NDP responds to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson's 5 election questions
Many Ottawa residents know that Mayor Jim Watson has asked 5 questions of all the major parties regarding issues deemed important to Ottawa City Council. These include: support for the Ottawa River Action Plan (to stop sewage discharges into the Ottawa River); support for the provincial share of the City's Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Plan; support for provincial investment into affordable housing; support for the continual upload of provincial services (like welfare, child care subsidies) better paid by provincial taxes than by local property taxes; support for reforming the arbitration system in dealing with police, fire and paramedic contracts. On June 3rd the New Democratic Party of Ontario, under Andrea Horwath's leadership, responded (see attached), and voters should know the NDP's answers. The NDP has said YES to supporting the Ottawa River Action Plan through providing the province's share (1/3, estimated to be $65 million) towards this important environmental project. The NDP has said YES to providing the province's one-third share of the City's Stage 2 LRT plan. It is unfortunate that PC Leader Tim Hudak has said "no" to this needed plan. The NDP has said YES to increasing funding towards constructing new affordable housing - over $400 million over five years across Ontario. This will mean new affordable housing units in Ottawa to help deal with Ottawa's growing waiting list. The NDP has said YES to continuing with the upload of provincial services initially downloaded by Premier Mike Harris that local property taxpayers have had to foot, on the schedule agreed to by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. It is unfortunate that PC Leader Tim Hudak won't honour that agreement. The NDP has said we will listen on options to change the arbitration system governing police officers, fire and paramedics. This system is in place to avoid strikes in essential services, and must have the confidence of both employers and employees. This needs to be a level playing field - a principle the NDP supports. These NDP commitments to the questions asked by Mayor Watson are both responsive and responsible. They fit within the Plan the NDP have for Ontario - a plan that makes sense.