By Sabrina Almeida
Inscribed on his bus is Doug Ford’s campaign slogan, “For The People.” The Ontario PC leader promises to reduce hydro rates, lower taxes, create jobs, reduce hospital wait times and restore accountability if he is elected premier. In an interview with Can-India News on Monday morning, Ford discussed the changes he would make to “put more money in the taxpayer’s pocket”. Here are the excerpts.
What is your plan for bring about change in Ontario?
We have a great plan for the people of Ontario and will be releasing our priorities piece by piece over the next few weeks. Today, I will be making an announcement of how I plan toput money back into people’s pockets and make life more affordable for them. (It is time) to get our fiscal house in order.
Ford later announced that under a PC government, anybody who earns minimum wage will pay zero provincial income tax.
How do respond to the Liberal’s allegation that you will cut back 40,000 jobs?
As I said to Kathleen Wynne, I will make a deal with her. If she stops telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about her. The Liberals have spent the last 15 years raising taxes and making life more difficult and unaffordable. We will look at lowering taxes and hydro rates not just for the people but also small businesses which will relieve the burden. The number one issue right now is hydro bills and we are going to address that. We have the highest hydro rates in North America.
What is your position on the minimum wage hike?
Small businesses have been burdened by mountains of red tape, expensive hydro bills and high taxes. Then on top of that the Liberals made a political position to raise the minimum wage. My heart goes out to the people trying to make a living on minimum wage. That is a real challenge and I have a plan to address that. But let me be very clear that we need to help our businesses grow and not hurt them with Bill 148. In the coming weeks, we will roll out our plan to reduce red tape, lower taxes and hydro rates and make sure that Ontario is always open for business.
On Wednesday, Doug Ford announced the fourth of his five priorities in his ‘Plan For the People of Ontario’ at a small manufacturing facility in Cobourg. He committed that an Ontario PC government will take immediate action to create good jobs by through the measures mentioned above. To help businesses stay competitive with neighbouring jurisdictions, create good paying jobs and attract businesses back to Ontario, the Ontario PCs have pledged to cut corporate income taxes from 11.5% to 10.5% .
You have talked about having a hands-off approach to cannabis once it is legalized. Are you open to giving corner stores a part of the market share?
I have always been open to a fair market but this is new for everyone so we need to consult with our caucus members, law enforcement and most importantly the local communities before we do anything. The Liberals opened one of the stores right by a school, that’s what I wouldn’t do.
You promised to scrap the current sex-education curriculum. What is your plan for introducing a new one?
Yes, it is a contentious issue across Ontario. It doesn’t matter what race or religion you come from. One thing we all agree on is that educating our children is the most important job in the world. This means we need to arm our teachers with a comprehensive practical curriculum. I talked to hundreds of teachers who say they were kept in the dark. The way that the sex-ed curriculum was rolled out was completely unacceptable. More parents should have been consulted. They should have the first voice and final say in what we teach our kids. The Liberal government totally ignored that. They refused their feedback and insight even in Kathleen Wynne’s own area. She never talked to her own constituents. We need some expertise not the Ontario government telling people what their kids should learn. As premier I will make sure that we talk to the parents first. I will always stand up for the parents having the first say when it comes to what their children learn.
We all grew up on the old curriculum, I would put that in place temporarily and make the new one a high priority.
Most politicians view South Asians as a voter bank. How do you plan to tap the economic, social and intellectual potential of this community for the betterment of Ontario?
I don’t like voter groups. I think that the days of groups voting against each other and communities having to stick together are done. No matter what community you come from, you have to be an independent thinker.
South Asians have made important contributions to our economy. We share the same values—respect for strong cultural traditions along with focus on the family, community and hard work. They are politically astute and passionate about giving back.
South Asian candidates should get out there and voice their opinion. South Asians or any other background should have a voice in all three parties. Some may be more than others based on their beliefs.
They need to have a strong voice and freedom of mind. Not one single person who believes they are the leader (but they are not) dictating that they should vote for them. That’s what bothers me the most. They are smart, astute people who should be politically active like they are right now.
I would also like to add that my family is very grateful for the community support— for my dad, brother, nephew and myself— we are forever grateful.
Why should our readers vote for Doug Ford?
I am going to make policies that help them and their families. This government is totally reckless. They have indebted our children, grandchildren for the next 100 years. It’s no different than your household, you can’t spend more than what you take in. They pretend they are taking care of the people but they aren’t.
I am going to lower their hydro rates, create good paying jobs, lower taxes and save the tax payers money. We, the Fords, have the reputation for taking care of the little guy… the people that don’t have a voice. When you call us, we return your calls. There is no politician in the country that gives out their cell number like I do. I spent all day and night returning thousands of calls on every issue there is.
Is this what has inspired your slogan ‘for the people’?
Yes, it is all about ‘for the people’, not the political insiders or establishment. It’s time to turn the page on Kathleen Wynne’s tax grabs and deliver real change that works for you. That’s our plan for Ontario. That’s our plan to put more money in your pocket. – CINEWS