Earlier this month, CBC Hamilton asked you what election issues matter the most in Hamilton’s provincial election ridings, and almost 900 people have responded.

While it’s by no means an official survey, the results do give us a snapshot as to what issues matter to readers in each riding. CBC Hamilton has taken these results and is using them to shape questions for candidates.

Click on the audio clips below to listen to candidates Albert Marshall, Javid Mirza, Greg Lenko and Monique Taylor square off on living wage, taxes, utility costs, LRT and more.

Some interesting snippets:

  • Green candidate Greg Lenko is the only candidate to support a $15 living wage
  • NDP Candidate Monique Taylor and Lenko both support LRT, while Liberal candidate Javid Mirza wants BRT and all day GO service. PC candidate Albert Marshall doesn't want LRT because not enough people will ride the system to pay for the operating costs, he says.

1. What is the first step your party should take to curb electricity costs in Ontario?

Albert Marshall (PC): “There are people at the top who are making gross sums of money. If they want to make that kind of money, they should get out of government and go into business for themselves.”

Greg Lenko (Green): “The first thing we need to do is not refurbish the nuclear plants – because they are very expensive – and go with something like water, which is a lot less expensive.”

Javid Mirza (Liberal):“When Mike Harris was there, and Tim Hudak, they never took care of the electricity at all – so we had all these brownouts and everything.”

Monique Taylor (NDP): “We have a fully costed-out plan of how we’re going to bring rates down for families.”

2. Is it acceptable to lower taxes at the expense of some social services in Hamilton?

Monique Taylor (NDP): “We’re not talking about lowering taxes, but we’re also not talking about increasing taxes. We think that our services are very important, and in most cases we need increased services.”

Greg Lenko (Green):"If you could lower taxes for citizens and raise them for corporations to offset the costs that way, I think that would be fine.”

Javid Mirza (Liberal): “We are going to be increasing about 2 per cent to the richest Ontarians, which is about 2 per cent of the population that make over $150,000 a year. They are the only ones that are going to be paying a little bit more in taxes.”

Albert Marshall (PC): “Is it really appropriate to take 15 billion dollars of people’s hard earned money and to burn it and waste it?”

3. Should Hamilton’s focus on lowering unemployment rates be bolstering the manufacturing sector or looking to new industries?

Javid Mirza (Liberal): “I think we have to pay attention to small businesses in the city of Hamilton.”

Greg Lenko (Green): “What we want to do is help small businesses hire new staff.”

Albert Marsall (PC): “Bolstering jobs in Hamilton is going to have to be multifaceted.”

Monique Taylor (NDP):“I think we definitely need to be doing both – we have a new wave of employment coming through the city where it comes to education and health.”

4. Should Hamilton adopt a living wage policy at around $15 an hour?

Greg Lenko (Green): “Without a doubt. No question in my mind.”

Albert Marshall (PC): “You’ve asked me a question about living wage – I’d ask a question about a right to work.”

Javid Mirza (Liberal): “We have introduced a living wage policy which is at $11 an hour.”

Monique Taylor (NDP): “We said we would increase it to $12 an hour.”

5. What infrastructure improvements do you want to see your party commit to in Hamilton?

Albert Marshall (PC): “The problem with LRT is that even if the province pays the whole bill, who’s going to pay the operating costs? We all know there won’t be enough people on that transit to pay the operating costs.”

Monique Taylor (NDP): “We’ve definitely come out in full support of LRT.”

Greg Lenko (Green): “Being a Hamiltonian, I would love to see LRT.”

Javid Mirza (Liberal): “One of the most important things we can do is have BRT and all day GO.”