Hudak lays out accountability pledge

Hamilton, ON, Canada / AM900 CHML

(Update, June 3)

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is continuing to pound away at the Liberals on accountability.

Hudak says his party would implement an accountability pledge to make sure taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted.

He says all cabinet members would have to sign a binding agreement guaranteeing they will respect taxpayer dollars, reduce red tape and never raise taxes.

Hudak says members who break the pledge would have their pay docked and those who get anywhere near a scandal like the ones seen under the Liberals would be kicked out.

The PC Leader says the pledge is needed in the face of a “dishonest” Liberal government, adding it seems “nobody ever pays a political price” for mismanagement.

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Leaders

Here are the top five issues that Hamilton residents care about the most.

1. Light rail transit

While some local community and business leaders are calling for LRT, others believe the tonic that will help Hamilton’s transit issues is BRT, or bus rapid transit.

City councillors have already voted unanimously in favour of an LRT line from McMaster University to Eastgate Square, as long as the province covers 100 per cent of the estimated 800-million dollar price tag.

Some councillors have since softened their stance on the issue, admitting the city could find creative ways to cover any funding shortfall.

The provincial budget, which was voted down by the opposition and triggered the election, included a 15-billion dollar investment for transit in the GTHA, including “rapid transit” for Hamilton.

Either way, whichever party wins, that’s likely who holds the immediate future of LRT in their hands.

While the Liberals are supporting “rapid transit” in Hamilton, PC Leader Tim Hudak says he is against LRT and the NDP support full capital funding but haven’t provided any details on how they’d pay for it.

2. Infrastructure

This past winter was horrific in more ways than one.

December’s ice storm was followed by long stretches of bitterly cold temperatures in January and February.

In short, Hamilton’s roads took a beating and water mains buckled at an alarming rate.

The problem is, the City is dealing with a 2-billion dollar deficit to fix our roads, bridges, etc.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has also asked the political parties to tackle the province’s growing debt, address the rising cost of electricity and to invest in critical infrastructure.

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne has pledged 29-billion dollars to be spent on roads, bridges and public transit over the next decade.

Hudak is proposing to spend up to $2-billion a year for new projects from a transportation trust.

3. Jobs/Economy

While Hamilton’s unemployment rate remains relatively low compared to Ontario’s other large cities, the economic landscape of the city has drastically changed over the last decade.

“The Ambitious City” is becoming more of a white collar city, with more health care and research jobs becoming available as opposed to the traditional manufacturing opportunities.

As for what the three main party leaders are proposing…

Wynne: promising a 10 year, $2.5-billion jobs and prosperity fund to attract more business to the province.

Hudak: the creation of 1-million jobs in Ontario.

Horwath: create a 10% tax credit for businesses that invest in buildings, machinery and equipment in Ontario

4. Education

The Hamilton Public School Board is undertaking a massive accommodation review process and could ask the provincial government to pay for three new elementary schools while the board closes 11 older schools.

Wynne is promising 11-billion dollars to build new schools and repair older ones across Ontario.

Hudak has also talked about investing in elementary schools while NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has proposed to forgive student debt for doctors in Ontario’s under-serviced communities.

5. Healthcare

Wynne is proposing to invest $11.4-billion over the next 10 years in major hospital expansion or redevelopment projects.

Both Hudak and Horwath have committed to a simplified health care umbrella.

The PC Leader wants to create a single point of accountability for the system, and Horwath wants to do away with the Local Health Integration Networks.

List of candidates in Hamilton & area-:

Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale

Liberal: Ted McMeekin (incumbent)

PC: Donna Skelly

NDP: Alex Johnstone

Hamilton Centre

NDP: Andrea Horwath (incumbent)

Liberal: Donna Tiqui-Shebib

PC: John Vail

Green: Peter Ormond

Hamilton East-Stoney Creek

NDP: Paul Miller (incumbent)

Liberal: Ivan Luksic

PC: David Brown

Green: Greg Zink

Hamilton Mountain

NDP: Monique Taylor (incumbent)

Liberal: Javid Mirza

PC: Albert Marshall

Green: Greg Lenko

Niagara West-Glanbrook

PC: Tim Hudak (incumbent)

Liberal: David Mossey

NDP: Brian McCormack

Green: Basia Krzyzanowski

Burlington

PC: Jane McKenna (incumbent)

Liberal: Eleanor McMahon

NDP: Jan Mowbray

Green: Meredith Cross

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