SOUTH DUNDAS – As part of a continuing series, The Leader is running a weekly question of the week series to help inform readers about the candidates running for the October 21st federal election in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.
All candidates running to be the new Member of Parliament are given the question of the week, and are limited to approximately 225 words for their response.
Only responses received by the deadline given to candidates are published. The Leader has reserved the right to edit responses for journalistic-style and word count. Many of the questions will deal with specific issues in South Dundas, as decided by the editorial staff of the newspaper. Responses are listed by alphabetical order, by last name.
This week’s question: Like many communities, South Dundas has many infrastructure needs. Here, the federal government has a unique responsibility towards those needs due to its involvement with the St. Lawrence-Seaway development 60 plus years ago. If elected MP, what will you do to ensure the federal government acknowledges and fulfills its infrastructure commitments to this community? What can you do to make sure SDSG receives its fair share of resources from the federal government?
Conservative Party of Canada
To be frank, our riding has not received its fair share of infrastructure funding in the past four years under the Liberals. Our country has added $80+ billion in debt, and we have few, if any, projects to show for it locally. In contrast, under a Conservative government, our stimulus spending was timely, temporary, and targeted. Guy Lauzon and regional Minister John Baird made sure we got our fair share. Projects in South Dundas included support for the Iroquois-Morrisburg Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Upper Canada Playhouse, Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary, Morrisburg Curling Club, among many others. I am proud to have a great working relationship with our local municipal Councils. As a former Mayor and Warden of SD&G, I know firsthand the priorities and projects that need federal funding in our community. Having worked for Guy Lauzon, I know the processes to ensure that our voices and priorities in Ottawa are heard and I can hit the ground running on Day 1. Whether it is road improvements in areas impacted by the St. Lawrence-Seaway development, or a community that needs their community centre fixed up, there is no shortage of projects that need attention after four years of not receiving any major federal grants. A Conservative government would ensure that infrastructure spending is balanced and all communities get their fair share, not just the big cities.
Liberal Party of Canada
As a member of the new government I will present the infrastructure needs of the riding. Each community can be assured that I will work diligently to deliver on their infrastructure needs and desires. I have no hesitation in representing these requests in the strongest terms possible and I will not miss any opportunity to promote the interests of Stormont Dundas South Glengarry to the federal cabinet and my colleagues on Parliament Hill. I will work closely with the municipal governments within the riding and the local M.P.P. to ensure that the province will also deliver on its share of infrastructure dollars. I fully understand the need of infrastructure replacement for our roads and bridges and many other areas that will also help create jobs and give us the economic advantage to grow and prosper.
Kelsey Catherine Schmitz
New Democratic Party of Canada
As a university student, I worked at Upper Canada Village as a historical interpreter, where I shared with visitors from all over the world the impacts the creation of the St-Lawrence Seaway had on our region. I am therefore intimately aware of the historical consequences this great infrastructure project had on the communities along the river, and the promises that were made to the people so greatly impacted by its development. The legacy of that promise has not been fulfilled, and we see it in the current issues with infrastructure development. Further, our provincial and federal representatives have failed to enact solutions for improvements that have been a long time coming. There have been suggestions that the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and Ontario Power Generation, who do not currently pay municipal land taxes while owning a large share of land in South Dundas and South Stormont, could be made to start paying their fair share. This would certainly be worth exploring with the townships and province. I prefer the approach of ensuring a fund is created from which a percentage of the profits of both these legacy crown agencies would go into for investment in infrastructure projects in both municipalities. As neither agency would exist without the sacrifice of homes, communities, and rich histories that existed along the St Lawrence before the Seaway’s creation, I believe it is the duty of the federal and provincial governments to ensure this region’s needs are not forgotten, nor is the sacrifice of so many relocated families.
People’s Party of Canada
The St Lawrence Seaway has had a very important impact on our region and also on Canada as a whole. The economic benefits are enormous, as is the quantity of clean electricity produced at the Moses-Saunders hydro-electric dam. These positive impacts were offset by the displacement of local citizens who were relocated to new towns and neighbourhoods. After sixty years have passed, infrastructure in some of these new neighbourhoods is in need of an assessment and upgrade. The People’s Party of Canada will stop foreign aid, except for disaster assistance. Billions of dollars in previous foreign aid expenditures will be used to help Canada improve necessary infrastructure needs and improve the lives of our citizens. If I am elected Member of Parliament, I will insist on a complete review of all original agreements to ensure that all levels of government have adhered to their required infrastructure and social commitments.
Green Party of Canada
No response was received from the candidate by press time.