Building a platform for the community requires reaching out and hearing from everyone who is impacted, especially those who may be marginalized, under-resourced, vulnerable, or otherwise excluded from the political process. So please reach out with your ideas and suggestions. We'd love to hear from you!
My campaign priorities are centred around a few key themes.
A Human Rights Based Approach
Our community is hurting, with multiple intersecting crises affecting those who are most vulnerable. The pandemic, the opioid crisis, the lack of affordable housing, ageism, discrimination, homelessness, and unemployed are all impacting our community. Peterborough-Kawartha needs an MPP who will listen to these voices and won't shy away from raising these issues in every discussion at Queen's Park.
Universal Basic Income
In 2017, Ontario began the Basic Income Pilot project, testing a new approach to reducing poverty in a sustainable way. The results could have helped determine whether a basic income helps people living on low incomes better meet their basic needs and improve their education, housing, employment and health. Our neighbours in Lindsay were one of the communities enrolled in the pilot.
One of the first acts of the new Conservative Ontario government was to cancel the Basic Income Pilot. They did not cancel the pilot because it was costing the government much to implement, the project had already been paid for. Not because it was harming the participants, it definitely was not. No, the UBI project was cancelled because the Conservatives didn't want to see the data. They were afraid that this groundbreaking approach to tackling poverty and insecurity might actually work.
Basic income is not simply about addressing abject poverty or fundamental human rights. It has the potential to save our community millions of dollars in preventable emergency room visits, shelter costs, and emergency services. And those who have the least are the most likely to spend their earnings on basics such as food, shelter, and local necessities.
I am committed to bringing back and expanding the Basic Income pilot. And advocating for it to be tested here, in Peterborough, where we know so many of our vulnerable and under-resourced neighbours so desperately need it.
A Climate Emergency
I am committed to addressing the climate crisis with the urgency it requires. This means ensuring that all provincial laws and policies are evaluated with a climate and environmental lens in mind. We also need to build on the federal carbon price with a bold made-in-Ontario plan.
In 2019 the City of Peterborough declared a climate emergency, partly because of the incredible work of local advocates. But declaring a climate emergency is not enough. We need focused investments not only to protect and preserve the climate and our incredible natural heritage. Peterborough has the potential to be the greenest municipality in the province, thanks to the commitment of our local activists. But they need support, funding, and a partner that will stand with them in this fight. I am committed to:
- Substantial provincial investment in high-speed rail to Peterborough.
- Integrating climate and Indigenous perspectives throughout the school curriculum.
- Cancelling the new 400 series highway and instead supporting climate and education initiatives.
- Funding home and business retrofits.
- And investing in local climate organizations creating change right here in our community.
We cannot thank our care workers enough for what they have done for our community through the pandemic. They are absolute heroes. And yet nurses, doctors, personal support workers (PSW), paramedics and all our vital care workers are suffering through a crisis that began before COVID-19 and has not reached its breaking point. Before we consider building new beds or buying new equipment, we need to take care of the people providing that care. That's why supporting our healthcare workers will be my absolute top priority. The pandemic has also revealed an incredible need for mental health services throughout our community. We're all struggling in some way, and need to look for new ways to support each other.
It's crucial that we bring a level of innovation to healthcare that has been missing under previous governments, of all stripes. Some of the creative solutions I think need more attention include:
- Expanding virtual care for doctor's visits.
- Focusing on keeping people in their homes where possible, including through expanded homecare support.
- Revamping mental health services to be more accessible and available to all members of the community.
- Looking to doctors, nurses, PSWs, and healthcare users to develop creative solutions, and empowering them to test and implement change.
I am proud of my public school education at Edmison Heights and Adam Scott. My parents were both teachers in Peterborough and I became the person I am today because of my public school education. Yet today, so many teachers, students, and education support workers are suffering from enormous stress and anxiety because of this government's systematic and deliberate attack on our public education system. I believe we need to reinvest not in our schools, but in our students. There can be no better way for Ontario to succeed than to ensure that every student gets a world class public education. This means:
- Unreserved support for public schooling.
- Smaller class sizes across the board, with a goal of reducing class sizes in all grade levels.
- Hiring hundreds more Educational Assistants.
- Respecting our teachers and education workers.
- Providing additional mental health supports for students and teachers, including social workers in schools.
- Ensuring that curricula are properly informed by the climate emergency, including indigenous perspectives.
Caring for our Elders
There was a crisis in how we treat our elders that began well before the pandemic. Not enough beds and not enough staff meant that waitlists could be years long, and hospital beds were often occupied by people who would be significantly better off in Long Term Care (LTC). Seniors who wished to stay in their own homes saw support cut, and seniors who did want to get into LTC were often left at the mercy of a system more focused on profits over people. Inspections were cute, and the result was a system where basic procedures to keep both residents and staff safe were overlooked. A new approach would include:
- Investing in programs to help seniors stay in their own homes where possible, including more homecare.
- Providing better pay and better working conditions for PSWs, including ensuring that they can earn a living wage working at one single location.
- Restoring and enhancing inspections of LTC centres with significant penalties for violations.
- A focus on creative solutions, including smaller LTCs, integration within the community, and volunteer programs to bring youth into LTC.