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David Laird 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 Laird's responses to 2015 Federal Election Questionnaire.

David Laird

David Laird
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?

    Canada’s municipal infrastructure deficit is $172 billion. This figure continues to rise as the federal government continues to ignore and neglect municipalities. The people of Burlington see the need for better transit and local infrastructure every day. It is the endless congestion on the QEW and 403, our crumbling roads and bridges, and generally our aging infrastructure.

    The NDP will tackle gridlock and cut commute times by investing 1.3 billion annually over 20 years in predictable, stable and transparent funding directly to municipalities for their public transit priorities. We will build and repair local infrastructure like roads and bridges by increasing the direct transfer to municipalities by an additional 1.5 billion annually.

    The NDP will work with Municipalities to invest in public transit and core, local infrastructure. Our plan will create 54,000 new jobs and add 4.5 billion to Canada’s GDP.
  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?

    Our Climate change record is the worst of the world’s wealthiest 27 countries. Weather events are not only becoming more severe, but are increasing in frequency. The Federal government must work with local and regional government to improve the resilience of Burlington to these events. We must work with provinces to reduce the impact climate change is having on all of our communities. The NDP understands that a multidimensional approach that includes regional partners, strong action on the economy, and leadership at the Federal level is needed to tackle this alarming problem.

    The NDP will tackle climate change by transitioning to a green economy. We will kick start our clean energy sector and make investments to insure that we become a global market leader in clean energy.

    We will reduce Canada’s fossil fuel dependency and support energy efficiency and conservation. The NDP will implement a cap and trade system that puts a price on carbon and we will begin to meet our international obligations by seriously rejoining the international discussion on climate change with clear targets to reduce our carbon emissions.
  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 NDP will enact legislation to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. We recognize housing as a right and we are committed to the development of a national housing strategy.

    The NDP will work with municipalities and provinces to restore long term, stable funding to affordable housing. We will renew cooperative housing operating agreements that are set to expire, and we will invest over $2 billion in housing cooperatives and social housing by 2020.

    If I am elected, I will support the creation of a national housing strategy. Poverty is a complex and multidimensional issue. I will support programs that will help alleviate poverty in Burlington and that enable residents of my community to live and work with dignity.
  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?

    Job creation is a critical issue for the NDP. We will create quality jobs that allow families to thrive. Our plan is to encourage economic growth and job creation by providing incentives for the manufacturing sector and for the small business community. To create the right climate for economic growth and job creation, the NDP will cut the small business tax rate from 11 to 9 percent. Small business creates 78% of all private sector jobs in Canada. This cut represents an almost 20 percent tax cut for small business. This change will inject $600 million into small business allowing them to hire employees and make investments that will make more competitive.

    The NDP will also create an Innovative Tax Credit for businesses that invest in machinery, equipment and property used in innovation-boosting research and development. Canadian’s know that in an information economy, research and development is critical to remaining competitive. This plan will save Canadian manufactures that make investments in research and development approximately $40 million each year. This will spur innovation in the business community and allow them to become more competitive in global markets.

    The NDP has committed to extend the Accelerated Capitol Cost Allowance for manufacturing and processing machinery. We believe this will encourage Canadian companies to make investments that will make them more globally competitive. We believe that this initiative will not only attract new investors and increase the exports of Canadian manufacturers but will also create good middle class jobs.
  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?

    With the average cost of childcare rising to more than $1,200 a month per child, childcare is becoming prohibitively expensive for families. This rising cost is creating work-life conflicts for working parents that are costing the Canadian business community $4 billion per year. This heavy cost is being carried predominantly by working women who sacrifice career goals because they cannot find affordable childcare.

    The NDP has committed to working with the provinces to deliver a Canada-wide early childhood education and childcare program. We will create and sustain 1 million childcare spaces throughout Canada at a cost of no more than $15 a day. Since Quebec introduced its affordable childcare program more than 70,000 women have re-entered the workforce. This not only helps strengthen and grow our economy but is a serious step toward addressing gender inequality. I believe that the NDP’s childcare program is not only transformative, but emancipatory for working women.
  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 regularly consults with municipal partners, the provinces, experts, community groups and the community at large when formulating its policies. We will continue to include these groups in our policy discussions and work alongside them as partners in the implementation process. An NDP government will be a stable, reliable and consistent long term partner. We believe that cooperation is a fundamental part of building and sustaining vibrant and healthy communities.
  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 want a government that represents its constituents. I will ensure that I am accessible to members of the community, regularly consult them on issues that affect them, and advocate on their behalf to make sure that their concerns are heard at the highest levels of government.

    I strongly believe that the NDP platform provides the best policies for the city of Burlington. However, if an issue were to arise where the interests of my party are in conflict with the interests of my constituents, I would act to protect the interest of my constituents. First and foremost, I want to be an MP representing Burlington.