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Where the contenders stand in Vaughan riding

From left to right: Green Party candidate Adrian Visentin, Liberal incumbent Maurizio Bevilacqua, NDP candidate Vicky Wilkin, and Conservative candidate Richard Lorello.

With the federal election scheduled for Oct. 14, Vaughan Today caught up with Vaughan candidates from the Conservatives, Liberals and Greens to get their take on some of the issues facing voters.

Here’s their take on our questions.

What should the federal government do to help Vaughan financially?

Adrian Visentin, Green: I believe in a hand-up not a hand-out approach. Federal government can help out with infrastructure in a big way. We need more transit and a holistic approach to transportation.

Maurizio Bevilacqua, Liberal: Our infrastructure program — the seven-year, $70-billion program — will benefit Vaughan a great deal. But what’s really also important is to provide tax cuts and services to the residents.

Vicky Wilkin, NDP: Wilkin did not respond to questions by press time. These answers are from general NDP literature. The NDP favours using money earmarked for corporate tax cuts for infrastructure and public housing.

Richard Lorello, Conservative: Investing $700 million to bring the subway up to Jane and Hwy. 7. Of course there’s always more that can be done. In Vaughan there are no federal services and that’s what I’m hoping to change.

What should the federal government be doing to better help new immigrants integrate into Canadian society?

AV: We ask immigrants to come here, so it’s our duty to help them integrate and acclimatize to Canada — through language, culture and employment. Education is key. Immigrants need to know that their children have an equal opportunity.

MB: We have to fix the system. The system itself is broken and we’re investing $400 million in that. And then one of the largest barriers that immigrants face is of course language issues and we’re investing $200 million in that.

VW: The New Democrats plan to improve the immigration system to ensure fairness, boost productivity and recognize foreign professionals.

RL: We have cut the tax on immigrants in half from $975 to $490. So a family of four now is going to save almost $2000 in fees, plus we invested $1.4 billion for settlement services, which the Liberal government had frozen.

What is the best way to stimulate economic growth in Vaughan?

AV: We need to get out of this addiction to economic growth. If you concentrate on growth, you’ll get a boom-bust scenario. We need to go forward with stabilizing our economy and attract businesses that will be viable in the green economy and relevant in the future.

MB: Have the fiscal discipline that we demonstrated when we were in government — pay down the national debt, don’t go into a deficit, lower taxes and invest in key strategic areas of human resources to maximize the potential of the citizens in Vaughan.

VW: The NDP supports strong investment in training and infrastructure, as well as businesses that create jobs and foster innovations.

RL: We’ve introduced $21 billion in tax cuts this year alone, and that’s by way of income tax cuts and GST cuts, business tax cuts, and that all goes into stimulating the economy here in Vaughan and across the country.

What do you see is the most important issue for your constituents?

AV: Health. The link between your environment, chemical in foods and health is being made clearer every day. We want to solve the problem from both ends.

MB: The economy. It needs experienced management and individuals that have a deep understanding of it. That is why, at this point in time, experience really matters.

VW: Unknown.

RL: The issue that comes up over and over again is the lack of healthcare services.

What should the federal government do to ensure better transportation in the GTA?

AV: This requires the province too. We must concentrate on building liveable cities, where you can walk, cycle and travel by car and rail. Infrastructure is key to a solid economy. The Green Party is proposing a boost in infrastructure, paid for by a 1 percent increase in GST.

MB: Recognize cities more. The infrastructure program creates a better relationship with cities. We have actually initiated programs that have meant millions of dollars for cities like Vaughan, and our new program, the $70 billion over (seven) years, will also help the cities agenda.

VW: The NDP wants to fund transit by dedicating a percentage of the federal excise tax to public transportation.

RL: By investing in projects, like the subway and other public transit initiatives. Also, the gas tax funding to municipalities has been made permanent, so municipalities can count on it for stable funding.

Vaughan Today
In print: September 26, 2008, page 2
Online: September 29, 2008 [link]
Byline: Alexis Dobranowski and Philip Alves