Meet the candidates: Huron-Bruce – Carol Mitchell

Carol Mitchell, Liberal
Hometown: Clinton (born in Goderich twp)
Occupation: MPP, business owner
Political experience: MPP for Huron-Bruce (2003-present); parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Food; parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal; Health & Social Services Policy Cabinet Committee, Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Conservation Action Team, Premier’s Research and Development Committee, and Government Agencies Review Committee. Carol is also the Chair of Rural Caucus and the Deputy Chair of the Liberal Caucus. Former warden of Huron County (1999, 2000); former Clinton town councillor, reeve and member of Huron County Council, reeve of Central Huron.

What is the best way to stimulate the economy in your riding?
The best way to stimulate the economy is to continue the programs, which we have started. Money invested in hospitals & family health teams make our communities more attractive for investment. Privatized health care as proposed by John Tory’s Conservatives will weaken our community hospitals and drain us of physicians. Education is essential for the modern economy. Our investment in the existing system of publicly funded schools has produced better student test scores. Apprenticeship programs have been expanded to meet the increased demands of local industry.

What is the biggest environmental issue facing your riding and what can be done to solve it?
Water quality is the major problem. The Water Source Protection Act plus the Clean Water Act will go a long way in solving the problem of water quality in the lake and rivers.

What is your solution for Ontario’s energy needs?
We already have a mix of renewable energy sources. We are first in North America for production of wind energy & solar energy. Nuclear energy is also a major part already and it will continue to be a major source of our electricity supply mix & a major contributor in our local economy. Coal will be phased out.

Should we favour consumption taxes over income and corporate taxes?
We have been down that road before. Tax cuts means closing schools and hospitals. There has to be a balance in the tax load. The last cuts in income taxes (the Mike Harris cuts) resulted in a shift to property taxes.

Do you think the minimum wage should be raised to $10 per hour?
The minimum wage will be increased to $10.25 per hour by 2010. It is being done over a period of time to allow employers to adjust to the increased costs.

Do you support public funding for all faith-based schools?
This is a step backward. The British North America Act established two public systems in Ontario. I support the existing systems. Adding more religions with their schools will take money away from the publicly funded schools. We have just overcome the last crisis, which the previous Conservative government created. Increasing the number of funded schools will segregate newcomers in our province and will increase the cost of education while taking much needed funding from small rural schools.

Which electoral system will you be voting for: MMP or first past the post?
I am opposed to the MMP system. The change will reduce the influence of rural areas & the reduction of the riding will make our rural riding too large. It will create a two-tier class of MPPs. Those with riding to which they are responsible will have a huge load compared to the unelected MPPs. I will vote no.