Don Trant 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 Don Trant's responses to 2015 Federal Election Questionnaire.

Don Trant
Wellington-Halton Hills - Liberal 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?


    Liberal Policy on Infrastructure Funding

    Stephen Harper’s record over the last ten years is one of wasted opportunity and decline. Harper has the worst economic growth record of any Canadian Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett in the depths of the Great Depression. Our economy shrunk in each of the first two quarters of this year, and the Bank of Canada says that Canada is the only G7 country in recession. Moreover, he is doing nothing to help our economy and country adapt to climate change.

    Investing in infrastructure is vital to creating middle class jobs today and sustained economic growth for years to come.

    A Liberal government will:

      • Almost double federal infrastructure investment to nearly $125 billion - from $65 billion - over ten years, the largest investment in infrastructure in Canadian history.
      • Provide provinces, territories and municipalities with an unprecedented level of long-term predictability in funding in three distinct eligibility areas:
        • Social Infrastructure
          • Boost investment in social infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years.
          • Prioritize investment in affordable housing and seniors facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure.
          • Renew federal leadership in affordable housing, help build more housing units, refurbish existing ones, renew existing co-operative agreements and provide operational funding support for municipalities.
          • Fund the creation of thousands of new child care spaces, enhance their quality and ensure their affordability.
        • Green Infrastructure
          • Increase investment in green infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years and almost $20 billion over ten years.
          • Provide dedicated funding to invest in a broad range of projects, including: local water and waste water facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, clean energy, and clean-up of contaminated sites to facilitate new construction.
          • Based on best science and in partnership with other orders of government support preparation for changing weather patterns, such as: protections against wildfires, improved storm water systems, additional dams and dikes and reinforcement of energy systems in the face of possible ice storms.
        • Public Transit Infrastructure
          • Boost investment in public transit by nearly $6 billion over the next four years and almost $20 billion over ten years - more than triple current federal investment.
          • Funding will be flexible to the requirements of municipalities, in order to maximize the number of transit projects that are built in Canada.
          • Reform and increase the transparency of the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF) by providing clearer project criteria and faster approval processes.
          • The NBCF will prioritize investments in roads, bridges, transportation corridors, ports, and border gateways
          • Establish the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to make it easier - and more affordable - for municipalities to finance needed infrastructure projects.
          • The CIB will issue Green Bonds to make green infrastructure projects such as retrofits of buildings, clean power storage, smart grid technology and renewable energy projects, more attractive to private investors.
          • 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.

  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?


    Liberal Government Investment in Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Prosperity

    Nation-building projects like the CPR, St. Lawrence Seaway and the Trans-Canada Highway, would not have been possible without leadership from the government of Canada. Today new challenges have emerged, central to which are climate change and threats to our water and land. Sadly, during the Harper/Chong decade Canada’s environment has suffered and our infrastructure deficit has increased.

    The Liberal plan will undo the damage done by the Harper / Chong government and ensure that our infrastructure is able to adapt to the new challenges and contribute to our future growth and prosperity.

    A Liberal government will:

      • Partner with the provinces and territories already working to develop a Canadian Energy Strategy. Primary objectives will include Canada’s energy security, energy conservation, and cleaner renewable electric energy.
      • Establish the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to provide low-cost financing to build new infrastructure projects.
      • Through the CIB, issue Green Bonds to make green infrastructure projects such as retrofits of buildings, clean power storage, smart grid technology and renewable energy projects, more attractive to private investors.
      • Work with other orders of government to protect Canada’s freshwater through education, geo-mapping, watershed protection, and infrastructure investments in the best wastewater treatment technologies.
      • Focus investment in green projects including but not limited to:
        • Climate resilient infrastructure
          • Fund retrofitting, construction, replacement, expansion or purchase and installation of infrastructure that will improve environmental performance in municipal, energy, transportation, waste, or water and combinations there of
          • Based on best science and in partnership with other orders of government support preparation for changing weather patterns, such as: protections against wildfires, improved storm water systems, additional dams and dikes and reinforcement of energy systems in the face of possible ice storms.
          • Work with the provinces and territories to develop a coordinated action plan that allows us to better prepare for – and respond to – weather-related emergencies.
        • Local water and wastewater facilities
          • Support water conservation projects including grey water systems, rainwater collection, and fixture replacement programs.
          • Invest in storm water management projects: rainwater collection and reuse, green roofs, rain gardens for bio-retention, infiltration initiatives (such as storm water planters, infiltration tranches, and permeable pavement)
        • Clean energy technologies
          • Help territories and provinces invest in modern grid, power storage, and transmission to ensure a bigger role for clean energy.
          • Support new energy efficient buildings equipped with on-site renewable energy, such as a solar photovoltaic system, a solar thermal system for space and water heating and a wind or biogas system.
          • Invest $300 million per year in clean technology innovation and support of clean technology firms and clean technology exporters
        • Environmental assessment and protection
          • Restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessment by replacing Harper’s changes to environmental oversight
          • Restore The Fisheries Act and Navigable Water Protection Act
          • Reverse the Harper / Chong government’s 2012 budget cuts to Parks Canada
          • Restore $1.5 million in federal funding for fresh water research and make new investments in Canada’s IISD Experimental Lakes Area
        • Action on climate change
          • Meet with provinces and territories to build an emissions reduction agreement with federal targets and incentives
          • Fulfil the G20 commitment to phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry

  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?


    A Liberal government will make it easier for Canadians to find an affordable place to call home.

    Today, one in four Canadian households is paying more than it can afford for housing – or more than the recommended limit of 30 percent of income. One in eight households cannot find affordable housing that is safe, suitable, and well maintained. And far too many Canadians are being priced out of home ownership. This places increased pressure on already crowded rental markets, and on crumbling affordable housing units.

    The Harper / Chong government has refused to take federal leadership on housing, and is even in the process of ending rent-geared-to-income support for co-operatives and other social housing.

    A Liberal government will:

      • Boost investment in social infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years.
      • Renew federal leadership in affordable housing, more housing units, renewal of existing co-operative agreements and operational funding support for municipalities, including support for Housing First initiatives that help homeless Canadians.
      • Prioritize investment in early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure.
      • Increase the new residential rental property rebate on the GST to 100 percent, eliminating all GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing.
      • Provide $125 million per year in tax incentives to increase and substantially renovate the supply of rental housing across Canada.
      • Direct the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the new Canada Infrastructure Bank to provide financing to support construction of new, affordable rental housing for middle- and low-income Canadians.
      • In partnership with municipalities, provinces and territories conduct an inventory of available federal lands and buildings that could be repurposed, at low cost, for affordable housing in communities with a pressing need.
      • Modernize the existing Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) to help more Canadians finance the purchase of a home.
      • Allow Canadians impacted by sudden and significant life changes, to access the HBP and use their RRSP to buy a house without tax penalty.
      • Determine if speculation is driving up the cost of housing, and survey the policy tools that could keep home ownership within reach for more Canadians.
      • Make Statistics Canada fully independent and restore the Long Form Census to ensure data-driven decision making, including on housing.

  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 Liberal Party agrees. More must be done to create jobs and grow the economy.

    Under the Harper / Chong government middle class Canadians have had to work longer and harder just to make ends meet. There are 193,500 fewer jobs for youth today than before the recession, leaving too many young people out of the job market. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) estimates that Canadian cities have an infrastructure deficit of $171 billion which is growing.

    A Liberal government will make the tax system fairer, strengthen the middle class, create jobs and make historic investment in infrastructure to grow Canada’s economy.

    A Liberal government will:

      • Strengthen the middle class
        • Introduce the Canada Child Benefit, which provides more help to low- and middle-income families than the Harper plan, and less for the wealthiest 1% of families. A typical family earning $90,000 per year, will receive $2,500 more tax-free each year, injecting increased consumer demand into the economy.
        • Provide a middle class tax cut, which reduces the personal income tax rate on incomes between $44,701 and $89,401 per year to 20.5 percent from 22 percent. We will give a tax break to over eight million middle class Canadians by asking the top one percent to give a little more.
        • Enhance economic security by expanding access to caregiver benefits, providing more flexible parental leave and fulfilling our obligation to support our veterans.
        • Create 40,000 good youth jobs – including 5,000 youth green jobs – each year for the next three years, by investing $300 million more in the renewed Youth Employment Strategy and $25 million per year in a restored Youth Service Program, to give young Canadians valuable work and life experience, and provide communities with help for much-needed projects.
        • Reduce EI Premiums for business from $2.63 to $2.31.
        • Reduction the small business tax rate to 9%.
      • Make historic investments in infrastructure
        • Almost double federal infrastructure investment to nearly $125 billion - from $65 billion - over ten years, the largest investment in infrastructure in Canadian history and provide provinces, territories and municipalities with an unprecedented level of long-term predictability in funding for:
          • Social Infrastructure:
            • Investment in affordable housing and seniors facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure, more housing units and operational funding support for municipalities.
            • Fund the creation of thousands of new child care spaces, enhance their quality and ensure their affordability.
          • Green Infrastructure:
            • Local water and waste water facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, clean energy, and clean-up of contaminated sites to facilitate new construction as well as preparation for changing weather patterns, with improved storm water systems, additional dams and dikes and reinforcement of energy systems in the face of possible ice storms.
          • Public Transit Infrastructure:
            • Reform of the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF) and establishment of the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and Green Bonds for flexible investments in roads, bridges, transportation corridors, ports, and border gateways and green infrastructure projects such as building retrofits, clean power storage, smart grids and renewable energy projects.

  5. 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?


    A Liberal government will provide Canadians with the help they need now to strengthen their families and communities.

    After a decade in office, it is clear that the Harper / Chong government is out of touch and will not help Canadian families. The NDP talks about Canada’s urgent need for child care, yet their promise is back-loaded, will be delayed for years, and is significantly underfunded.

    A Liberal government will provide support for Canadian families that addressed their multi-faceted needs by putting more money in the pockets of the families who need it most; providing high-quality, affordable, accessible, inclusive child care spaces; and offering greater flexibility for working parents and economic security for women.

    A Liberal government will:

      • Introduce the Canada Child Benefit, which provides more help to low- and middle-income families, and less for wealthy families. This will deliver up to $533 per child per month tax free, and will give more money to 9 out of 10families, than Harper’s taxed plan. This will lift 315,000 children out of poverty.
      • Invest $125 million per year in the economic security of Canadian families through more flexible parental benefits such as the possibility of longer leave – up to 18 months - combined with maternity benefits – at a lower benefit level.
      • Meet with provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities to begin work on a new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework, to deliver affordable, high-quality, flexible, and fully inclusive child care for Canadian families funded through our investments in the social infrastructure plan. This will be administered in collaboration with, and in respect of, provincial jurisdictions.

  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 Liberal Party is committed to fair and open government.

    The Harper / Chong government has grown secretive and closed-off from Canadians. The public interest has never mattered less. And Harper refuses to meet or work with the Premiers.

    Justin Trudeau and a Liberal government are committed to working with the provinces, territories and municipalities to address Canadians’ priorities.

    A Liberal government will:

      • Hold an annual First Ministers’ meeting and actively engage with each Premier
      • Call a federal-provincial meeting to reach a long-term agreement on health care funding
      • Partner with all provinces, territories, workers, and employees to enhance the Canada Pension Plan for future generations
      • Collaborate with the Premiers to address issues relating to Indigenous education, health care, housing, and clean drinking water
      • Work hand-in-hand with the provinces and territories to adapt to the impacts of climate change and set national emissions reduction targets.
      • Provide operational, social, transportation and environmental funding support to municipalities through a historic $125 billion infrastructure investment plan over 10 years

  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?

    A Liberal Government will give my constituents a voice in Ottawa Under Mr. Harper and Mr. Chong, Canadians don’t trust their government because it doesn't trust them. Harper, not trusting his own MPs has concentrated power in the PM office, introduced omnibus bills, weakened committees and limited debate. Mr. Chong may claim to speak against these wrong-headed policies but, according to Maclean’s Magazine, Mr. Chong has voted “out of step” with Harper’s Conservatives only 14 times out of 935 votes. That’s about 1.5%. Mr. Harper is not listening and our interests and aspirations aren’t served.

    Justin Trudeau has a different leadership style and a commitment to fair and open government which empowers MPs. This includes:

      • An open Liberal caucus where my views and those of my constituents will be heard
      • Use of expert Economic, Youth and other committees, made up of caucus members and private citizens, to truly reflect what is in the best interest of Canadians
      • Free votes for me and fellow Liberal MPs on all legislation except the Liberal electoral platform, confidence matters like budgets and values in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
      • Stronger parliamentary committees to review legislation
      • Ending the use of prorogation and omnibus bills
      • Reinstatement of the Long From Census and the use of evidence to drive policy.
      • And I will state my positions and bring a strong voice for my constituents to Ottawa.