The federal election is just around the corner, and many Canadians have yet to decide how to vote.
For all political parties, winning the undecided vote will be key to securing victory on election day. To help undecided students here on campus, as well as those voters living in the riding of Whitby, The Chronicle reached out to all the candidates seeking election. Here are their answers to two short questions.
Each answer has been edited for length only. Interviews were conducted by phone and email.
Can you share one project or plan for the riding of Whitby that you will implement should you be elected?
Pat Perkins – Conservative Party of Canada, incumbent MP: I plan on continuing to work with Durham Region and the Town of Whitby to determine the required infrastructure for our area beyond the highway 407 extension that is already being built.
Celina Caesar-Chavennes – Liberal Party of Canada: The Liberal Party will make a strong investment in infrastructure, social infrastructure especially. [We] will make sure that investment comes back to Whitby in a very strategic way. [Through] leveraging some of our existing infrastructure, including DC, UOIT, the Abilities Centre and Ontario Shores, and creating partnerships with industry to make Whitby a centre of excellence for information, green and health technology.
Craig Cameron – Green Party of Canada: One of the first things I will do upon being elected is hold a series of town hall meetings for all constituents in Whitby. I would help return our democracy to where true constituent representation matters, transparency is a given and cooperation is the key.
Ryan Kelly – New Democratic Party: A plan I have for Whitby as MP – a plan that characterizes my form of representation and sets me apart from my competition – is to be both accessible and transparent. I intend to continue canvassing as our representative. I want to hear the great ideas of our residents and bring Whitby’s ideas to Ottawa, not solely the other way around.
What will you or your party do for students or young people in general in Whitby should you be elected?
Pat Perkins: I think one of the main issues facing post-secondary students is the amount of debt students walk away from school with. Our party has introduced measures that are helping Canadians gain improved access to post-secondary education and the training they require for high-quality jobs. The Conservative Party will help students in Whitby by reducing their financial burden and increasing their employment opportunities.
Celina Cesar-Chavennes: The Liberal Party has a number of great initiatives for young people, especially related to jobs and the trades in particular. We will work with the provinces, territories and post-secondary institutions to expand pre-apprenticeship programs, invest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industries and create job opportunities for young people. This includes 40,000 youth specific jobs in the next three years through annual investment to the youth employment strategy.
Craig Cameron: Greens will create a national Community and Environment Service Corps, which will provide $1 billion/year to municipalities to hire Canadian youth to do work that needs to be done. I would ensure Youth Community and Environmental Service Corps projects are developed in partnership with municipalities and based on local priorities. Young people need hope for a sustainable future and I believe sustainable jobs in a ‘green’ economy are the key to that future. Let’s diversify the economy and let young people lead the way.
Ryan Kelly: I am still rife with student debt. I was fortunate enough to access OSAP, but find it offensive that the government seeks to earn interest from my loans.
The NDP will restore the federal role in making education affordable and accessible. Also, we will ensure interns get the same workplace protections as other workers. Graduates are always asked for ‘experience’ to be competitive for a job once graduated, yet often are not afforded the chance to utilize their skills.
An NDP government will recognize education as ‘the great equalizer’ and work to ensure education is more affordable.
Whitby and Canada go to the polls on October 19th.