Leading up to next week’s provincial election, My Timmins Now Dot Com circulated a questionnaire to the candidates in the Timmins Riding. Here’s how incumbent New Democrat Gilles Bisson answered:
1 — How would you improve highways in the north, especially during the winter months?
The province has to increase its investments in Northern highways in order to make sure that they meet the standards necessary for the safe transportation of goods and people. In addition, we need to bring winter road maintenance back to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). The privatization by both the conservative and liberal governments have led to winter roads that are at times unpassable and certainly unsafe. We would reverse that by bringing it back into MTO and ensuring that standards are met in order to make our northern highways safer.
2 — Do you think Northlander passenger rail service should be restored before 2025, even on a gradual basis, ramping up to full service?
New Democrats have always supported the need to restore the Northlander. The Ford government promised they would do it in their first term and did not do so. We, the NDP, would restore our full service of the northlander as it is an integral link to transportation in northeastern Ontario.
3 — Gas prices are high everywhere but the north seems to get hit the most, how would you go about changing that?
The NDP has put in place a plan to regulate the price of gas in order to deal with both price gouging as we saw recently with a 25-cent increase and price differentials between northern and southern Ontario. The Ford government’s response is to remove $0.05 off the tax we pay on gas. The problem with that is the gas companies will just make up the difference by increasing it by the same five cents.
4 — Most communities in our region are chronically underserviced by doctors. How would you improve this?
The NDP is committed to increasing the number of doctors for Northern Ontario by 300, including psychiatrists and specialists. We would do that by increasing the amount of seats available at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and insenting already graduating students towards establishing themselves in Northern Ontario.
5 — What will your party do to address rising housing costs in terms of building, ownership and rental?
The NDP would make changes that make the planning and construction of housing easier and less expensive. This would include things like eliminating exclusionary zoning and infilling. We also need to find a way to make it possible for new homeowners to get a loan to purchase a house. In addition, we would build additional not-for-profit housing so as to allow people to be able to rent apartments at a reasonable rate.