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated will suffer under a regime of segregation, constant control and surveillance. It is illusory to believe that the virus can be eradicated. We have to learn to live with it, without destroying our way of life in the process.

Lockdowns, mask mandates, school closures and other authoritarian sanitary measures have not had any noticeable effect on the course of the pandemic. Regions or countries that implemented strict measures have been as impacted as those that did not.

Both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated can get infected and transmit the virus, which negates the rationale for segregation and vaccine passports.

Section 1 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that reasonable limits to our rights and freedoms can only be imposed if it has been demonstrated that they are justified in a free and democratic society. Such a demonstration has not been made for COVID restrictions, most of which are arguably unconstitutional.

Although most of the measures in response to the pandemic have been implemented by provincial governments, Ottawa has an important co-ordinating role to play at the national level and can influence provincial policies.

A People’s party government will:

  • Promote a rational and scientifically based approach to the pandemic that focuses on the protection of the most vulnerable, guarantees the freedom of Canadians to make decisions based on informed consent, and rejects coercion and discrimination.
  • Fire chief public health officer Theresa Tam and replace her with someone who will work with provincial agencies to implement a rational approach to the pandemic, instead of following the recommendations of the World Health Organization.
  • Repeal vaccine mandates and regular testing for federal civil servants and workers in federally regulated industries.
  • Repeal vaccine passports for travellers.
  • Support medical research and development of therapies to treat covid-19 and other viral diseases.
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