Kitchener Centre candidates offer their promises to voters

Candidates in Kitchener Centre were asked to fill out a survey of four questions where they were asked about the environment, cost of living and the top concern for the city. These are their responses.
Five of the candidates for Kitchener Centre joined The Morning Edition Tuesday. They were (from left): Conservative: Stephen Woodworth, People's Party: Patrick Bernier, Liberal: Raj Saini, NDP: Andrew Moraga and Green Party: Mike Morrice. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Voters will head to the polls on Oct. 21 and in Kitchener Centre people will have a choice between six candidates.

The candidates in Kitchener Centre are:

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo has asked the candidates to answer a survey. All were presented with the same questions. Clicking the candidate's name above will take you to their survey responses. The candidates were told they had a 200-word limit for answers.

Candidates who did not provide surveys by the deadline are invited to still do so and their responses will be added to this story when they are received.

Raj Saini is the Liberal candidate in Kitchener Centre. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Raj Saini, Liberal Party of Canada

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1. What is the top issue facing your riding right now and how would you address it?

The top issues facing my riding are affordability and the environment. These are complex issues and we need an approach that works for everyone. When evaluating climate plans, voters need to ask themselves whether or not the plan is doable, realistic, and financially feasible. To succeed, we must act responsibly by working collaboratively across all sectors, and with all levels of government. Canada can, and must, play a leadership role in the fight against climate change.   

Equality and affordability are top of mind for me, as I know there is still much more we can do to help Canadians families, lift more children out of poverty, help parents put healthy food on the table and provide more affordable housing options.  Cost of living is something I've worked hard to address for four years and will continue to work to address, from implementing the new Canada Child Benefit to our National Housing Strategy, to improved benefits for seniors and students.   

I entered politics to create a fairer and more equal society, that is sustainable and prosperous.  There is more work to do, and I am committed to continuing this journey with all of you.   

2. People are concerned about the cost of living and the future of the economy.  What will you do personally to address this if you become an MP?   

The ability to afford essential drugs is top of mind.  That's why, as a pharmacist, I am particularly passionate about our national pharmacare plan.  We have laid down the foundations necessary for a national plan and once re-elected, we will move forward towards implementing it. 

We are committed to building on policies that make life more affordable for families across the country.  The Canada Child Benefit has successfully lifted 300,000 children out of poverty. Our plan focuses on expanding the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, which will give new home buyers up to 10 per cent off the purchase price of their first home. I will continue to work on the National Housing Strategy, advocate for students, expand benefits for seniors, and advocate strongly for initiatives that will leave a cleaner environment for our children.   

I am proud to say that Canada has the best economy in the G7. We have a steadily declining debt compared to the size of our economy, and Canadians have created more than one million new jobs in the past four years. I will continue to advance our record and be the voice of small businesses in our region.

3. The environment and climate change are top concerns for many. What do you want to see the government do to address those concerns?

Our climate action plan is ambitious, yet realistic. We are facing a climate emergency and we have taken the most significant steps of any Canadian government to tackle climate change. 

We are committed to returning Canada to its former status as a global environmental leader, which is why we have started implementing over 50 distinct measures to work towards these goals. This includes putting a price on pollution, which will not only reduce our emissions by 2030, but will also put more money into the pockets of Canadians through the climate action rebate.     

The Liberal Party and I understand that there is much more to do, which is why we have committed to a net-zero emissions future by 2050, something that I proudly supported in Parliament before it became a cornerstone of our re-election platform.  We will cut taxes in half for companies producing and manufacturing clean tech while ensuring energy workers have access to the training, support, and new opportunities they need to succeed in a clean economy. 

Most importantly, we will set legally binding, five-year milestones, and will designate a panel of scientists, economists, and experts to recommend the best path to reach a net-zero future.   

4. What do people need to know about you as an individual?

My desire to become an MP was inspired by my patients who I saw struggle on a daily basis.  As I became aware of their frustrations and the inequality that existed in our community, I knew I had to act.  I felt that serving at the federal level would give me the opportunity to advocate for my community and create a more prosperous society.  Being an immigrant, small business owner, pharmacist, and Rotarian, has given me a unique perspective in connecting with residents from various backgrounds.   

The most important skill I have is that I am a natural born problem solver. My entire professional career has been governed by solving complex problems with empathy and respect, whether for my patients or my constituents. The job of an MP can be very demanding in terms of the knowledge that is required and the heavy workload. My determination, my education, my varied life experiences, and my compassion for people allow me to best serve Kitchener Centre.   

I have advocated tirelessly on behalf of Kitchener Centre residents over the past four years, and I hope to have the opportunity to continue this journey with all of you.   

Stephen Woodworth is the Conservative candidate in Kitchener Centre. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Stephen Woodworth, Conservative Party of Canada


1. What is the top issue facing your riding right now and how would you address it?

Lack of trust in politicians is the top issue people mention in my riding. They are disillusioned with democracy after seeing Justin Trudeau's many broken promises, his unethical conduct, his lack of accountability, and his poor decision-making during the last four years. He was not as advertised.

People's cynicism is fed by the constant diet of grandiose, unachievable spending promises by the other parties.

The solution, by contrast, offered by Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party is to propose sensible, moderate ideas which are clearly achievable and yet will solve the problems we face, from climate change to affordability. The Conservative platform is full of such ideas, each one fully costed. A Conservative government will do what we ask all Canadians to do, namely, live within its means.

For example, we will guarantee annual 3 per cent increases in federal transfers for health and social programs — twice the rate of inflation, but not as unachievably extravagant as spending promised by the Green Party and the Liberals.

My personal commitment, for many years, is to never make a promise unless I know I can keep it. That way my word is my bond.

2. People are concerned about the cost of living and the future of the economy. What will you do personally to address this if you become an MP?

The increasing cost of living is a big challenge, made worse by heavy taxes. The average Canadian family spends more on taxes than basic necessities like housing, food, and clothing combined! It's even worse for people on fixed incomes, like seniors.

Conservative want to leave more money in your pocket and help you get ahead. We'll remove the GST from home heating costs. Every Canadian has to heat their home in winter — why tax people for the privilege of staying warm! It's a sensible idea, long overdue.

Conservatives plan a universal tax cut helping especially low income tax-payers by reducing the tax rate on the lowest tax bracket, saving the average family more than $850 annually.

We'll make it easier for new parents to get ahead by removing federal tax from EI maternal and parental benefits. We'll improve the Registered Educational Savings Plan, putting more money in the pockets of parents working hard to save for their children's education.

And we'll replace Trudeau's carbon tax, which is just a revenue plan, with a real plan to lower Canada's emissions and tackle global climate change.

I don't have room here to list all of our moderate, sensible ideas!

3. The environment and climate change are top concerns for many. What do you want to see the government do to address those concerns?

Conservatives have 55 detailed ideas to improve our environment and fight climate change, too many to list here, so please visit our website to carefully read our many sensible proposals.

Conservatives believe it's essential Canada meet its emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement. It was actually a Conservative government that set those targets!

Canada can meet its targets without making life any harder for ordinary Canadians and without throwing tens of thousands of Canadians out of work. We have to do more than just meet our targets if we want to stop climate change.

That's why our platform proposes taking Canadian technology global, where we can really make a difference! For example, with close to a thousand coal-burning plants, if China fitted even just their top 100 plants with Canadian carbon capture and storage, they could eliminate more than 300 megatons of CO2 emissions per year — nearly half of what Canada's entire economy produces.

We must resist panic and the politics of fear being pushed by some. We can place our faith in human ingenuity. Canadian innovation is world-class and getting better every day. Our government should proudly lead the way with Canadian green technology!

4. What do people need to know about you as an individual?

I fight for people! A lawyer for 30 years getting justice for my clients, a school trustee for nine  years protecting students, and parents' rights, and an MP for seven years helping thousands of constituents with their problems. A lifetime of volunteering my time and efforts to aid many local service agencies. I have the skill and dedication to help you get ahead!

My politics comes down to this: I treat everyone I meet honourably and honestly, fulfilling every commitment I make. I put others' needs and interests before my own, dedicating my life to helping others. I am unalterably committed to fighting for Canadians' basic freedom and human dignity — because I care!

I'm proud Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives have made this election about helping ordinary Canadians get ahead. I truly believe that's what government should be about! No indifferent politicians will get away with treating people like mere statistics, and making life harder for Canadian families if I can help it!

I need your help! Join with me in putting our faith confidently in human ingenuity! Join me in supporting detailed, achievable, policies and sure and steady progress. On October 21, in Kitchener Centre, vote Stephen Woodworth!

Andrew Moraga is the NDP candidate in Kitchener Centre. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Andrew Moraga, New Democratic Party


1. What is the top issue facing your riding right now and how would you address it?

The top issue facing my riding of Kitchener-Centre is affordability. People are struggling to find homes and affordable places to rent.

Even people who have them are at risk of their residence becoming a new development where they will be essentially renovicted. Now those individuals have to find somewhere to live, in a region where the average rent for a one bedroom is $1,310/month.

We have to make sure that when we redevelop portions of our community that there are affordable spaces for the people who were already there and others who would like to be. The stress of the affordability crisis also means we need to ensure that people have access to the mental health services that they need. Current affordable services in this region are over-extended and cannot adequately meet the needs of our community. 

2. People are concerned about the cost of living and the future of the economy. What will you do personally to address this if you become an MP?

If I have the privilege of representing our community as a Member of Parliament, I would fight for our community to ensure that funds and services flow to Kitchener Centre and Waterloo region at large.

I would advocate for massive investment in affordable housing, push for increased funding to healthcare; including supporting local organizations that train physicians in our community to address gaps in our healthcare system, from family doctors to mental health care.

Working with provincial and municipal counterparts, we would make sure that funding innovation in this community is a priority to create good clean jobs that strengthen our local economy. I would work to make sure our plans leave no one behind. 

3. The environment and climate change are top concerns for many. What do you want to see the government do to address those concerns?

I need to see the government set ambitious climate targets on the scale of the crisis that we are in. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report clearly demonstrates that we need strong action by 2030 to avoid blowing passed our 1.5 C target, considering we're already at 1.1 C above pre-industrial temperatures.

We need to aggressively reduce our emissions and work collaboratively with provinces to ensure this transition doesn't leave workers or families behind.

I would like the government to move away from the narrative that serious action on climate change means collapsing the economy, this is in fact a major opportunity to develop clean technologies and products of tomorrow! 

4. What do people need to know about you as an individual?

I have a strong sense of justice and I believe in standing up for all people. I don't have time for dancing around the point, I get right to heart of the matter and focus on what can be done.

I'm a solutions-oriented person. If there's a problem I don't want to just discuss that it exists, I want to work on responses. I'm pragmatic in my approach to all issues working within the bounds of reality to implement our platform that centres around investing in people and their prosperity.

Mike Morrice is the Green Party of Canada candidate in Kitchener Centre. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Mike Morrice, Green Party of Canada


1. What is the top issue facing your riding right now and how would you address it? 

I hear about the affordability of housing every single day when I talk to Kitchener Centre residents. 

Housing should be a right. Every person in our community deserves a safe, dignified and affordable place to call home, in neighbourhoods that bring together a diverse mix of people, commercial, and public spaces. Housing prices in the region have gone up 50 per cent in just the past four years and rents have gone up 18 per cent. For someone making minimum wage in Kitchener, there is not a single one or two-bedroom apartment that is affordable. 

Making housing in Kitchener Centre more affordable and accessible would be one of my top priorities. 

The current government's National Housing Strategy does not address immediate core housing needs across Canada or in our community. Funding for affordable housing would roll out over 15 years but it is needed now. Additionally, the Parliamentary Budget Office has already said that the strategy doesn't include any new investments into housing. 

I would seek to legislate housing as a legally protected right for all Canadians and permanent residents. 

I would set ambitious targets including 25,000 new and 15,000 rehabilitated units annually for the next 10 years. 

2. People are concerned about the cost of living and the future of the economy. What will you do personally to address this if you become an MP? 

Life is getting more expensive for the average person, but wages aren't going up at the same rate. It's harder to afford housing, childcare and food, and families in Kitchener are feeling the financial squeeze. I will work hard to address the systemic issues that are responsible for 47 per cent of Canadians being within $200 of financial insolvency. 

As an MP, I would work to expand health care to include mental health services, prescription drug coverage, and home care for seniors, particularly as our population ages. I would work across party lines to end fossil fuel subsidies and close tax loopholes, and use the savings to bring in programs that benefit everyone, like universal childcare and a guaranteed livable income. 

Additionally, our economy needs to stop being reactive and start being proactive. As an MP, I would advocate for investment in clean energy jobs, decreasing precarious work, and making sure big corporations are held accountable for the actions they take that negatively impact Canadian workers and taxpayers. 

3. The environment and climate change are top concerns for many. What do you want to see the government do to address those concerns? 

It is time to take decisive action to transition to a low-carbon economy. That's why I decided to run for office — to push for science-based climate targets and an ambitious plan to address climate change. 

This means no longer subsidizing and financing the fossil fuel industry up to $10 billion each year. This means not spending another $15 billion to nearly triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The money we're currently investing in fossil fuels should be put towards long-term solutions like worker retraining and renewable energy. 

Even though the Greens are not likely to form a majority government, I and other Green MPs will be working hard to ensure Canada sets science-based targets to curb the effects of climate change. 

This includes: 

  • Setting stricter greenhouse gas emissions targets so we can reach a 60% reduction by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050, and legislating legal emissions limits for industry.
  • Establishing a cross-party inner cabinet to overcome partisan divides around climate change and focus on taking action to protect our future. 
  • Retrofitting all buildings in Canada, creating millions of jobs in the clean economy and helping people and businesses save money on energy costs. 

4. What do people need to know about you as an individual? 

Ever since I moved to Waterloo Region, I've been inspired by the spirit of this community and its people. While a student at Laurier, I founded Sustainable Waterloo Region — an organization that works with businesses across Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo to improve their profitability while reducing their environmental impact. I went on to found Green Economy Canada - to share this homegrown innovation with cities across the country. 

Moving into politics, my biggest focus has been getting back to basics — engaging with community stakeholders, listening to the priorities of our neighbours, and working to represent those issues. While people have sometimes written off the greens as a one-party issue, I chose to run because there is so much more to the Green platform. It is about healthcare, economy, housing, and reforming our democracy. 

As a Green MP, I would be encouraged to vote with my community at heart. This is part of the reason I chose to run with the greens — it will allow me to keep my integrity and stay honest throughout this process. 

I am sick of divisive left vs right politics. Like you, I want our representatives working hard for us, not working to score political points.

Patrick Bernier is the People's Party of Canada candidate in Kitchener Centre. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Patrick Bernier, People's Party of Canada

Party website

1. What is the top issue facing your riding right now and how would you address it?

Affordability/homelessness/addiction is the top issue in our riding right now according to the many I've spoken with, including our mayor and his team, during the campaign so far. The cost of living is making services inaccessible and how that is a catalyst to the other issues we are seeing in the area like homelessness, tent cities, along with the opioid crisis. 

The Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to mitigate the opioid crisis and the affordability crisis during their terms. As a taxpayer, frankly, they have failed their performance reviews.

I would repatriate overseas funding and redirect the necessary funds to Kitchener Centre and all of Canada for Canadian needs first. The keys to harm reduction are the legalization of drugs and private charity. Funds for charity are best achieved by a reduction in income and business taxes, the elimination of capital gains tax, and the repatriation of funds from overseas considerations until these issues are resolved. 

Many people are living paycheck to paycheck and high on credit. There's a shorter distance from comfort to need than people might believe.

2. People are concerned about the cost of living and the future of the economy. What will you do personally to address this if you become an MP?

Property values are going up, rent is going up, taxes are going up, people are finding the cost of living approaching unbearable levels with millennials struggling to achieve home ownership, single parents making sacrifices, and an increasing number of fixed income seniors finding they have more month left at the end of their money instead of the other way around.

Canadians are indebting themselves at unprecedented levels. The People's Party proposes a simplified, lower tax structure for all, no capital gains tax, the repatriation of spending abroad so as to  focus on Canada-first solutions that will give Canadians room to breathe financially. as an MP, I plan on helping small business owners have more money to invest, eliminating the capital gains tax, and also attract business back to investing in Canada.

I would fight for balancing the budget in two years, then lowering taxes, and the dismantlement of the milk and poultry cartel, which will make life much more affordable for all Kitchenerites and Canadians. 

3. The environment and climate change are top concerns for many. What do you want to see the government do to address those concerns?

Protecting the environment is something I would take very seriously as MP. The People's Party is the only party with an environmental policy looking to improve the everyday lives of Canadians affected by pollution.

We are determined to make sure First Nations have access to clean water, not add to the water pollution or fight those communities like what is happening now with the Liberal government. The PPC will also prioritize solutions that will improve the air and soil quality. The PPC will eliminate the carbon tax immediately.

The PPC rejects climate policies that serve to make government bigger and life more difficult for those most marginalized and who would be most affected by natural weather extremes (homeless people freezing over winter) yet offer little to no positive impact globally to protect the environment for future generations. 

The PPC are the real environmentalists because we want to focus in finding a consensus and solutions. I'll focus on private solutions as well as individual action and accountability, and government stewardship and accountability, leading by example.

4. What do people need to know about you as an individual?

Patrick Bernier wholeheartedly supports people's creativity and self-expression. With freedom, comes great responsibility, too. Please see our website for further details and contact me anytime for further discussion.

Ellen Papenburg, Animal Protection Party of Canada

Party website

Responses not yet received.