Barbara Doyle hopes to build on the NDP success of the 2018 provincial election, when the party captured 26.5 per cent of the vote, finishing second locally to the Progressive Conservatives.
“I’m in it to win it,” Doyle said. “I absolutely would like to unseat our incumbent Laurie Scott.”
The director of the Old Gaol Museum in Lindsay added she thinks it’s time for a change in the riding, which has been historically Conservative “with no real measurable changes in improvement and services other than basic normal budgetary issues that go across the board.”
Doyle said the area is changing and growing “and we need to grow with it but we also need to take care of the people who are already here and have been living here for years and not being taken care of in the way they should be.”
She said her goal is to reflect voter viewpoints about the changes and the need for core stability around issues such as housing, health care, educations and day-to-day affordability. She panned the Progressive Conservative budget, saying there is not a lot of support in those sectors. She keys on housing and the high cost of living as major local issues.
The Highlander asked about the province’s role in housing, offering an example of how the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is holding up an affordable housing development along Hwy. 35 in Minden.
“It’s interesting to me that large developers can get MTOs’ push-through really quickly … why are we giving preference to big dollar developers rather than for supportive housing that property would provide for?
She said Bill Switzer was generous in donating the land to Places for People and now it’s just sitting awaiting MTO approval when “we need shovels in the ground right now and infrastructure right now. We have 1,700 new units needed in Haliburton County with housing waitlists of seven to 10 years. That is unacceptable.”
She said the provincial government has to work with municipalities to create supportive housing but has to take the profit out. She added there needs to be action on housing affordability, such as help to make larger down payments for first-time home buyers, rent assistance and rent controls.
Asked by The Highlander about the province funding an expansion of the privately-owned Extendicare Haliburton, Doyle – who co-founded the Kawartha Lakes Health Care Coalition – said although more long-term care beds are needed, “I definitely don’t support for-profit long-term care beds. We have to take the profit out of health care. We have to make sure that nobody is, at the end of the year, worried more about their dividend share than our loves ones.”
The NDP are proposing to phase-out private long-term care facilities within eight years, and provide more and better paid full-time staff. They also want to provide proper supports so more people can age at home. That means more full-time PSWs with a $5 an hour wage increase. They’re looking at caregiver credits, and relieving burdens on municipalities so they don’t tax people out of houses.
Other NDP platform items include an immediate 20 per cent increase for ODSP and OW clients, gradually increasing minimum wage to $20-an-hour, regulating gas prices, reducing Hydro costs, better public transportation and expanding universal health care.
“We’ve learned that when people are supported in their communities, when they are secure in their housing, in their ability to put food on the table, that they have good jobs, the whole community does better. We want to bring our focus back to those core values.”