Meet the candidates: Lambton-Kent-Middlesex – Joyce Jolliffe

Joyce Jolliffe, NDP
Hometown: Raised in rural Thamesville. Residing in Strathroy for 25 years.
Occupation: Retired from manufacturing sector.
Political experience: Ran in 2000 federal election to get my feet wet. Ran in 2003 provincial election. I also served as president of USWA Local 3313 for 14 years. I have been an advocate for Health and Safety, and Women’s Rights.
Community involvement: Served on a national and international women’s committee and actively fundraised for local women’s shelters. Help with the local VON by serving Meals on Wheels. I also sat on the labour participation committee for the United Way.

What is the best way to stimulate the economy in your riding?
In my opinion, the economy in our riding has three major components: farming, tourism and manufacturing. All of these areas are in trouble because of the high Canadian dollar and Canadians are not getting the benefit of more purchasing power from our higher dollars.
The first thing that needs to be done is to put the farming community on a level playing field with U.S. farmers. We could compete with U.S. farmers if the government would give our farming community the same deal the U.S. farmers get from their government. If that can be done, an import tax on U.S. farm products needs to be put in place to ensure U.S. farmers can not dump their products in our marketplace. The rules must be the same for everyone. The government needs to encourage more companies to set up workplaces that process farm products ready for store shelves. Our farmers should not have to rely on foreign producers to process our farm products. If elected, I would work to put our farmers on equal footing with their U.S. counterparts.

What is the biggest environmental issue facing your riding and what can be done to solve it?
Environmental issues in this riding are as wide ranging and varied as the riding is big. Residents of Coldstream are concerned about a proposed human waste dump. People in Bothwell are concerned that they will have to pay for sewage treatment when there is no problem evident. People in Wallaceburg are concerned about what chemicals they may find in the St. Clair River. The answer in many cases is the NDP proposal to extend the Right to Know legislation. We believe the people of Ontario have a right to know what is in the river and what affects a human waste dump have on groundwater and surface water. It is through the attainment of knowledge that we can protect ourselves and our children from environmental threats.

What is your solution for Ontario’s energy needs?
Nuclear power is expensive, unreliable and most importantly, environmentally risky. We need a significant boost in clean, renewable electricity such as wind, solar and water power, including a practical and ambitious plan to install 100,000 solar hot water heaters in homes by 2012.

Should we favour consumption taxes over income and corporate taxes?
The Green Party, to my knowledge, has not stated what the percentage would be! This is the wrong way to go. Lower income families and middle income families will pay more in the long run. We need to remember that you will be paying a consumption tax on everything you purchase.

Do you think the minimum wage should be raised to $10 per hour?
Yes, I do think the minimum wage should be $10 per hour and I would go as far as calling it a fair wage. Minimum wage increases have not kept up with inflation. In real terms, the minimum wage has decreased by eight per cent since 1995 and 20 per cent since 1976.

Do you support public funding for all faith-based schools?
I support a complete overhaul of the unfair Harris-McGuinty education funding formula – and annual hearings to ensure it’s working properly for all of our children.

Which electoral system will you be voting for: MMP or first past the post?