Huron-Bruce candidates speak in Holmesville Wednesday

Most of the candidates talk to a crowd in Holemesville outlining platforms leading up to the election on June 2, 2022. (Image by Bob Montgomery)

The Huron County Federation of Agriculture hosted an all-candidates meeting in Holmesville Wednesday.

Candidates for the riding of Huron-Bruce reiterated what their party’s platforms entailed covering a variety of issues.

There are eight people running in the upcoming election on June 2nd.

(Note that the comments below are listed in alphabetical based on last name as per Elections Ontario)

Shelley Blackmore, the candidate for the Ontario Liberal Party, says they have an answer for health care.

“The biggest problem in rural Ontario is that people don’t have access to a family doctor, but nurse practitioners can fill a role too. So we’re saying that we will pay full tuition costs for either nurses or doctors, nurse practitioners who agree to stay and practice in a rural area.”

Blackmore added the increasing price of gas is becoming a serious issue and she would definitely support the shift to electric vehicles.

Laurie Hazzard, the Ontario NDP candidate, says the province has enough money in the bank to completely wipe out the back log of surgeries and tests within the next year and a half.

“I think our biggest problem is that the Ford government is wanting to privatize health care, so Ontario has the lowest funding, the fewest hospital beds and the fewest nurses. So the best way to fix that is increase hospital funding, increase beds and increase the number of nurses and staff.”

Hazzard adds that every doctor and nurse that she’s spoken with has made it very clear that if they had the time and the money to do it, they could clear up that back log easily.

Gerrie Huenemoerder, the Ontario Party candidate, says they would bring back all employees who were fired because they refused the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Never before had people had to disclose, to their employer, anything about their medical status, illnesses, conditions, did they get their measles vaccine, or anything like that. We’ve never had that before. So why do we have it now.”

For Matt Kennedy, candidate for the New Blue party, the issue is prevention in health care.

“But we have such a small focus on keeping people healthy in the first place and a big part of that for the New Blue Party will be providing access to alternative service providers for people who want to go and see a naturopath, for example. Those types of services should be covered under OHIP.”

Kennedy suggests that the people who would go to a naturopath tend to be people who are concerned about their long term health and are looking for early prevention and early treatment and they shouldn’t be punished for that by having to pay for it.

The Independent candidate, Ronald Stephens, talked about business, pointing to several of the big online stores now that are set up in roughly 15 foreign trade zones that are not part of Canada, so they don’t have to pay taxes.

“And some of the local people who own stores, know that all of these small stores are going to be shut down because you’re only going to be able to order digitally from these big guys, right. And that is the destruction of our nation and we can’t allow that to happen.”

Lisa Thompson, the incumbent from the PC Party, and current minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs says if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we should no longer have to depend on other jurisdictions.

“So with that said, the way to move forward and Doug Ford’s vision, is to bring processing and manufacturing back to Ontario, to make it the powerhouse in Canada that it once was and the agri-food industry can play a huge role in that.”

Two other candidates were not at the meeting.

Matthew Van Ankum is the candidate for the Green Party of Ontario and Bruce Eisen is the Alliance candidate.

The election is June 2nd.

Adavance voting begins this weekend and information about where advance polls are, is listed on the voter information cards that are received through the mail.