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Janice Best 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 Janice Best's responses to 2015 Federal Election Questionnaire.

Janice Best

Janice Best
Oakville North-Burlington - New Democratic Party

  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?

    The NDP is committed to supporting the infrastructure priorities of provinces and municipalities. We also share an interest in having a high quality and productive transportation system, based on improving commute times for residents and ensuring the efficient movement of goods throughout the entire region. That’s why Tom Mulcair has proposed to substantially increase transfers to municipalities for core infrastructure and transit projects.

    Increasing existing transfers by $1.5 billion annually for core infrastructure and $1.3 billion annually for public transit by the end of our first mandate will provide, predictable, dedicated federal funding for important projects in the years to come. We are the only federal party to present a plan to adequately fund both local infrastructure and public transit.

    We are also committed to funding important provincial and municipal infrastructure projects through the $14 billion New Building Canada Fund where provinces submit their priority projects. We will be a collaborative federal partner in that process.
  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?

    The NDP will invest in targeted sustainable development priorities over the next four years to tackle climate change and adapt our communities in partnership with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous governments. This funding will invest in provincial, territorial and municipal home energy programs to retrofit 50,000 homes and 15,000 apartment units to lower energy bills and create thousands of jobs ($200 million over 4 years). We will invest in the Green Municipal Fund through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to support sustainable development pilot projects, including energy efficiency, energy recovery, and transition to cleaner fuel for municipal transit ($150 million over 4 years). The NDP will also create targets for the electrification of federal vehicle fleets and strengthen Canada’s green procurement policy to reduce long-term fuel and maintenance costs, including the installation of 150 electric car charging stations on federal properties across Canada.
  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?

    An NDP government will enact the Affordable Housing Act, a bill that recognizes housing as a right and calls for the development of a national housing strategy. We will work with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous communities to implement that strategy. Our commitment includes an increase to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, as well as indexing the funding to inflation. We will continue to support the proven approach of Housing First, while also ensuring that the full range of services necessary for support and prevention are also eligible for funding. By increasing the stock of affordable housing and placing emphasis within our affordable housing strategy on vulnerable populations, we also hope to reduce the number of Canadians who are at risk of becoming homeless.

    We will sustain investment in Canada’s affordable housing agreements, and provide incentives for the construction of 10,000 affordable and market rental housing units. The NDP is committed to renewing co-operative agreements that are set to expire and invest over $2 billion in co-ops and social housing by 2020.
  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?

    An NDP government lead by Tom Mulcair will do a better job of showcasing local economic strength and we will show leadership in trade missions. We will highlight the strengths and potential of our communities. The NDP regards international trade as a cornerstone of Canada’s future economic growth and prosperity. With over 60% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product being trade-related, diversifying and deepening our trade relationships is a priority for the NDP. New Democrats believe that the Government of Canada should aspire to transparency and accountability in trade negotiations. Regrettably, the Conservative government has failed to engage in meaningful consultations with many key actors in Canadian society and left Parliament completely in the dark throughout agreements such as the CETA and the TPP negotiations. Canadians have a right to know how trade policies are being negotiated, and Parliamentarians have a duty to defend the public’s interests.
  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?

    Too many parents, mothers in particular, are sacrificing career goals because they cannot find affordable care. Tom Mulcair and the NDP are committed to delivering a Canada-wide early childhood education and childcare program. We will create or maintain a million quality childcare spaces in Canada – where parents pay no more than $15 a day – including 60,000 spaces in the first year. Studies show that for every dollar invested in childcare, our economy grows by $2. A national childcare program could generate more than $3 billion for the federal government through additional revenues and reduced costs. By helping more women return to the workforce, we will generate billions of new dollars for our economy.
  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?

    The NDP will have a Minister of Urban Affairs to make sure that the views of Cities like Burlington and Towns like Oakville are heard at the cabinet table. In addition we will respect local priorities for infrastructure by increasing transfers instead of complicated applications and political interference from the Federal Government in local decision-making. We will have better consultation for important development projects, be it pipelines, airport, rail or port developments. An NDP Government lead by Tom Mulcair will include local leadership on issues like climate change – better public transit and sustainable development.
  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?

    I chose to run for the NDP because I believe in what the NDP stands for. It is a party of integrity and the core values that determine the NDP position are values that I share. If I am elected, the people will have chosen me to represent them based on the values that I and the NDP share. I do not anticipate that we will be at odds with the NDP’s position on legislation, but I will ensure every vote is fully considered and reflects the values of my constituents, myself, the region and the federal NDP.