With just two weeks to go until voters head to the polls, local Progressive Conservative candidate Laurie Scott is kicking her campaign into high gear, pushing a platform of continued provincial investment in housing, health care and rural broadband in Haliburton County.
Scott, seeking a sixth term in office, spent last weekend door knocking across the Highlands, where she spoke to voters about her party’s plan to lead Ontario out of the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic into a period of “progress and prosperity”.
She pointed towards several important initiatives the PCs have pushed forward since 2018, indicating she had achieved more in her past term than in any of the previous four.
“Being in government for the past four years we’ve actually been able to accomplish many long overdue projects in the riding,” Scott said. “For Haliburton County specifically, we’ve been able to bring 300 new and 436 upgraded longterm care beds to the riding… And the commitment, with Extendicare, to build a brand new facility in the community is huge.
“We’ve increased our investment in Haliburton Highlands Health Services… Adding money to their budget, and making several capital-related investments. That’s a top-of-mind issue for our residents, so something we will continue to focus on,” Scott added, noting the hospital’s operating budget had seen an increase of approximately 34 per cent since 2017.
She was proud, too, of the improvements that have been made, and will continue, in rural broadband. As minister of infrastructure from June 2019 to 2021, Scott said she spent a lot of time ironing out details to upgrade high-speed internet in the Highlands.
“I have been very, very passionate about improving broadband for a long time. I was the minister when we made a lot of the decisions about investing in bringing high-speed internet to every community in Ontario by 2025. That was a $4 billion investment,” Scott said. “We’re already starting to see some of those towers go up in Haliburton County.”
Addressing the ongoing inflation crisis, Scott said the PCs have already shown a willingness to work with families to reduce household costs. The cancellation, and refunding of license plate renewals, she says, was a good start, while Doug Ford’s ‘Let’s Get It Done’ plan also includes plans to cut the gas tax by 5.7 per cent per litre, and providing qualifying low-income Ontarians with an extra $300 in personal income tax relief per year.
“That’s going to help 1.1 million people in Ontario,” Scott said.
In terms of housing, Scott says the PCs have a plan to build 1.5 million new homes across Ontario over the next 10 years, including in Haliburton County.
“We need workers in Haliburton County and they need a place to live. We need to figure out how to get these places built as fast as we can… We have land, and we need to get to work on every form of housing, whether that be single detached, triplex, duplex or multi-unit,” Scott said.
“We’ve got solutions and we are going to work with our municipal partners to get things moving.”