Oakville Federal Candidates Responses to Halton Region Questions on Infrastructure, Climate Change, Housing, Economic Development, Childcare, Municipal Engagement & MP Involvement

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The Region of Halton asked all candidates to respond to questions that pertain to Federal support and policy regarding several issues which include: Infrastructure, Climate Change, Housing, Economic Development, Childcare, Municipal Engagement, and MP Involvement. 

Here are the questions and answers from Oakville Riding’s Federal Candidates who have responded:

Question 1: Infrastructure
Currently, the federal government does not provide sustained, long-term investment into Halton’s municipal infrastructure. Improving our roads, bridges, water and wastewater systems is one of the best ways to create local jobs, keep goods moving, help businesses succeed and maintain a high quality of life for the growing Halton community. By 2031, the infrastructure needs in Halton (including state-of-good-repair programs) are expected to reach approximately $5.6 billion.

What would you and your government do to ensure a long-term, predictable and sustainable investment in local infrastructure to ensure that Halton residents are not burdened with the cost of growth?

John OliverJohn Oliver – Liberal Party of Canada
Investing in infrastructure is vital to creating middle class jobs today and sustained economic growth for years to come. Every dollar spent on public infrastructure grows and makes our economy more competitive, while also creating jobs, strengthening our cities and communities, and improving our health, well-being, and quality of life.

A Liberal government will provide unprecedented new investments in public transit, social infrastructure and green infrastructure, nearly doubling federal infrastructure investment to $125 billion – from the current $65 billion – over the next decade.

Each year over the next decade, we will steadily increase federal infrastructure investment. At full implementation, this will represent an annual additional investment of $9.5 billion per year.
A Liberal government will automatically transfer any uncommitted federal infrastructure funds near the end of any fiscal year to municipalities, through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund. This will ensure that no committed infrastructure money is allowed to lapse but is instead always invested in communities across the country.

Terence Young

Terence Young

Terence Young – Conservative Party of Canada
Over the last decade, the federal government has provided sustained, long-term investment into Halton’s municipal infrastructure. In fact, over the last 10 years a record amount of federal funding has been invested in municipal infrastructure in Halton Region.

Across Canada, federal funding of $33 billion has been provided for over 12,000 provincial and municipal infrastructure projects. This was not always the case; until a decade ago, the federal government funded very little municipal or provincial infrastructure.

One example of our record investment into local infrastructure is the Gas Tax Fund. Through the Gas Tax Fund, the Conservative government provides stable, predictable annual funding for local municipalities. This funding is not application based, thus eliminating the need for paperwork and allowing for stable budget forecasting. This year Halton Region will receive $14.3 million, Oakville $5.3 million, Burlington $5.9 million, Milton $2.4 million and Halton Hills $1.7 million, a total of $29 million in federal gas taxes this year.

Looking forward, Conservatives will continue to work with provincial and municipal governments to build on this record of investment. Last year, the Conservative government announced a record new investment of $70 billion for public infrastructure over the next decade, which includes $53 billion for municipal and provincial infrastructure projects.

Conservatives are proud of the federal investments in municipal infrastructure in Halton Region. Our prudent, fiscal management – based on low-taxes and balanced budgets – means that our commitment to deliver on the $70 billion in new infrastructure spending over the next decade can be counted on.

Question 2: Climate Change:
Weather patterns have changed over the past few decades negatively impacting many communities including Halton Region which have seen an increase in severe weather events such as extended heat waves, torrential rain and ice storms. Without provincial and federal best practices and investment, municipalities are required to manage the social, economic, infrastructure, environmental and health-related consequences of climate change in the community, often at a very high cost. Long-term, sustainable funding is required for municipalities to improve community resilience and to reduce the severity of future climate change effects.

What would you and your government do to help municipalities adapt and respond to climate change?

Terence Young

Terence Young

Terence Young – Conservative Party of Canada

The Conservative government is the first government in Canadian history to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs). During the previous Liberal government, GHGs rose in an uncontrolled fashion from 600 Mt in 1993 to 749 Mt in 2006. Since coming to office in 2006, the Conservative government has reduced GHGs to 726 in 2013, the most recent year reported. Conservatives will continue to reduce GHGs, through the continued rollout of a sector-by-sector regulatory approach.

Conservatives are committed to continuing to work with the Halton Region to ensure that federal funds continue to be available for municipal infrastructure. The risks presented by a warming climate require that municipal infrastructure be hardened against the increased risk of floods, ice storms and other severe weather events.

Over the last 10 years, the Conservative government has partnered with local municipalities in Halton Region and invested in hundreds of local infrastructure projects. Since 2006, an unprecedented $33 billion in federal funds has been spent on over 12,000 municipal and provincial infrastructure projects across Canada.

Nevertheless, more needs to be done. That is why, last year, the federal budget announced a record new investment of $70 billion for public infrastructure over the next decade, which includes $53 billion for municipal and provincial infrastructure projects. This funding will ensure that money is available to harden local infrastructure against the increase in extreme weather events caused by climate change.

John OliverJohn Oliver – Liberal Party of Canada

Essentially, your question relates to two issues: taking action to address climate change; and being prepared to withstand the effects of climate change.

Climate change is an immediate and significant threat to our communities and our economy. The provinces and territories recognize the need to act now, but there has been a dearth of federal leadership on climate change over the last decade. We will end the cycle of federal parties – of all stripes – setting arbitrary targets without a real federal/provincial/territorial plan in place.
With respect to addressing climate change, the Liberal Party will provide national leadership and join with the provinces and territories to take action on climate change, put a price on carbon, and reduce carbon pollution. We will partner with provincial and territorial leaders to develop real climate change solutions, consistent with our international obligations to protect the planet, all while growing our economy. Together, we will attend the Paris climate conference, and within 90 days formally meet to establish a pan-Canadian framework for combatting climate change.

We will work together to establish national emissions-reduction targets, and ensure that the provinces and territories have targeted federal funding and the flexibility to design their own policies to meet these commitments, including their own carbon pricing policies.

These targets must recognize the economic cost and catastrophic impact that a greater-than-two-degree increase in average global temperatures would represent, as well as the need for Canada to do its part to prevent that from happening.

Partnering with the provinces and territories, we will create a new Low Carbon Economy Trust. The Trust will provide funding to projects that materially reduce carbon emissions under the new pan-Canadian framework. We will endow the Low Carbon Economy Trust with $2 billion in our mandate.
With respect to preparing to withstand the effects of climate change, the Liberal Party will invest in sustainable infrastructure that makes our communities safer and more resilient.

Responsible governments do not walk away from challenges, or pretend they do not exist. We will protect our communities from the challenges of climate change and grow our economy by making significant new investments in green infrastructure.

This includes investments in local water and wastewater facilities; clean energy; climate resilient infrastructure, including flood mitigation systems; and infrastructure to protect against changing weather.

Question 3: Housing
The provision of safe, affordable, accessible housing is a critical component of fostering healthy communities. Municipalities across the country are actively working to make communities livable for everyone by ensuring access to housing for newcomers, young people, the middle class and seniors. For too many Halton residents, affordable homeownership remains out of reach. As Canadian municipalities are unable to keep up with the demand for affordable housing options, there is a clear need for long-term predictable funding and a national housing strategy to improve the lives of residents and strengthen communities.

How would you and your government support increased affordable and assisted housing in Halton Region? What would you do to move the creation of a national housing strategy forward?

John OliverJohn Oliver – Liberal Party of Canada
Liberals understand that affordable housing is part of the solution to many of the challenges facing our communities. Better housing can make a meaningful impact on child poverty, high student debt, and retirement security for seniors. It can also provide much-needed stability to people with serious health, mental health, and addiction conditions.

Tackling the housing shortage requires collaborative planning between orders of government and sustained funding. A Liberal government will invest in a National Housing Strategy that makes direct investments in affordable housing, provides tax incentives to expand affordable rental housing, improves data collection, reviews policies on housing in high-priced markets, and offers more flexibility for new home buyers.

The Liberal Party of Canada will make it easier for Canadians to find an affordable place to call home through the following strategies:

As part of our new, ten-year investment of nearly $20 billion in social infrastructure, we will prioritize significant new investment in affordable housing and seniors facilities. This investment will renew federal leadership in housing, help build more housing units and refurbish existing ones, renew current co-operative agreements, and provide operational funding support for municipalities, including renewing support for Housing First initiatives that help homeless Canadians find stable housing.

We will increase the new residential rental property rebate on the GST to 100 percent, eliminating all GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing. This will end the tax penalty on developers interested in building new, modestly priced rental properties, as well as provide $125 million per year in tax incentives to increase and substantially renovate the supply of rental housing across Canada.

We will direct the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the new Canada Infrastructure Bank to provide financing to support construction by the private sector, social enterprises, coops, and the not-for-profit sector of new, affordable rental housing for middle- and low-income Canadians.
We will conduct an inventory of all available federal lands and buildings that could be repurposed, and make some of these available at low cost for affordable housing in communities where there is a pressing need. This work would be done in partnership with municipalities, provinces, and territories as they develop their urban growth plans.

We will modernize the existing Home Buyers’ Plan so that it helps more Canadians finance the purchase of a home. We will allow Canadians impacted by sudden and significant life changes, such as job relocation, the death of a spouse, marital breakdown, or a decision to accommodate an elderly family member, to access the program and use money from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan to buy a house without tax penalty.

Terence Young

Terence Young

Terence Young – Conservative Party of Canada
Over the last decade, the Conservative government has made significant investments into affordable housing in Halton Region.

The most recent federal budget reaffirms the Conservative commitment to ensuring low-income families and vulnerable Canadians have access to affordable housing options. Through targeted investments, Conservatives are committed to working with the provincial government and not-for-profit organizations to increase the supply, quality, accessibility and affordability of housing in Halton Region.

Conservatives are committed to spending more than $2.3 billion per year over the next four years to help ensure Canadians in need have access to affordable, sound and suitable housing. Of this amount, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will invest $1.7 billion annually to support 570,000 households that depend on social housing support. Further, the federal budget of 2013 announced $253 million per year, beginning in April 2014, to extend the Investment in Affordable Housing to March 31, 2019. Under this initiative, the Province of Ontario matches federal investments and has the flexibility to design and deliver programs that are tailored to address their local housing needs and pressures. Since the introduction of the Investment in Affordable Housing in 2011, over 205,000 households have benefitted from the initiative. The federal budget of 2013 also provided $119 million per year over five years to renew the Homelessness Partnering Strategy until 2018–19. Using a Housing First approach, support is provided to assist homeless individuals transition from shelters and the streets into stable housing. In addition to the federal investment in affordable housing, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Direct Lending activities offer low-cost loans to federally assisted social housing projects. In 2013, over $1.126 billion was provided in direct loans.

Finally, Conservatives believe that the foundation of safe, affordable, accessible housing is sound economic management. That is why Conservatives have a low-tax, balanced budget plan to protect Canada’s economy, create jobs and increase home ownership levels.

A re-elected Conservative Government would aim to add more than 700,000 new homeowners to Canada’s rolls by 2020. A re-elected Conservative Government will build on its record of supporting affordable, responsible homeownership for families by:

Expanding the Home Buyers’ Plan from $25,000 to $35,000 so that first-time home buyers can withdraw savings tax-free to make their down payments.

Maintaining the 2015 enhancement to Tax-Free Savings Accounts that allows annual contributions of up to $10,000 so that Canadians can save and invest even more of their hard-earned money tax-free.
Implementing the new Home Accessibility Tax Credit which provides up to $1,500 to seniors and disabled Canadians to keep their homes safe and secure.

Establishing a new permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit for home renovation expenses between $1,000 and $5,000.

Collecting data on foreign buyer activity in Canada’s housing market and, as necessary, taking concrete action to address the issue in coordination with provinces.

Question 4: Economic Development
Economic development and job creation continue to be priority issues facing Canadian municipalities including Halton Region. While all levels of government are working to create jobs and grow the economy, more must be done. Halton continues to be an economic hotspot where businesses choose to locate as a result of our competitive taxes, strong financial position and high quality of life. In addition, Halton’s successful Economic Development Strategy has been working to meet mandated provincial employment targets to achieve sustainable economic prosperity.

How would you and your government assist Halton in creating the right climate for economic growth and job creation? What would you and your government do to spur innovation in Canadian businesses to help them become more globally oriented?

Terence Young

Terence Young

Terence Young – Conservative Party of Canada
Expanding trade and investment for Canadian companies is a priority for Conservatives. Expanded trade means more jobs for more Canadians.

Over the last 10 years, the Conservative government has successfully negotiated free trade agreements with 39 countries, including the European Union and South Korea, to significantly increase Canada’s trade network and provide more export opportunities for Canadian businesses. Not since the Conservative government of Prime Minister Mulroney, which successfully negotiated the free trade agreement with the United States, has a government done as much to expand trade as the current Conservative government of Prime Minister Harper.

Currently, the Conservative government continues to pursue free trade agreements, such as the on-going Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Negotiations. Conservatives are committed to deepening our trade ties in the dynamic and fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, while strengthening our traditional partnerships in the Americas. The TPP is a part of the Conservative’s ambitious pro-trade, pro-export plan to create jobs and opportunities for Canadians.

In addition, the most recent federal budget has made a number of investments and tax changes to encourage greater trade and investment. Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, an association that represents manufacturing companies, praised the Conservative government’s budget and said that,

“This year’s budget backs up the importance of both manufacturing and exporting with a number of important tax and investment measures that will have a very positive impact.”

Conservatives are committed to making significant investments in Halton Region to spur innovation. A re-elected Conservative government will establish a new Advanced Manufacturing Hub in Burlington to encourage the development of cutting-edge products and technologies. The new centre will become a catalyst for high-quality, value-added investment and jobs in the manufacturing sector. A re-elected Conservative government will also establish an Investment and Trade Promotion Office with a mandate to coordinate federal programs and policies to attract new manufacturing product mandates and investments to Canada, and help Canadian firms increase market share globally.

Finally, Conservatives are committed to continuing to invest in “trade infrastructure” – such as the Port of Quebec and the Windsor-Detroit border crossing – to ensure Canadian goods can get to new markets.

John Oliver – Liberal Party of Canada
John OliverCanada’s economic success relies on strong trade relationships with our closest neighbours: the United States and Mexico. The Liberal Party will renew and repair our relationships with our North American partners. As a first step, we will immediately lift the Mexican visa requirement that unfairly restricts travel to Canada, and commit to rescheduling and hosting a new trilateral leaders’ summit with the United States and Mexico.

We will work with the United States and Mexico to develop a continent-wide clean energy and environment agreement.

Because Canada relies on international trade to create jobs and grow our economy, we will work to reduce the barriers that limit trade. With a re-focused Building Canada Fund, we will promote a steadier flow of goods and business travellers by modernizing border infrastructure and streamlining cargo inspections.

The Liberal Party platform also includes plans for getting Canadian goods to market. We will expand export opportunities that benefit Canada.

Trade is vital for our economy. It opens markets, grows Canadian businesses, and creates good-paying middle class jobs – jobs that pay wages that are 50 percent higher than industries that are not export intensive. That is good news for the middle class and the communities they call home.
Properly negotiated and implemented, free trade agreements are good for the Canadian economy. We will carefully consider all trade opportunities currently open to Canada, and explore deeper trade relationships with emerging and established markets, including China and India. We will develop a new export promotion strategy that will help businesses take advantage of new trade agreements.

Question 5: Childcare
Currently, Halton region has a population of more than 500,000 and it is expected to meet mandated growth targets of 780,000 by the year 2031. The Town of Milton continues to be the fastest growing community in Canada and the Greater Toronto Area with a population that increased by 56.6 per cent between 2006 and 2011. The amount of children aged zero to four in Halton has also continued to increase each year, creating a significant need for childcare and early learning programs. For many households, childcare continues to be the second-largest expense after housing. In addition to high fees, there are simply not enough spaces to meet the demand for childcare in the Halton community. As a result, many Halton families continue to struggle to find affordable, quality childcare options for their young children.

How would you and your government ensure that there are more affordable and accessible early learning and childcare spaces available to match Halton’s growing population?

John OliverJohn Oliver – Liberal Party of Canada
Within the first 100 days of being elected, a Liberal government will initiate ministerial meetings with provinces, territories, and Indigenous Peoples to create a new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

This plan will be administered as part of our new social infrastructure investment of nearly $20 billion over the next ten years, and achieved in collaboration with—and in respect of—provincial jurisdiction.

We will not impose pre-determined costs or models on other orders of government, but instead we will work collaboratively with each of them on funding agreements using research, evidence-based policy, and best practices in the delivery of early learning and child care.

Our framework will build on the progress that provinces and territories have made in the absence of federal leadership and allow them to move further in providing more affordable, accessible, inclusive, high-quality child care and early learning, which considers the diverse needs of all children in Canada.

In addition to this child care strategy, our new Canada Child Benefit will help families will the high costs of raising their children. With the Canada Child Benefit, nine out of ten Canadian families will receive more than under the current government’s confusing collection of child benefit programs. For the typical family of four, that means an additional $2,500 in help, tax-free, every year. This benefit could be used to defray the costs of child care.

Because the Canada Child Benefit is tax-free and tied to income, it also provides greater support to those who need help the most: single-parent families and low-income families. Our plan will lift 315,000 Canadian children out of poverty.

Terence Young

Terence Young

Terence Young – Conservative Party of Canada
Conservatives introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), increased the Child Care Expense Deduction and introduced income splitting for families with children.

This year the UCCB was increased to $1,920 per year per child under the age of six, and a new benefit of $720 per year per child aged six through seventeen was introduced. In addition, the Child Care Expense Deduction was increased by $1,000 per child for the 2015 taxation year. This will allow parents, where both parents work, to claim a bigger deduction for childcare expenses when they file their taxes in April 2016. Finally, the Family Tax Cut was introduced for couples with children under 18, allowing income-splitting to reduce federal taxes payable. A typical two-earner family of four will receive tax relief and increased benefits of up to $6,600 in 2015.

All these measures have helped millions of Canadian families by supporting their childcare choices through direct financial support.

Question 6: Municipal Engagement
Halton Region continues to partner with all levels of government to find solutions to the pressing issues facing the Region. Continued dialogue and consultation with all levels of government is required to ensure the Region’s voice is heard on matters that will directly impact the Region and Halton residents.

How will you and your government involve the Region as partners on federal matters that have a direct impact on the Region and Halton residents?

Terence Young

Terence Young

Terence Young – Conservative Party of Canada
Conservative MPs in Halton Region will continue to work with regional and local municipal councils on the issues facing Halton Region.

 

 

 

John Oliver – Liberal Party of Canada
John OliverI understand the need to involve multiple levels of government to resolve some of the pressing issues we face. Canadians should expect their elected representatives to work collaboratively and cooperatively together to find and implement timely solutions.
This collaborative approach is evident throughout the Liberal Party platform, including policies such:

Affordable housing: We will work in partnership with municipalities, provinces and territories to identify how federal lands and buildings could be repurposed to address pressing needs for affordable housing.

Transit infrastructure: Our funding for public transit infrastructure will be flexible to address municipalities’ priorities and requirements.

In addition, the Liberal Party understands that comprehensive, current data is needed to support the decisions made by the Region and all levels of government. We will make Statistics Canada fully independent with a mandate to collect data needed to support good decision-making. We will consult broadly and work with a strengthened Statistics Canada to make available additional data needed by businesses, municipalities, the not-for-profit sector, and the public. This would include more detailed labour market information, child development data, and statistics on natural capital. We will also immediately restore the mandatory long-form census.

Question 7: MP Involvement
As federal matters impacting Halton Region arise, will you follow your party’s line, or will you choose to represent the wishes of your constituents and potentially vote against your party?

John OliverJohn Oliver – Liberal Party of Canada
Upon entering political life, I made a commitment to be the voice of Oakville in Ottawa, not the other way around. I intend to honour that commitment by keeping the channels of communication open with my constituents and key stakeholders in Oakville, and by bringing forward their concerns to Parliament.

Fortunately, the Liberal Party of Canada sees this as an important element of democracy that it will seek to restore. We recognize that Canadians need to have more faith in their government’s honesty and willingness to listen, and they need to believe that the government of Canada is genuinely interested in working with them to solve real problems. As part of our Open Government plan, Justin Trudeau has pledged to allow Liberal MPs to vote freely, except under three conditions: when implementing the Liberal electoral platform; on traditional confidence matters such as the Speech from the Throne; and when addressing the values embodied in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Terence Young

Terence Young

Terence Young – Conservative Party of Canada
Conservative MPs in the House of Commons have a strong record of standing up for their constituents and the people of Halton Region. An analysis by the Globe and Mail (external link) in February 2013 found that Conservative MPs were far more likely than Liberal or NDP MPs to break rank with their own party.

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