Federal Election – Keeping the Focus Local

The federal election is now well underway and I want to see important local issues front and centre to ensure our community’s key priorities that requiring federal partnership can be achieved.

Over the last several weeks I have reached out to all local candidates in both the Kingston and the Islands and Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston ridings, the two ridings that represent the City of Kingston.  In my interactions with the candidates I asked them to respond to three questions on important issues in Kingston; the Third Crossing, the future of federal properties in our community and what local priorities requiring federal partnership they will prioritize. 

Here are the questions I posed and the responses from candidates from the riding of Kingston and the Islands. (candidate responses are presented in alphabetical order)

Question 1 – The Third Crossing over the Cataraqui River is an important and much needed infrastructure project for the city of Kingston and the surrounding region. Because of the scale of this project, partnership with the provincial and federal government will be essential. Do you support the construction of the Third Crossing, and if so, tell us about what you would do to help secure the necessary funding to cover 1/3 of the cost (currently estimated at approx. $40 million) of the Third Crossing?

Daniel Beals, NDP One of the key traits of a federal representative must be to engage in consultation and collaboration with municipal representatives to get input on key needs and inform decisions. It is true that I have been hesitant about supporting the Third Crossing in the past due to concerns about the true costs of the project and a lack of transparency from our previous city council. After extensive public consultation at the doors of the city and with current councilors and Mayor Paterson, it is clear to me that this is something the people of Kingston not only want, but need for economic development and connectivity. I also have complete faith in our new City Council to proceed with this project in a transparent and accountable manner. Read the full response here…

Andy Brooke, Conservative I support the construction of the Third Crossing. This is more than an infrastructure project. This is more than transportation needs and traffic flow,
more than a financial consideration, more than an east-west connection – it is about the quality of life of our local citizens and ultimately, this region’s ability to attract and accommodate long-term urban growth for new businesses and industry. Once completed, it will have an economic impact far exceeding the cost. The sustainability of our city’s social and economic health – and that of our region – critically depends on it. Read the full response here…

Mark Gerretsen, Liberal As your next MP I am committed to being a strong advocate of this council priority and to working with you to ensure the best business case is put forward to make federal funding a reality. Part of building a strong proposal involves connecting the dots – leveraging the work this council has already completed, helping the city create the best application that aligns with federal priorities and the program criteria and building relationships with federal officials in Ottawa. I will also actively work with our Member of Provincial Parliament to ensure we’re pressing our respective governments to keep this project at the forefront. Read the full response here…

Nathan Townend, Green Yes, I would support the Third Crossing if it had guaranteed provisions for public and active transportation. As MP I would motion to shift 1% of GST (without raising taxes) for projects and programs in Canadian municipalities who currently carry an unfair financial burden because of the difference between the services they provide (lots!) and the monies they receive (not much!). Read the full response here...

Question 2 – There are a number of federal properties in Kingston the federal government is looking to divest, such as the Marine Museum property and the former Kingston Penitentiary site. If elected as our MP, what role would you play in working with the Kingston community on the future of these important sites?

Daniel Beals, NDP One of the key aspects of these properties is that they are owned by all Canadians, and it is very important to me that their future development and
usage would maintain elements of public ownership and public access. This is
especially important when it comes to waterfront access for all community
members – something that is in limited supply in our city. Read the full response here...

Andy Brooke, Conservative Without pushing a specific project or limiting the dialogue, suffice it to say that we cannot permit this incredible economic opportunity sitting right on the waterfront to be entangled in federal bureaucracy once decommissioning is completed. As an engaged Member of Parliament, I would ensure that once the decommissioning is completed and it is handed over to Canada Lands Company, no entanglement in federal bureaucracy occurs. While there will be challenges since an historical designation makes redevelopment harder; that said, they are not insurmountable.  Read the full response here…

Mark Gerretsen, Liberal KP is a historical piece of our community full of possibility waiting for a community vision to bring it to life. This site has unlimited potential with many opportunities like expanding the existing sailing activities in Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, creating a world class museum and maintaining public waterfront access (as part of the City’s Waterfront Master Plan). However, we need to ensure any development represents a community driven vision that respects, preserves and compliments the unique characteristics of the site and surrounding area. Read the full response here…

Nathan Townend, Green As MP I would champion the revitalization of Kingston Penitentiary as a distillery district that would include an international sailing centre, deep water dock and space for local restaurateurs, local brewers and local artisans to sell their goods. It would be mixed with sustainable residential development for all income levels. Read the full response here…

Question 3 Many local priorities require federal partnership and participation, such as investment in affordable housing, transit, tourism and economic development. Tell us about your local priorities and about any specific Kingston projects that you plan to focus on as MP.

Daniel Beals, NDP Tom Mulcair and the NDP have announced some excellent initiatives that I believe are the keys move Kingston forward. One of the main priorities I would focus on is national Affordable Housing Strategy and an Affordable Housing Act that recognizes housing as a right. This will ensures federal participation in helping municipalities to build secure, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. This is especially important for
Kingston where we have over 1600 people on the affordable housing waiting list. Read the full response here…

Andy Brooke, Conservative It’ll start with open and non-partisan dialogue. Practical politics undergirded with transparency accountability. As your Member of Parliament, I will meet each month with the Mayor and the Member of Provincial Parliament. Communication – the human connection – is the first key to success. We will endeavor to meet no less than three times a year with community leaders and representatives from private, public and community sectors. Whether this unified approach is the beginning of a “Team Kingston”, or a round table, the labeling makes little difference at this juncture. It will tackle specific growth projects.Read the full response here…

Mark Gerretsen, Liberal First and foremost, if elected as the Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, I am committed to advancing the priorities set out by the cities of Kingston and Frontenac Islands. Aside from those, there are several issues I have worked on over the years that I feel passionately about. Locally those would include building more affordable housing, investing in infrastructure renewal, caring for our seniors and providing new economic opportunities for our young people. Read the full response here…

Nathan Townend, Green The Green Party plans to implement a National Housing Strategy to end homelessness and subsidize private developers to include affordable housing in their projects. We would develop a National Transportation Strategy; re-invest in national rail systems; and increase federal funds to public transit, pedestrian, cycling, and car-sharing infrastructure in towns & cities. We would fund “Green Cities” initiatives to reduce sprawl and conserve energy and water. Read the full response here…

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