The Corktown Residents and Business Association (CRBA) got their federal MP candidates’ stances on Bill C-51, the Fair Elections Act and income inequality while preparing for the Queen River Secondary Plan’s upcoming preliminary Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing at their meeting on Oct. 6.
Conservative candidate Julian DiBatista defended Bill C-51, stating that the Conservative party intends to keep it intact as it is an important measure that will help protect people in Canada.
According to Liberal candidate Bill Morneau (who won the riding in the general election on Oct. 19) his party would repeal it so it would better reflect the interests of Canadians through implementing significant parliamentary oversight and a three year sunset clause.
“Security, of course, is important—but that bill was a very cynical measure brought in right after the terrorist attack in Ottawa last fall that left everyone very frightened,” said NDP Candidate Linda McQuaig. “The Conservatives used that as an opportunity to bring in a bill that frankly, compromises our civil liberties and our charter rights. Tom Mulcair and the NDP were against it from the beginning, recognizing the problems with it even though at the beginning, the polls showed it was an extremely popular measure.”
Morneau and McQuaig both spoke out against the Fair Elections Act, stating that both their parties had fought the legislation “tooth and nail.”
“What it really does is create voter suppression opportunities,” said McQuaig, “It’s going to be very difficult for low income, marginal, First Nations or homeless people who don’t have proper identification to vote.”
To resolve the issue of income inequality, Morneau advocated revising the Universal Child Care Benefit.
“Giving those benefits to everyone is not the right thing to do when they would be better spent on people who really need the income,” said Morneau, suggesting applying a means test to the benefit “that would allow us to make a significant difference the lives of people who are really challenged. Our objective is to find a way to deal with poverty and in particular, poverty among children.”
Independent candidate Jordan Stone took a different approach to keeping more money in the hands of Canadians.
“We need to have tax incentives for builders to build more apartment buildings. We have enough condos. That is not helping people who are renting. When we have more apartments, prices go down,” said Stone, “And the monopoly needs to be broken with our cell phone rates. We’re paying some of the highest rates in the world and we don’t have to.”
The CRBA also took steps to prepare for their first preliminary OMB hearing as the Queen River Secondary plan, which would establish a policies to ensure that future development would maintain the established neighbourhoods, has been appealed by developers.
“We were involved in the development of the Queen River Secondary Plan and are happy the city did that, so we’re disappointed that these developers are appealing it.” said CRBA board member and former president Kara Isert, “It’s up to us as community members to defend what the city has done.”
The preliminary hearing was scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on Oct. 19 at the OMB. A second prehearing was subsequently scheduled for March 2, 2016.