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Karina Gould 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 Karina Gould's responses to 2015 Federal Election Questionnaire.

Karina Gould
Burlington - 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?

    The Liberal Party recognizes that a large burden has been placed on municipalities across Canada. Municipalities deliver more than 60 percent of all services to citizens; yet only collect between 8 to 12 percent of every tax dollar. Growing infrastructure needs in Canadian cities are placing local governments under incredible financial pressures. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) estimates that Canadian cities have an existing infrastructure deficit of $171 billion and a future gap of at least $113 billion.

    Canada’s growth was made possible by ambitious infrastructure projects. As a country, we must build ambitiously once again if we want to modernize our transportation systems, create affordable housing, and adapt to a changing climate. Investment in infrastructure is crucial to the long-­‐term development of all communities across the country.

    The Liberal Party plans to redress this issue, by doubling federal funding to infrastructure investment, to $125 billion – from the current $65 billion – over the next decade. This will mean an additional $9.5 billion for infrastructure by year ten. A Liberal government will also make funding more flexible to municipalities’ priorities and requirements, empowering communities across the country to address their most important needs.
  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 real, and we’re starting to experience its effects here in Burlington. The flooding that occurred last summer, impacting over 4,000 homes, is just one example of increasing extreme weather events in our community and across the country. We need a federal government that is prepared to act. Today, the Conservatives have an international reputation as a pariah on the climate file. Locally, our MP has demonstrated no serious commitment or leadership on climate change. He has had nearly a decade to take action on climate change, and has failed to do so.

    The Liberal Party of Canada is thus committed to restoring Canada’s reputation as a leader in environmental management. The provinces and territories recognize the need to act now, and have already begun to price carbon and take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will end the cycle of federal parties – of all stripes – setting arbitrary targets without a real federal-provincial/territorial plan in place.

    We will instead partner with provincial and territorial leaders to develop real climate change solutions, consistent with our international obligations to protect the planet, all while growing our economy.

    As Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau will attend the December 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and within 90 days hold a First Ministers meeting to collaborate on a framework to combat climate change, informed by the best economic and scientific analysis.

    A liberal government is committed to holistic environmental management. This includes: CLEAN JOBS: We will invest in clean technology producers, to support innovation in the use of clean technologies in our natural resource sectors, including the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors.

    ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS: We will restore confidence in government led environmental assessments. Ensuring that there is robust oversight and that decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public’s interest.

    WATER: We will treat our freshwater as a precious resource that deserves protection and careful stewardship. We will work with other orders of government to protect Canada’s freshwater using education, geo-mapping, watershed protection, and investments in the best wastewater treatment technologies. I will be a strong advocate for the Canadian Centre for Inland Waters, a premiere fresh-water research institute located in Burlington.

    OCEANS: We will reinstate the $40 million that Stephen Harper cut from the federal government’s ocean science and monitoring programs. We will restore that funding so that we can protect the health of our fish stocks, monitor contaminants and pollution in our oceans, and support responsible and sustainable aquaculture industries on our coasts.

    NATIONAL PARKS: To protect ecosystems and species at risk, we will invest $25 million each year to develop Canada’s National Parks system, as well as manage and expand National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.

    We will also work with the Ontario government to create the country’s first urban National Park – Rouge National Park – including improved legislation to protect this important ecosystem and guide how the park will be managed.

    A liberal government will be seriously committed to addressing climate change. If we do not act now, we will continue to put our natural habitat, our species, and our own economic future at risk. The Liberal party is offering a sensible, credible approach to the environment and the economy. We will undo the damage done by Harper and and give to our children and grandchildren a country that is even more beautiful, sustainable and prosperous than what we have now.
  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?

    Affordable housing is an issue I have come to understand first hand through my meetings with local co-op boards, social housing units and from people in the community struggling to find affordable accommodation. In the Halton region, we have an oversupply of housing for high earning families, but long wait lists for adults and seniors who need affordable housing.

    Tackling the housing shortage requires collaborative planning between orders of government and sustained funding. We need a federal government that will step up and come up with a national solution that works locally.

    A Liberal government will invest in a National Housing Strategy that makes direct investments in affordable housing, provides tax incentives to expand affordable rental housing, renews the Co- Operative Housing Agreements, improves data collection, reviews policies on housing in high-priced markets, and offers more flexibility for new home buyers.

    A Liberal government will make a historic investment in infrastructure—over $125 billion over the next decade, doubling current investment—including social infrastructure of $6 billion over the next 4 years, amounting to a total of almost $20 billion over the next 10 years.

    Our plan will renew federal leadership in affordable housing, helping to: build more housing units, refurbish existing ones, renew existing co-­‐operative agreements, incentivise rental builds, and provide operational funding support for municipalities.
  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?

    This topic is particularly close to my heart, as a Trade and Investment Specialist and someone who is interested in promoting Canada, and Burlington, as a great place for companies to do business. On a personal level, I believe it is important that the federal government be a true partner for regional economic development and develop a clear strategy for attracting investment, fostering innovation and encouraging expansion of new and existing employers. I would work in collaboration with the Region and the Burlington Economic Development Corporation to see how I can best support their already strong initiatives.

    The Liberal Party of Canada is also firmly committed to economic development, employment for Canada’s youth and innovation. A Liberal government would:

      • Invest $100 million each year in clean technology providers;
      • Invest $200 million each year in a new Innovation Agenda to significantly expand our support for incubators and accelerators, as well as the emerging national network for business innovation and cluster support;
      • Invest an additional $100 million each year in the Industrial Research Assistance Program;
      • Create 40,000 good youth jobs each year for the next three years by investing $300 million more in a renewed Youth Employment Strategy;
      • Invest $40 million each year to help employers create more co-op placements for students in STEM and business programs; and
      • Waive EI premiums for 12 months for employers who hire young Canadians, ages 18-24, in permanent, full-time positions in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

  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?

    Childcare is one of the most important issues among Canadians – and has become an extremely costly burden. Working parents, amid all their pressures, struggle to find adequate child care support and many parents are forced to leave the workforce or make compromises on the level of care their kids are receiving. In fact, one of the first town halls I held in February 2015, was on the topic of childcare for Burlington families.

    A Liberal government recognizes that the future of the Canadian economy and the health of our society depend on our children having the strongest possible start in life. Affordable, high-quality childcare – affordable, accessible, flexible, and inclusive – is essential for the success of middle-class families and the Canadian economy as a whole.

    Within the first 100 days of being elected, a Liberal government will initiate ministerial meetings with provinces, territories, and Indigenous Peoples to create a new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

    We will cancel tax breaks and benefits for the wealthy – including the Universal Child Care Benefit – and introduce a new Canada Child Benefit to give Canadian families more money to raise their kids.

    Under our plan, nine out of ten Canadian families will receive more than under Stephen Harper’s confusing collection of child benefit programs. For the typical family of four, that means an additional $2,500 in help, tax-free, every year.

    Because our Canada Child Benefit is tax-free and tied to income, it also provides greater support to those who need help the most: single-parent families and low-income families. Our plan will lift 315,000 Canadian children out of poverty.
  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?

    As I have done over the past year, meeting with residents in Burlington, meeting with a variety of stakeholder groups in the region as well as representatives on City Council, as Burlington’s Member of Parliament I would consult continuously with the Region and Burlington residents on the issues that impact them.

    I have already held a variety of town halls and roundtables on issues ranging from Climate Change, Affordable Housing, Poverty Reduction, Democratic Reform, Start-ups, the Long Form Census and Seniors’ issues.

    As your MP I would hold biannual town hall meetings, either topic- specific or open ended to keep in touch with residents. Additionally, I will continue to reach out to key stakeholders to inform my understanding of policy issues in Burlington as well as to inform Liberal Party policy. My commitment is to be an effective and strong advocate for my community and - as I say to everyone I meet at the door - the only way I can be successful is to listen to the people in my community.
  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 have chosen to run for the Liberal Party of Canada because I believe the Liberal party’s values, vision and plan are the best for this community and for the country. As a Member of Parliament I will support the platform upon which I am elected.

    That being said, first and foremost, I represent the constituents of Burlington and must be accountable to the people who elect me. If faced with that decision, I will vote in the best interest of my community.