Kitchener-Waterloo·Audio

Cost of living, economy and 'values' top issues for Waterloo region voters: Panel

Three members of local riding associations joined The Morning Edition on Monday to discuss what could be the top issues for Waterloo region voters in this year's federal election.

Voters are scheduled to head to the polls Oct. 21 for the federal election

The panel with host Craig Norris (left) included (from left) Samantha Estoesta of the Kitchener Centre NDPs, Eric Davis of the Waterloo Liberals and Michael Dearden of the Kitchener South-Hespeler Conservatives. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Affordable living, the economy and finding a party that fits your values will be the top issues for voters in Waterloo region as they consider their options during the countdown to this year's federal election, three members of local riding associations say.

Samantha Estoesta of the Kitchener Centre NDPs, Michael Dearden of the Kitchener South-Hespeler Conservatives and Eric Davis of the Waterloo Liberals sat down for a panel discussion on Monday with Craig Norris, host of The Morning Edition, to discuss what they see as the top issues in this year's federal election.

Estoesta said housing will be a major issue. It came up in both the provincial and municipal elections, and he said with a lengthy wait-list for affordable housing in the region, it will come up again.

"As we continue seeing the way that, at least in our region, housing is affecting all types of our populations, I think it's going to be at the forefront," she said.

"We know that it's been a ping-pong game from federal Conservative and Liberal governments over how do we address homelessness and affordable housing in our provinces across Canada," she said. "I think it's going to be one of the core issues."

Affordability 'going to be a big deal'

Dearden said people in Waterloo region and across the country will focus on the economy.

"A lot of people are concerned about the affordability, cost of living," he said. "A lot of people who live in our area are commuters. They're impacted by the costs associated with commuting. That's going to be a big deal."

He said the world as a whole is in "very turbulent times," citing the trade war between the United States and China and its impact on Canadian businesses.

"How these things play out over the next five or six months I think are really going to set the tone — whether the economy is going to remain what it has been for a number of years, pretty good, or whether it's going to start to slide and that will get people's attention," Dearden said.

A party that 'represents their values'

For Davis, he thinks people will ask themselves "which party most closely represents their values."

He thinks voters will want platforms based on evidence, not ideology.

"I think if you look from everything to lower small business tax rates to looking at protecting our environment, I think the Liberals offer a balanced approach," he said.

The offshoot of the next government's programs and policies will be to create jobs, he added.

"I think that's really what a lot of local people will be looking toward," he said.

Voters are set to go to the polls Oct. 21 in the federal election. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he won't trigger an early election.

Listen to the whole discussion:

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