Try the new

David Clement Reponses to 2015 Federal Election Questionnaire

On October 19, 2015 Halton voters will cast their ballot for local Federal candidates. On behalf of Halton residents, Regional Chair Gary Carr has sent a letter and questionnaire to Halton’s candidates asking for their positions on a number of issues of critical importance to Halton Region.

The following are David Clement's responses to 2015 Federal Election Questionnaire.

David Clement
Oakville North-Burlington - Libertarian Party of Canada

  1. 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?

    First off, it needs to be stated that it is upsetting that there is an infrastructure shortfall both locally and regionally. Core infrastructure needs are obviously important, as they often lay the foundation for our economy. That being said, I do not think that local and regional projects are an appropriate use of federal funds. My reasoning for this is that every time the federal government seeks to develop infrastructure locally, it does so by taxing people across Canada to do it. Thus, we literally have people being taxed in Alberta and Newfoundland for road expansion in the Halton Region. I don’t think it’s fair, nor do I think it is right, to move federal dollars around like this. I don’t want to be taxing people across Canada for local projects, and I don’t want to be taxing people in Halton to fund projects in other provinces.

    Local and regional infrastructure projects absolutely have to be funded at the local and provincial level. We need to move away from the idea that we want to expand infrastructure locally, but have other people fund it. If we, as a region and community, want long term investment from government for infrastructure, we should be looking at our members of provincial parliament and municipal councillors for such funding. Focusing on local and regional solutions to local issues ensures that problems are dealt with by those who actually experience the problems, which makes the created policies far more responsive to the needs of residents.
  2. 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?

    Climate change is certainly an issue, and one that the Libertarian Party takes seriously. Our environmental platform involves fundamentally changing the way we deal with environmental damage, by enacting what is called environmental torts. In short, we would use property rights as a means to protect against environmental degradation, where citizens could effectively use the judicial system against those who externalize their pollution/waste.

    That being said, national strategies when it comes to funding local environmental initiatives are often poorly carried out and do not deliver the same results that locally run programs do. Municipal environmental strategies need to be funded and carried out at the local level. This is especially important given the varying concerns that communities have depending on where they are situated in Canada. A Libertarian government would empower local communities to create tailored response programs that meet their specific local needs.
  3. 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?

    The first step to ensuring affordable housing is making sure that Canadian citizens have more money in their pockets. Right now, Canadians pay more in taxes than they do for food, clothing and shelter combined. That is why the Libertarian Party wants to reduce taxes for all Canadians. The process for this is quite simple:

      1. Increase the Basic Exemption by over 50% to $17,300. This automatically means that every Canadian sees a dramatic increase in their tax free earnings
      2. Eliminate all tax credits in exchange for 4, $4,000 tax exemptions (Child, Disability, Senior and Student).
      3. Reduce taxes to a maximum rate of 15%

    In practice, this means that families are immediately keeping more of their hard earned money. The average Oakville family saves over $5,500 per year under this system, and a low income family (under $42,000) would pay no taxes at the federal level. Having citizens keep more of their money is the first step to a more affordable life, and more affordable housing.

    When it comes to a national housing strategy, I think these plans are destined to fail. Regional and local differences across this country make it extremely difficult to make a cohesive national strategy that actually gets the results that are needed. We oppose a national strategy in exchange for local and provincial programs. It should also be noted that whenever a political party talks about increasing funding for certain programs, they ultimately mean increasing taxes on Canadian citizens. The Libertarian Party feels that there are solutions beyond increasing taxes and simply spending more money to try and fix a problem. Our economic plan empowers Canadians, and will help lift thousands upon thousands of Canadians out of poverty.
  4. 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?

    The Libertarian platform is by far the strongest platform when it comes to the economy and job creation. The first step in spurring innovation is lowering personal income taxes, corporate taxes, and small business taxes. All three of those are a priority for the Libertarian Party. By continuing to do so, Canada as a whole, and Halton specifically, can continue to be a hot spot for investment and economic development. In today’s global economy, tax rates are a leading factor in a region, or country’s, competitiveness, which is why we want to lower taxes across the board to continue to make Canada more attractive.

    Being globally orientated is a requirement in today’s economic environment. The Libertarian Party is the only party that will end all tariffs on foreign goods. The reasoning behind this is that it will open up Canadian consumers, and Canadian manufacturers, to the world economy. The estimated cost (via higher prices), as a result of tariffs is approximately $7 billion/year. Eliminating tariffs ensures that our economy is open to the world, and encourages the world to open its doors to us. Not only will the Libertarian Party eliminate foreign tariffs, but we will also eliminate all forms of corporate welfare to level the economic playing field. We do not think that Canadians should be taxed, only to have their money be given to large corporations. Furthermore, eliminating corporate welfare means that government is no longer picking winners and losers in the marketplace, which empowers consumers (citizens), and creates a truly competitive market.
  5. 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?

    Much like affordable housing, the key to affordable childcare is ensuring that residents have more money in their pocket. As already mentioned, the Libertarian Party would seek to increase the Basic Exemption to $17,300 from $11,100. This significantly increases every Canadian’s tax free earnings. On top of that, individuals with children would receive an additional $4,000 tax exemption per child. This means that a single parent, with 2 children, would have their first $25,300 in income be tax free at the federal level. As already mentioned above, the average family in Oakville would save approximately $5,500 per year with our tax plan. Along with our additional exemption to accommodate for the cost of childcare and raising children, we have also included a disability exemption of $4,000. This additional exemption ensures that parents have the funds needed to meet the specific needs of their children in an accessible manner.
  6. 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?

    I certainly think that local consultation, both municipal and regional, is very important. At the end of the day, the constituents of the riding are the people that I would be responsible to, so it would be my duty to ensure that local and regional concerns are heard. It should be noted that the Libertarian Party is the only party really dedicated to empowering local forms of government, as opposed to trying to solve local problems from behind a desk in Ottawa. Our policies empower local governments to make decisions that meet the needs of their residents. Simply put, I believe that what this region needs is more Halton based decision making, and less Ottawa based decision making, and that is what I would seek to promote if I were elected. If I were to be elected, I would look to regularly host town hall meetings where residents could meet with me and discuss the issues that they are concerned about.
  7. 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?

    One of the most attractive aspects of running as a Libertarian is that I have the freedom to vote freely in the House of Commons. The Libertarian Party has a policy that allows for MPs to vote freely without the threat of losing their party status. This would allow me to be more responsive to the needs of constituents, which is the core responsibility of an MP.