Flamborough-Glanbrook candidates tackle the issues at Chamber of Commerce debate

News Oct 09, 2015 Flamborough Review

The four candidates vying for the Flamborough-Glanbrook riding fielded questions on everything from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and support for farmers, to election reform and tuition fees, during a debate Oct. 7 at Waterdown District High School.

The event was hosted by the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Executive Director, Arend Kersten, while president Jason Small was tasked with asking questions. The FCC estimated 250-300 people attended the debate.

Questions about the TPP and its impact on farming led off the debate.

Green candidate David Urquhart, a retired steelworker, said the veil of secrecy around the deal is problematic and noted he is concerned about its impacts on environmental regulation.

“It doesn’t create free trade, but it will make things much harder to do – things like implementing a carbon fee,” he said.

NDP candidate Mike DiLivio, an electrician, said the TPP is “a bit of a sticky situation.”

“We haven’t seen it, we haven’t been consulted,” he said. “The only people that have even been part of the process has been the Conservative Party.

DiLivio said the deal would dilute the market for farmers and allow foreign vendors to bring their food here.

“They’re selling our farmers down the road,” he said. “We have quality food here and I’m proud to eat it and drink it.”

Conservative candidate David Sweet, who represented the now-defunct Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale riding since 2006, said the deal is a great opportunity for Canadians.

“There’s 800 million new consumers that our manufacturers, our agricultural sector, our service sector have access to and we’re a trading nation,” he said of the deal. “This is a great opportunity for Canadians, for Canadian business and for growth and prosperity for the future.”

Liberal candidate Jennifer Stebbing, a lawyer, noted the Liberals have not been able to read the deal.

“It’s difficult to say what we’re going to do without having read it,” she said. “The Liberals do support free trade in general, but we believe it needs to be a net benefit for Canadians.

“So our position is we need to review it and we need to debate it in Parliament openly. We also need to discuss it with Canadians and consult with Canadians.”

The candidates were then asked how they would best serve the farmers in the Greenbelt area.

Stebbing said the number one thing the Liberals will do is talk to farmers. She noted members of the agricultural community have a big concern about aging farmers and youth being unable to afford purchase farmland.

“It’s by having a conversation, by actually being at the table with them, that we’re going to take care of them,” she said.

Sweet responded that he has, for the last 12 years, been at every Rockton Fair, every Ancaster Fair and visited the Farm Family of the Year.

“I’m very close to the agricultural community,” he said.

Sweet said he’ll make sure farmers are aware of the opportunities that have – such as those opened up by the TPP.

DiLivio said the NDP has a national food strategy, which includes expanding risk management programs for farmers.

“That means in the volatile markets we’ve had, they’re going to have a little more insurance,” he said.

Meanwhile, Urquhart said the Green Party is in favour of smaller-scale farming and would like to see a move to organic farming at some point.

The candidates were then asked if they would support electoral reform in the form of proportional representation and ranked balloting.

DiLivio said an NDP government would support the implementation of proportional representation.

“I think Canadians are going to have a big enough adjustment dealing with proportional representation . . . we want to make sure we have it in place for the next election,” he said. “After that, if we find it’s not working, we’ll definitely take a good look into ranked balloting.”

Urquhart said the Green Party absolutely supports proportional representation.

Stebbing said the Liberal Party would table legislation to change the entire electoral process within 180 days of being elected.

“We’re actually putting everything on the table – we’re not ruling anything out,” she said. “We’re tabling it within 180 days so that we have the time to properly consult Canadians on the issue, to properly put it to committee and debate it in Parliament.”

Sweet said two provinces have been looking into proportional representation, and had it voted down both times.

“I haven’t had it come up once at the door,” he said of the issue. “I had it once come up all the time I was in office.

“I have not seen any kind of mandate from the people in Flamborough-Glanbrook for that.”

The candidates were then asked what they would do to lower post-secondary tuition costs.

Urquhart said the Green Party plans to phase out tuition over five years.

“It’s not a handout, we see it as an investment,” he said, noting studies show fewer college graduates go to prison, compared to those with a high school education only.

Meanwhile, DiLivio said the NDP will stop charging interest on student loans.

“They’re expensive enough as it is,” he said.

Sweet said the Conservatives will enrich the summer student program so that students can earn money between their classes. As well, he said the party has committed to enriching the Registered Education Savings Plan program.

Stebbing said the Liberals’ education plan would create more co-op placements in universities, as well as increase the amount of student loans and also make repayment more affordable. As well, the plan would increase the number of grants provided.

The candidates were asked how they would contribute to the Flamborough-Glanbrook area.

DiLivio, who lives in upper Stoney Creek and is the only candidate who resides within the riding boundaries, said he enjoys every part of the riding.

Urquhart, a Mountain resident, noted he lived in Glanbrook for six to eight years.

“I’m not really sure what makes me less qualified to represent this area than anyone else, seeing as I’ve been in this area,” he said.

Stebbing said she lives 10 minutes from the riding in rural Burlington, adding she feels more connected to Flamborough-Glanbrook than the riding where she lives.

“I know Flamborough quite well,” she said. “Because of where I live I come to Waterdown more than anywhere else. I spend a lot of time in the riding and that’s why I ended up choosing to run here.”

Sweet said he lives very close to the border of the riding, and stressed that the most important thing for a constituent is that their representative knows their issues, and is ready to advocate for their concerns.

“That’s what I’ve done for the last nine-and-a-half years and what I will continue to do for the new area of Glanbrook.”

To close, the candidates were asked how they would leave their mark in the riding this term.

DiLivio said he would have an open door policy.

“So that I can turn around, listen to you and make sure I can look after your needs,” he said. “It’s very important for us to have a good dialogue.”

He added ensuring there is funding for infrastructure and community buildings is also important.

Sweet said he has a great team and his door is always open.

“We’ve helped people sort out issues with the municipality, with the province, and the federal government,” he said. “That’s the kind of mark that I would like to leave on Flamborough-Glanbrook, that they’d be able to say, ‘I went to my Member of Parliament, I had an issue, he solved my problem.’”

Stebbing said she’d like to make sure she is Flamborough-Glanbrook’s voice in Ottawa.

“Not the government’s voice here,” she said. “To do that, I’m going to talk to every single one of you.

“I’m going to make sure your voice is actually heard by finding out what your voice is, what your problems are, how I can take care of it and be a strong advocate for you in Ottawa.”

Urquhart said the Green Party has a policy of no whipped votes.

“What I want to bring to the table is that your voice is heard in a true democratic fashion,” he said. “Your voice, not the corporate voice.”

Flamborough-Glanbrook candidates tackle the issues at Chamber of Commerce debate

News Oct 09, 2015 Flamborough Review

The four candidates vying for the Flamborough-Glanbrook riding fielded questions on everything from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and support for farmers, to election reform and tuition fees, during a debate Oct. 7 at Waterdown District High School.

The event was hosted by the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Executive Director, Arend Kersten, while president Jason Small was tasked with asking questions. The FCC estimated 250-300 people attended the debate.

Questions about the TPP and its impact on farming led off the debate.

Green candidate David Urquhart, a retired steelworker, said the veil of secrecy around the deal is problematic and noted he is concerned about its impacts on environmental regulation.

“It doesn’t create free trade, but it will make things much harder to do – things like implementing a carbon fee,” he said.

NDP candidate Mike DiLivio, an electrician, said the TPP is “a bit of a sticky situation.”

“We haven’t seen it, we haven’t been consulted,” he said. “The only people that have even been part of the process has been the Conservative Party.

DiLivio said the deal would dilute the market for farmers and allow foreign vendors to bring their food here.

“They’re selling our farmers down the road,” he said. “We have quality food here and I’m proud to eat it and drink it.”

Conservative candidate David Sweet, who represented the now-defunct Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale riding since 2006, said the deal is a great opportunity for Canadians.

“There’s 800 million new consumers that our manufacturers, our agricultural sector, our service sector have access to and we’re a trading nation,” he said of the deal. “This is a great opportunity for Canadians, for Canadian business and for growth and prosperity for the future.”

Liberal candidate Jennifer Stebbing, a lawyer, noted the Liberals have not been able to read the deal.

“It’s difficult to say what we’re going to do without having read it,” she said. “The Liberals do support free trade in general, but we believe it needs to be a net benefit for Canadians.

“So our position is we need to review it and we need to debate it in Parliament openly. We also need to discuss it with Canadians and consult with Canadians.”

The candidates were then asked how they would best serve the farmers in the Greenbelt area.

Stebbing said the number one thing the Liberals will do is talk to farmers. She noted members of the agricultural community have a big concern about aging farmers and youth being unable to afford purchase farmland.

“It’s by having a conversation, by actually being at the table with them, that we’re going to take care of them,” she said.

Sweet responded that he has, for the last 12 years, been at every Rockton Fair, every Ancaster Fair and visited the Farm Family of the Year.

“I’m very close to the agricultural community,” he said.

Sweet said he’ll make sure farmers are aware of the opportunities that have – such as those opened up by the TPP.

DiLivio said the NDP has a national food strategy, which includes expanding risk management programs for farmers.

“That means in the volatile markets we’ve had, they’re going to have a little more insurance,” he said.

Meanwhile, Urquhart said the Green Party is in favour of smaller-scale farming and would like to see a move to organic farming at some point.

The candidates were then asked if they would support electoral reform in the form of proportional representation and ranked balloting.

DiLivio said an NDP government would support the implementation of proportional representation.

“I think Canadians are going to have a big enough adjustment dealing with proportional representation . . . we want to make sure we have it in place for the next election,” he said. “After that, if we find it’s not working, we’ll definitely take a good look into ranked balloting.”

Urquhart said the Green Party absolutely supports proportional representation.

Stebbing said the Liberal Party would table legislation to change the entire electoral process within 180 days of being elected.

“We’re actually putting everything on the table – we’re not ruling anything out,” she said. “We’re tabling it within 180 days so that we have the time to properly consult Canadians on the issue, to properly put it to committee and debate it in Parliament.”

Sweet said two provinces have been looking into proportional representation, and had it voted down both times.

“I haven’t had it come up once at the door,” he said of the issue. “I had it once come up all the time I was in office.

“I have not seen any kind of mandate from the people in Flamborough-Glanbrook for that.”

The candidates were then asked what they would do to lower post-secondary tuition costs.

Urquhart said the Green Party plans to phase out tuition over five years.

“It’s not a handout, we see it as an investment,” he said, noting studies show fewer college graduates go to prison, compared to those with a high school education only.

Meanwhile, DiLivio said the NDP will stop charging interest on student loans.

“They’re expensive enough as it is,” he said.

Sweet said the Conservatives will enrich the summer student program so that students can earn money between their classes. As well, he said the party has committed to enriching the Registered Education Savings Plan program.

Stebbing said the Liberals’ education plan would create more co-op placements in universities, as well as increase the amount of student loans and also make repayment more affordable. As well, the plan would increase the number of grants provided.

The candidates were asked how they would contribute to the Flamborough-Glanbrook area.

DiLivio, who lives in upper Stoney Creek and is the only candidate who resides within the riding boundaries, said he enjoys every part of the riding.

Urquhart, a Mountain resident, noted he lived in Glanbrook for six to eight years.

“I’m not really sure what makes me less qualified to represent this area than anyone else, seeing as I’ve been in this area,” he said.

Stebbing said she lives 10 minutes from the riding in rural Burlington, adding she feels more connected to Flamborough-Glanbrook than the riding where she lives.

“I know Flamborough quite well,” she said. “Because of where I live I come to Waterdown more than anywhere else. I spend a lot of time in the riding and that’s why I ended up choosing to run here.”

Sweet said he lives very close to the border of the riding, and stressed that the most important thing for a constituent is that their representative knows their issues, and is ready to advocate for their concerns.

“That’s what I’ve done for the last nine-and-a-half years and what I will continue to do for the new area of Glanbrook.”

To close, the candidates were asked how they would leave their mark in the riding this term.

DiLivio said he would have an open door policy.

“So that I can turn around, listen to you and make sure I can look after your needs,” he said. “It’s very important for us to have a good dialogue.”

He added ensuring there is funding for infrastructure and community buildings is also important.

Sweet said he has a great team and his door is always open.

“We’ve helped people sort out issues with the municipality, with the province, and the federal government,” he said. “That’s the kind of mark that I would like to leave on Flamborough-Glanbrook, that they’d be able to say, ‘I went to my Member of Parliament, I had an issue, he solved my problem.’”

Stebbing said she’d like to make sure she is Flamborough-Glanbrook’s voice in Ottawa.

“Not the government’s voice here,” she said. “To do that, I’m going to talk to every single one of you.

“I’m going to make sure your voice is actually heard by finding out what your voice is, what your problems are, how I can take care of it and be a strong advocate for you in Ottawa.”

Urquhart said the Green Party has a policy of no whipped votes.

“What I want to bring to the table is that your voice is heard in a true democratic fashion,” he said. “Your voice, not the corporate voice.”

Flamborough-Glanbrook candidates tackle the issues at Chamber of Commerce debate

News Oct 09, 2015 Flamborough Review

The four candidates vying for the Flamborough-Glanbrook riding fielded questions on everything from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and support for farmers, to election reform and tuition fees, during a debate Oct. 7 at Waterdown District High School.

The event was hosted by the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Executive Director, Arend Kersten, while president Jason Small was tasked with asking questions. The FCC estimated 250-300 people attended the debate.

Questions about the TPP and its impact on farming led off the debate.

Green candidate David Urquhart, a retired steelworker, said the veil of secrecy around the deal is problematic and noted he is concerned about its impacts on environmental regulation.

“It doesn’t create free trade, but it will make things much harder to do – things like implementing a carbon fee,” he said.

NDP candidate Mike DiLivio, an electrician, said the TPP is “a bit of a sticky situation.”

“We haven’t seen it, we haven’t been consulted,” he said. “The only people that have even been part of the process has been the Conservative Party.

DiLivio said the deal would dilute the market for farmers and allow foreign vendors to bring their food here.

“They’re selling our farmers down the road,” he said. “We have quality food here and I’m proud to eat it and drink it.”

Conservative candidate David Sweet, who represented the now-defunct Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale riding since 2006, said the deal is a great opportunity for Canadians.

“There’s 800 million new consumers that our manufacturers, our agricultural sector, our service sector have access to and we’re a trading nation,” he said of the deal. “This is a great opportunity for Canadians, for Canadian business and for growth and prosperity for the future.”

Liberal candidate Jennifer Stebbing, a lawyer, noted the Liberals have not been able to read the deal.

“It’s difficult to say what we’re going to do without having read it,” she said. “The Liberals do support free trade in general, but we believe it needs to be a net benefit for Canadians.

“So our position is we need to review it and we need to debate it in Parliament openly. We also need to discuss it with Canadians and consult with Canadians.”

The candidates were then asked how they would best serve the farmers in the Greenbelt area.

Stebbing said the number one thing the Liberals will do is talk to farmers. She noted members of the agricultural community have a big concern about aging farmers and youth being unable to afford purchase farmland.

“It’s by having a conversation, by actually being at the table with them, that we’re going to take care of them,” she said.

Sweet responded that he has, for the last 12 years, been at every Rockton Fair, every Ancaster Fair and visited the Farm Family of the Year.

“I’m very close to the agricultural community,” he said.

Sweet said he’ll make sure farmers are aware of the opportunities that have – such as those opened up by the TPP.

DiLivio said the NDP has a national food strategy, which includes expanding risk management programs for farmers.

“That means in the volatile markets we’ve had, they’re going to have a little more insurance,” he said.

Meanwhile, Urquhart said the Green Party is in favour of smaller-scale farming and would like to see a move to organic farming at some point.

The candidates were then asked if they would support electoral reform in the form of proportional representation and ranked balloting.

DiLivio said an NDP government would support the implementation of proportional representation.

“I think Canadians are going to have a big enough adjustment dealing with proportional representation . . . we want to make sure we have it in place for the next election,” he said. “After that, if we find it’s not working, we’ll definitely take a good look into ranked balloting.”

Urquhart said the Green Party absolutely supports proportional representation.

Stebbing said the Liberal Party would table legislation to change the entire electoral process within 180 days of being elected.

“We’re actually putting everything on the table – we’re not ruling anything out,” she said. “We’re tabling it within 180 days so that we have the time to properly consult Canadians on the issue, to properly put it to committee and debate it in Parliament.”

Sweet said two provinces have been looking into proportional representation, and had it voted down both times.

“I haven’t had it come up once at the door,” he said of the issue. “I had it once come up all the time I was in office.

“I have not seen any kind of mandate from the people in Flamborough-Glanbrook for that.”

The candidates were then asked what they would do to lower post-secondary tuition costs.

Urquhart said the Green Party plans to phase out tuition over five years.

“It’s not a handout, we see it as an investment,” he said, noting studies show fewer college graduates go to prison, compared to those with a high school education only.

Meanwhile, DiLivio said the NDP will stop charging interest on student loans.

“They’re expensive enough as it is,” he said.

Sweet said the Conservatives will enrich the summer student program so that students can earn money between their classes. As well, he said the party has committed to enriching the Registered Education Savings Plan program.

Stebbing said the Liberals’ education plan would create more co-op placements in universities, as well as increase the amount of student loans and also make repayment more affordable. As well, the plan would increase the number of grants provided.

The candidates were asked how they would contribute to the Flamborough-Glanbrook area.

DiLivio, who lives in upper Stoney Creek and is the only candidate who resides within the riding boundaries, said he enjoys every part of the riding.

Urquhart, a Mountain resident, noted he lived in Glanbrook for six to eight years.

“I’m not really sure what makes me less qualified to represent this area than anyone else, seeing as I’ve been in this area,” he said.

Stebbing said she lives 10 minutes from the riding in rural Burlington, adding she feels more connected to Flamborough-Glanbrook than the riding where she lives.

“I know Flamborough quite well,” she said. “Because of where I live I come to Waterdown more than anywhere else. I spend a lot of time in the riding and that’s why I ended up choosing to run here.”

Sweet said he lives very close to the border of the riding, and stressed that the most important thing for a constituent is that their representative knows their issues, and is ready to advocate for their concerns.

“That’s what I’ve done for the last nine-and-a-half years and what I will continue to do for the new area of Glanbrook.”

To close, the candidates were asked how they would leave their mark in the riding this term.

DiLivio said he would have an open door policy.

“So that I can turn around, listen to you and make sure I can look after your needs,” he said. “It’s very important for us to have a good dialogue.”

He added ensuring there is funding for infrastructure and community buildings is also important.

Sweet said he has a great team and his door is always open.

“We’ve helped people sort out issues with the municipality, with the province, and the federal government,” he said. “That’s the kind of mark that I would like to leave on Flamborough-Glanbrook, that they’d be able to say, ‘I went to my Member of Parliament, I had an issue, he solved my problem.’”

Stebbing said she’d like to make sure she is Flamborough-Glanbrook’s voice in Ottawa.

“Not the government’s voice here,” she said. “To do that, I’m going to talk to every single one of you.

“I’m going to make sure your voice is actually heard by finding out what your voice is, what your problems are, how I can take care of it and be a strong advocate for you in Ottawa.”

Urquhart said the Green Party has a policy of no whipped votes.

“What I want to bring to the table is that your voice is heard in a true democratic fashion,” he said. “Your voice, not the corporate voice.”