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Chris Jewell 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 Chris Jewell's responses to 2015 Federal Election Questionnaire.

Chris Jewell
Milton - 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?

    Infrastructure is a massive problem throughout all of Ontario. As our economy continues to deteriorate in Canada, there simply is not enough money to invest into it. This compounds the problem since having a good infrastructure is vital to actually growing the economy.

    This multifaceted problem needs a multifaceted approach. Firstly, we should ask ourselves, why we are spending 5.5 Billion Dollars a year in foreign aid to build infrastructure in third world countries, instead of taking care of our own needs first. When you are on a plane, you are instructed to put on your own oxygen mask first, so that you can actually help those around you. That's why, in the short term, I would like to totally cut foreign aid and see the entirety of the money reinvested into domestic infrastructure projects. This will help stimulate the economy as a whole.

    As mentioned, our crumbling infrastructure is but a symptom of a bigger problem: our crumbling economy. The fact is, in a healthy economy infrastructure does not become a problem due to the fact that businesses lobby for it and in many cases, build it themselves. We need to take steps to fix the entire economy as a whole. How we can do this, is by abolishing all forms of income tax! We will start by scrapping the graduated tax system in favour of a 15% flat tax. In addition we can simplify the tax code and replace all of our tax credits with some pretty simple and effective credits: $4000, per year, for all dependents, for the disabled and for seniors. This will immediately put more money into Canadian's pockets which they can then spend into the economy. It will also stop penalizing success and productivity. It will also allow us to downsize the CRA and reduce their 5.6 Billion a year budget. As our economy begins to recover, and less people become dependent on social programs, we can then make the final step to abolish all forms of income tax.

    Abolishing the income tax will bring back double digit GDP growth to Canada. It will attract investors from around the world as capital gains will also be tax free! The boom we will experience will increase revenues from other forms of tax which will supplement whatever revenue losses we may have incurred from abolishing income taxes.

    Business will also be able to greatly expand, driven by capital investment, and greatly increased consumer spending. Business will naturally need to expand local infrastructure. In fact, there will be so much investment into Canada, that the private sector will inevitably pick up the burden of infrastructure development. In the long run, under this plan, the majority of infrastructure will be developed by the private sector, not the tax payer.

    If we take the steps now to heal the economy, by abolishing the graduated income tax, infrastructure problems will become a thing of the past.
  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 absolute best way to solve the potential problem of carbon emissions is by boosting our economy. We cannot create a vibrant economy with a tax on all production, construction, human activity and life itself. What I am referring to of course is a carbon tax.

    By fixing our economy, research and development will continue to advance. New, cleaner, more innovative solutions will present themselves. The free market and voting with our dollars will solve the problem faster than a tax will. If everyone could afford to drive a Tesla I'm sure they would. I know I would love to be able to do away with our petroleum economy, but only after a viable solution is presented.

    If we had better infrastructure, like highways that weren't grid locked, we could greatly reduce the amount of time cars are stuck on the road, thus reducing carbon emissions. If we actually let corporations fail, like GM or oil companies, instead of bailing them out and giving them corporate welfare, we would see newer, more innovative companies able to enter the market! If we make sure the economy is growing and make sure Canadians have the cash in their pockets they need to actually buy newer and cleaner products, like Tesla cars. Make sure this we have an environment where new businesses can enter the market and provide product we actually want to buy! That's how we fix the issue. However, all of these solutions, which would actually solve the problem and increase our quality of life, will only be possible if we fix our economy.

    By the way, let's just address the fact right now that alternatives to the internal combustion engine are out there and are being suppressed. Does anyone really believe that in 60 years we can go from horses and buggies to landing on the moon but in 100 years we haven't invented anything better than the internal combustion engine? Let the big guys fail who have been actively suppressing alternatives and let the technology patents come back on the market! Let up start companies buy up the patents and watch our entire society change over night!

    I would like everyone reading this to notice I said potential problem. You see, I was once a true believer, to the point I would lecture people about idling their cars. At some point though, I really started to question what we were being told about climate change. After all, since the 1970s we have been inundated with apocalyptic predictions, like, 'there will be a new ice age, or the Mediterranean will be uninhabitable due to heat, or Florida will be underwater, or the poles will be completely ice free by the early 2000s!' There were many dates given for these predictions that have come and gone, and nothing has come true. There are also the scandals, like the University of East Anglia manipulating the raw data to hide the decline. Of course, there is also the financial benefit and hypocrisy those who push the climate change message which I won't bother discussing but can be easily verified. Lastly, there is also the simple fact that the Sun is the main driver of our climate. Changing weather patterns can be easily linked to periods of solar dormancy and activity. I am not denying that climate change exists, but due to the facts I have stated above, I cannot support taxing Canadians for carbon emissions. We simply cannot, in good conscience, levy an economy destroying tax--which will greatly decrease our quality of life--when we simply cannot make an accurate prediction; when we are not even 100% sure what's going on.

    Climate change has also eclipsed real environmental crisis which we are facing. Crisis like the massive deforestation of the Amazon jungle, Fukushima poisoning the pacific ocean and plastic and pharmaceutical contamination of just about every source of water on the planet. Even if you believe carbon dioxide is a pollutant, these issues are much more pressing to the survival of the species. After all, carbon dioxide is the byproduct of all animal life on this planet. In periods of higher carbon dioxide, plants thrived and the deserts were significantly smaller!

    Perhaps you are reading this and saying to yourself, 'but our cities are flooding from the rain! That never happened before!' The answer to this goes back to the infrastructure problem we are facing in Ontario. The sewer system in Toronto, for example, is archaic in many areas. On King st. West, close to Liberty village, the sewers are 100 year old red brick, combination sewers! They are simply not equipped to handle the volume of development in the area. The same can be said for most other municipalities. The infrastructure is severely outdated and just not equipped to handle the modern burden placed upon it. Climate change offers a convenient excuse to many municipalities. Why blame city hall when you can blame climate change.

    To summarize, I am highly sceptical of the science of climate change. I would also like to remind everyone reading this, that human beings are Co2 producing machines. Co2 is a byproduct of cellular respiration. A tax on Co2 will is a tax on breathing itself. Taken to its logical conclusion, you will be taxed on every child you bring into the world, since you are technically increasing your families carbon foot print. A carbon tax is destructive. Economists say, "the power to tax is the power to destroy." My question to you is, when all human activity-- when life itself--produces carbon, what are we trying to destroy?
  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 and assisted housing, is a band aid solution. This problem cannot be fixed with social programs. There are three main reasons that housing is unaffordable and a lack of government support isn't one of them.

    Housing is not affordable because the market is too heavily distorted. Prior to the 1970s, our currency was backed by commodities. This kept inflation in check. In the 1970s, we moved to a purely fiat currency. Instead of a currency reflecting the amount of gold Canada had in its vaults, the currency became backed by nothing! Nothing at all. The way that the currency was created, was by debt. When you go to the bank and take out a new loan, that isn't some kindly banker opening his vault and lending you the cash, it's actually brand new money the bank is crediting to your account! Brand new cash, that you then get to pay back with interest! Of course, since we all need to take out loans, this has greatly increased the money supply causing massive inflation. Not to mention the fact that the trillions of dollars in new money are being dumped directly into the real estate market! This, coupled with massive inflation, is creating a massive, unsustainable housing bubble!

    To put it into perspective, remember that Bare Naked Ladies song, 'If I Had A Million Dollars?' In the 90s that million might have actually bought you a house with a tree fort, a limo, a monkey and all the other stuff listed in the song. Now you will probably be lucky if it gets you the house with the tree fort! If it does, you'll probably be forced to eat Kraft Dinner because you're in debt up to your eyeballs! That just goes to show you how much inflation has impacted on our lives.

    Rather than address the issue, the government has responded by trying to manage the crisis the intervention has simply compounded the problem. To combat rising home ownership costs we placed price controls of rent. This created a problem in the sense that developers simply stopped building rental units, since the price that could be charged from rent was below market value! It actually made rent less affordable by restricting the supply! So how did we deal with the problem that no one can afford rent or buy? We created the 2.2 Billion dollar a year CMHC so that we could all buy houses! We also drove interest rates down to record lows. This created a moral hazard for both banks and borrowers. Banks can now make loans to people who, rightfully, can't afford to pay them back. This is because the CMHC has insured the banks at the expense of tax payers. We have also forced people, who really cannot afford a house, into home ownership by making interest payments incredibly low. Thus, we have come to point we are at, we have massive inflation, a small rental market, and a housing bubble that is absolutely crippling Canadians with debt.

    So how do we fix the situation? We get rid of the CMHC, we get rid of centrally controlled artificially low interest rates, and we reform our currency. Barring that, we can expect life long, multigenerational mortgages and utter misery. There is absolutely no way out of this mess, other than fixing the problems that caused it. The longer we wait, the more painful this is going to be, not just for the poor, but for everyone.
  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 was somewhat addressed in question one. We need to abolish income tax and build infrastructure. We also need to address the other reasons why business has left. We have some of the strictest labour laws and safety laws in the world. We have huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy that entrepreneurs need to overcome to actually open a business. Thanks to the climate change fraud, green energy initiatives have also given us some of the highest electricity costs in the entire developed world.

    Why would you open your manufacturing facility in Halton, when you have to pay millions in electricity and in government mandated fees, when you could move abroad and pay almost nothing?

    I would like to put pressure on the province to scrap things like WSIB, labour laws and green energy. WSIB and the ministry of labour could be easily replaced if employers simply had to buy private insurance. Plus, it would also allow us to greatly cut taxes. This coupled with a return to cheap electricity would entice business to return to our small towns and we would see a massive boom in manufacturing. This, coupled with my answer to question one, would attract international business to set up shop in Ontario and Halton.

    A predatory tax system, extremely expensive electricity, and an extremely intrusive government, are the reasons why manufacturing has left Ontario. If we fix this, business, without a doubt, will return and our economy will boom!
  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?

    Firstly, child care is so expensive because of government licensing and intervention, so more government will not help. Secondly, it's so expensive because our wages have simply not kept pace with inflation.

    If we fix the economy, more parents will be able to afford to stay home if they wish, or have more money in their pocket to pay for child care and the problem goes away. If we continue without making the reforms I have outlined in previous answers, child care will continue to be unaffordable.

    Do you ever notice that when things are run by government the need increases year after year, the government never seems to be able to keep up? Have you ever noticed that the private sector never seems to struggle with keeping up with demand? Every single question asked so far relates to the same issue, of government apparently not being able to solve a problem, or requiring ever further investment in one area or another. Private companies can always keep us supplied with what we need, however governments always struggle to keep up with demand. Maybe, it’s time to look at private sector solutions for problems the government always struggles with.

    Simple answer, let Canadians actually keep their money and fix the economy and they will be able to deal with child care on their own.
  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?

    We would like to work closely with local authorities on issues that have to do with the region. I would have done my best to make sure CN came to the table with the region for guidance on where to build it's hub, before purchasing the land.

    On that note, why do we even wish to encourage governments of various levels to act together? For example, Toronto has repeatedly petitioned the provincial and federal governments for aid with their transit system. The effect of this is to centralize power, for higher levels of government to subsume the responsibilities of lower governments. Why would we wish to centralize power in the hands of the few? Wouldn’t it make more sense to return power to the people? If the federal government had not granted special privileges to private corporations in order to skirt local laws, then we would not even have an issue!

    Libertarians believe in a very minimal federal government with empowered, independent local communities. Therefore, I would do my best to abide by this governing principle.
  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?

    My party is unique in the sense that we do not restrict what candidates can and can't say or do. We are free to vote as we wish on issues as long as we stay true to the principle of non aggression. Therefore, I can say with full confidence that I will vote how residents want me to vote. In addition I also will be voting with my conscience and voting to build the type of community that I and my family want to continue to live in. If, in the very unlikely case that the party would try to prevent me from voting how residents want me to vote, I can promise you, the people who elected me will always come first.