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David Clement Responses to 2014 Provincial Election Questionnaire

On June 12, 2014 Halton voters will cast their ballot for local Provincial 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 Clement's responses to 2014 Provincial Election Questionnaire.

David Clement
Oakville - Libertarian
website (external)

  1. Halton Region requests that the Provincial Government provide predictable funding to keep Halton moving and deliver on committed projects through the Metrolinx Plan, The Big Move, including all day GO service to Milton and Georgetown, and the electrification of the Lakeshore GO line, to meet the transportation needs of our growing community. What will you and your government do to ensure that Halton’s Metrolinx projects are delivered within the next 5 years?

    The first thing that comes to mind when answering this question is how government, and especially our provincial government, has failed to act in a manner that honours its previous commitments and contracts. The government of Ontario should be meeting its contractual obligations for the region, just as we would expect private citizens to do the same (or pay the agreed upon fine for contract cancellation). That being said, myself, and the Ontario Libertarian Party do not feel that continuing to expand Metrolinx is the answer for meeting the transportation needs of Halton residents. Upon meeting its contractual obligations with the region, a Libertarian government would look to get government out of the business of providing mass transportation. Now, this might sound foreign to some, but policies such as this have been implemented around the world, and with great success. Two examples of this are Hong Kong and Japan. In 2000, the MTR corporation became Hong Kong’s the first private rail company, and is now responsible for giving Hong Kong the most dynamic and efficient rail system in the world. The same happened with Japan, who ended train subsidies in 1987. Because of this, Japan now boasts one of the world’s best high speed rail systems and offers these services more efficiently and at lower prices.
  2. What will your government do to ensure that Halton’s growing communities have the necessary community infrastructure, such as schools and health care facilities, in place to keep pace with the growth?

    As most Halton residents know, our healthcare system is broken, and the possibility of growth could further burden the system and the existing healthcare model. In order to avoid that, the Ontario Libertarian Party is proposing that we flip our current health care model so that the system incentivizes the efficient treatment of patients. This is accomplished by having funding follow the patient. In the current system, hospitals and health care facilities are given their budgets from the province, and every patient they treat pulls resources out of that budget. This makes treating patients a burden, which is not the aim of healthcare provision. By having funding follow the patient, as opposed to being allocated in lump sum form, hospitals will now have incentives to treat patients in a timely manner. This significantly limits the negatives associated with population growth.

    In regards to the infrastructure involved with healthcare provision, the Ontario Libertarian Party proposes two solutions. First, the Ontario Libertarian Party advocates for adding nominal co-pay to clinic and hospital visits. This will give medical facilities the ability to spend much of their resources on patient care, while not having to sacrifice on infrastructural integrity, maintenance or future construction. Part of the problem with the current system is that hospitals often face a choice between patient care and infrastructural maintenance. This solution addresses that.

    The last way in which the healthcare industry can properly accommodate growth is through the legalization of private alternatives. The Ontario Libertarian Party would seek to legalize private medical care in Ontario. There are a few reasons why this is necessary, especially with the prospect of growth for the region. Firstly, this incentivizes innovation, which can significantly bring down healthcare costs in the future. Secondly, this takes some of the burden associated with growth away from the government, and on to businesses and entrepreneurs who enter the health care market. Lastly, this proposal keeps Ontario’s doctors in Ontario, and shortens wait times for those who remain in the public system.

  3. Halton’s school boards receive the lowest per capital funding in the Province and they have recently learned that their operating and capital costs are being cut. Being a growing region, particularly in Milton, Canada’s fastest growing community, funding is urgently needed and without it, we will not be able to keep up with the provincial mandated growth. What will you and your government do to increase Halton’s school board’s funding to enable them to meet their students’ needs?

    Much like the healthcare question above, education is to be treated in the same manner. The Ontario Libertarian Party proposes a directed-tax school model, where parents’ tax dollars follow their children and go to the education systems they choose. This optimizes school choice for parents and promotes healthy upwards progression in education results. The Ontario Libertarian Party also seeks to liberate the Catholic School Board, so that the province is treating all religions equally. Lastly, the Ontario Libertarian Party will seek to partially privatize some of the behind-the-scenes educational services. By restructuring the payment model, growth becomes less of an issue because an increase in school populations means an increase directed-tax decisions, thus ensuring that the needs of the region are met. Liberating the Catholic School Board will work to release the monetary burden of running two nearly identical school boards, which allows for a more efficient system to deal with growth and more appropriately accommodate for operating and capital costs. Partially privatizing behind-the-scenes educational services also releases some financial expenditure, which allows Halton’s school boards to invest their time and resources more so into the provision of education and meeting the ever changing needs of students.
  4. Will your government move forward with Niagara to GTA transportation corridor? If so, will you commit to voting against any option that impacts the Niagara Escarpment?

    This is a very difficult question to answer considering the vast array of variables that are in play. In short, a Libertarian government would not seek to continue the proposed GTA transportation corridor. A Libertarian government would seek to promote the development of transit expansion in the private market, as opposed to taking on this expenditure as a role of government, with public funds. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the province in not in a place to be taking on significant public works projects when the province is already holding over $260 Billion in debt. To put this into perspective, nearly 10 cents of every tax dollar you give to the provincial government goes to paying the interest on that debt. Going ahead with this proposed expansion would further indebt the province and compound the dire situation the province is already in. The second reason why a Libertarian government would not continue this proposal is that more efficient means of solving our transportation needs can be found in the private market, which not only provides more dynamic solutions, but does do without risking public funds.

    Voting against options that impact the Niagara Escarpment sounds like something that is simple in theory and difficult in practice. I say that it is difficult in practice because we haven’t identified what impact means, and to whom the decision would be impacting. What I can promise, in regards to the Niagara Escarpment, is that I will not vote for policies that infringe on the property rights of the Halton residents who reside in that area. Myself and the Ontario Libertarian Party are opposed to the use of government legislation that infringes on the property rights of landowners. Thus, any plan for development, expansion etc will have to be fully aligned with the interests of property owners and not infringe on their property rights.

  5. Halton Region requests funding sources that support the recovery and collection of growth related costs to ensure that Halton’s taxpayers do not bear the financial impacts of growth. What will your government do to ensure this?

    The burdens of growth and be immense, as already discussed. The financial standing of the Halton region is something that should be commended, especially considering the poor fiscal position our provincial government is in. As mentioned above, restructuring the payment models of healthcare and education so that they are patient/student driven can ensure that Halton’s tax payers are not bearing the burden of growth. That, alongside legislation like nominal co-pay, allow for growth, while lightening the tax burden for residents.
  6. Changes to the Development Charges (DC) Act is necessary to recover growth costs, including: include all services funded by a municipality in the Act, remove the 10 per cent discount for all services, replace the 10 year advantage historic service limits with a service level that is forward looking, remove mandatory exemptions. Will your party amend the DC Act to ensure that taxpayers are not burdened with the costs of growth?

    Development Charges represent yet another area where the provincial government is overstepping its boundaries and telling municipalities how they should act in the provision of their essential services. The Ontario Libertarian Party would advocate for amending the Act so that municipalities have as much autonomy as possible regarding the charges needed for growth related capital costs. By giving autonomy back to local (municipal) governments, municipalities can better adjust for growth, in the manner that they see fit, which is far superior than having arbitrary plans directed at municipalities from Queen’s Park.
  7. Halton Region invests $26 million annually to provide assisted housing options for low income residents and we have had an increase of 894 in affordable/assisted housing units since 2007. What long term funding commitments will you and your government make to create real and affordable housing solutions in Halton?

    In order to ensure that there are continued affordable housing options for Halton residents, a Libertarian government would seek to eliminate the barriers that currently exist regarding the provision of affordable housing solutions. Take cooperative housing as a perfect example. Cooperative housing involves a group of residents coming together to pool their funds on a collective mortgage, while keeping rent competitive and affordable. These types of voluntary exchanges should be promoted by government. A Libertarian government would re-evaluate the existing regulations in the Cooperative Corporations Act and eliminate the burdensome restrictions that prevent cooperative housing from being built.
  8. What will you and you government do to deliver long-term, sustainable funding at the expected (agreed upon) levels of cost sharing for Public Health programs and Paramedic Services?

    The Ontario Libertarian Party promotes a significantly smaller provincial government so that the core functions of government, like paramedic services, can be met in an appropriate manner. Instances of provincial shortfalls occur when the provincial government wastes tax payer dollars on things like the Gas Plant scandal. It does not surprise me that the provincial government cannot meet its commitments with the region when the province is attempting to pass budgets with upwards of $11 billion in increased debt. The key to delivering long term cost sharing is creating a lean provincial government that spends less time trying to do everything, and spends more time focusing on its narrow commitments and fulfilling the core functions of government. The Ontario Libertarian Party seeks to provide the type of government who can appropriately handle cost sharing initiatives by refocusing the role of government. This is one example of how the Libertarian Party is drastically different than the other political parties running in this election.
  9. Will you and your government commit to taking immediate action to address offloading delays and enhancements to the Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CACC) to ensure that Halton residents receive the level of Paramedic Services required to meet their needs? If so, how?

    Very similar to my answer for question 8, this shortfall occurs when government spends too much of its time trying to implement policy in realms where the government has no business being involved, while ignoring sectors that fall under the core function of government. A smaller, more efficient government can more accurately meet the needs of Paramedic Services simply be removing the provincial hand from other costly ventures.
  10. Will you and your government honour the 2008 commitment to continue to the upload of social service and court costs until full implementation in 2018?

    Yes. The provincial government should operate in the same way it demands its residents act. Meeting contractual obligations is vital in both the public and private realms. If the government can not meet its contractual obligations, they should pay the agreed upon fine for contract cancellation.
  11. Are you willing to vote against your party’s platform on issues that negatively affect Halton Region?

    This is another question that is easy to commit to in theory, but may be difficult to implement in practice. Unfortunately, the current state of the government means that drastic changes are in order, some of which that may have negative consequences in the short run, not only for Halton residents, but all residents of Ontario. It is important to remember that effective public policy consists of not merely looking at the immediate outcomes, but looking at the longer term effects of said policy. It would be dishonest of me to commit to voting against anything that negatively affects the region given the current state the province is in. What I can commit to is that all policy implemented and advocated by the Ontario Libertarian Party is focused on thinking about all people, in the long run, as opposed to some people in the short run. I firmly believe that this is the appropriate measure as to how public policy should be evaluated. One benefit of having me in Queen’s Park is that I will not be under the same restrictions as some of the other candidates vying for your vote. Members of Provincial Parliament from the traditional political parties are often faced with party discipline and can often be silenced when their views are in opposition to the views of their party. Because I will be an MPP from a non-traditional party, I will be able to more vocally advocate for the region’s needs. Electing me as your representative means that the Oakville riding will have representation willing to speak out on any policy, regardless of which party has put it forward.