Kitchener-Waterloo

Perth-Wellington candidates on environment, cost of living and top issues in this election

Candidates in Perth-Wellington were asked to fill out a survey of four questions where they were asked about the environment, cost of living and their top concern for the riding. These are their responses.
The candidates in Perth-Wellington are (from left) Conservative: John Nater, NDP: Geoff Krauter, Christian Heritage Party: Irma DeVries, Liberal: Pirie Mitchell, Green Party: Collan Simmons and People's Party of Canada: Roger Fuhr. (Photos provided)

Voters will head to the polls on Oct. 21 and in Perth-Wellington, people will have a choice between six candidates.

The candidates in Perth-Wellington 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.


John Nater is the Conservative candidate in Perth-Wellington. (John Nater/Facebook)

John Nater, Conservative Party of Canada (incumbent)

Website

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

Trust is the most important consideration facing residents of Perth–Wellington in this election. Voters should consider two equally important questions.

First, we must ask which leader, and which party, should we trust to take on serious national challenges. Who do we trust to help make it possible for all of us to get ahead? Who do we trust to budget responsibly? Who do we trust to be a leader the world can take seriously?

Second, we must ask which local candidate has shown the ability to represent our values and capably serve our community. Which candidate do we trust to be accessible when we need them most? Which candidate has the experience we need to represent every community in Perth–Wellington?

To earn voters' trust, I will continue doing what I have always done over the last four years: serving people to the best of my ability.

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 return as the MP? 

Over the last four years, we've been paying more for gasoline, home heating, hydro, housing, and much more. We must address the rising cost of living. As an MP, I would do what the Liberals did not do: I would oppose any measure that does not respect this reality facing too many Canadians.

We can start by trusting people with their own money. With the Conservatives' universal tax cut, the average Canadian family will save over $850 per year.

Also in our plan: tax credits for children's fitness and arts programs; tax-free maternity benefits; increasing the age credit for seniors by $1,000; and removing the federal tax on home heating.

We would also introduce four new measures to make it easier for first-time home buyers to buy a home.

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

Climate change is real and requires immediate action. Andrew Scheer's plan would require the biggest polluters to reduce their carbon emissions or invest in new green technologies.

It is also a global problem requiring global solutions. For that, we must restore Canadian leadership on the world stage. We need a prime minister the world will take seriously.

Imposing additional taxes on people in our riding — who may have no choice but to drive to work or transport their crops to elevators — will make no meaningful difference in reducing emissions. It will just make life even more expensive.

You can read the Conservative plan for the environment at the website arealplan.ca.

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

Raised on our family's farm near Mitchell, I learned early the importance of hard work. I believe in public service and our capacity to build strong, healthy communities and a country that future generations will be proud to inherit. I'm running to serve every person in every corner of Perth–Wellington.

Service means representing our values and interests. That's what motivated me to introduce a bill to protect young people and those with disabilities from exploitation.

It's also why I have championed rural communities, stood up for local small businesses and challenged the government to respect the rule of law and the independence of our judicial system.

I'm running because I know we can build a country that future generations will be proud to inherit. I will continue to be accessible to every constituent, no matter where they live, whether one-on-one or at community events. I ask for your support to continue serving everyone in Perth–Wellington.


Pirie Mitchell is the Liberal candidate in Perth-Wellington. (Photo provided)

Pirie Mitchell, Liberal Party of Canada

Website

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

Sustainability is the top issue facing Perth-Wellington. I will work to ensure that life in Perth-Wellington is both economically and environmentally sustainable.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to find solutions that are good for both the environment and the economy. The Liberal climate action plan is both ambitious and realistic. It includes innovation, research, clean technology, and putting a price on pollution. I am proud to support the Liberal plan that is committed to encouraging lower greenhouse gas emissions without putting a financial burden on households.

When the Ford government cancelled Ontario's successful cap and trade system, the federal government implemented a carbon price (so-called "carbon tax") and a corresponding rebate called the climate action incentive payment. 

Liberals value the small businesses in rural communities that create good jobs and the farmers that feed Canada and the world. We will help our family farms stay strong, help connect rural communities with high-speed internet, and continue to make rural success a priority with a dedicated minister of rural economic development.

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 Liberal government's plan to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class is working. It helped Canadians create over one million new jobs — most were full time positions — and brought the unemployment rate to a 40-year low. Despite that, many Canadians struggle to make ends meet given the high cost of living.

A re-elected Liberal government will:

  • ensure middle class Canadians pay no federal taxes on the first $15,000 they earn.
  • increase Old Age Security by 10% once seniors turn 75.
  • work with telecom companies to lower the cost of cell phones by 25% over four years.
  • boost Canada Child Benefit by 15% for children under the age of one.
  • make maternity and parental benefits tax-free.

Canada has the lowest debt to GDP ratio among G7 countries and this ratio has been reduced each year we've been in office. That means we will have the capacity in whatever economic situation to deal with that situation appropriately. To keep our economy strong and growing, we will also move forward with modest and responsible increases to immigration, with a focus on welcoming highly skilled people. 

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

We've seen the impact of climate change, with floods and fires destroying entire communities in Canada. Our children are scared, because they know this will become their mess to clean up.

The Liberal plan isn't perfect, but it is both ambitious and feasible. Progress has already been made — putting a price on pollution, protecting our oceans, phasing out coal, banning single-use plastics. Canada is on track to reduce our emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 and Liberals are committed to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That means not putting any more carbon emissions into the air than we take out. 

A re-elected Liberal government will cut corporate tax in half for zero-emissions clean tech companies. We are committed to moving Canada forward — building a country where clean tech companies can thrive, where businesses and citizens are encouraged to go green, and where workers can succeed in the clean energy transition.

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

Public service means working to create a better community and country for our children and grandchildren — that is what motivates me to become the MP for Perth-Wellington. I will work to improve the environment, reduce the cost of living, and strengthen social services.

My varied work experience includes hosting a children's talent program on CFPL-TV in London; teaching special education students with the Thames Valley District School Board; and ministering to United Church congregations in St. Marys, Stratford, and Palmerston. My wife Ruth and I are residents of St. Marys; we have five children and three grandchildren.

As a former town councillor in Parkhill, I have political experience at the municipal level. I helped establish the London Convention Centre and was an early supporter of the Stratford Perth Rotary Hospice. I was a member of Stratford's Housing Committee looking for housing solutions for homeless people, and a co-organizer of St. Marys' Community Dinners.

My life's work has been focused on helping people in need. I will always stand up for the little guy. I know that public service is about addressing tough challenges, and I'm committed to continuing my work serving the citizens of Perth-Wellington at the federal level.   


Geoff Krauter is the NDP candidate in Perth-Wellington. (Photo provided)

Geoff Krauter, New Democratic Party

Website

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

One of the most important issues to citizens of Perth-Wellington is the climate emergency. 

We are keenly aware of the threat posed by climate change to the planet and our way of life. Extreme weather events like flooding, heavy rain, forest fires and intense hurricanes are seen across the country and we've felt the effects here in every part of the riding, both rural and urban. We have a number of active environmental groups such as Climate Momentum in Stratford, The Maitland Valley Carbon Footprint Initiative, and the City of Stratford itself has been a leader in a number of sustainability projects.

I am inspired by the leadership of young people and was pleased to participate in the student-led climate action here in September.

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?  

My first order of business would be to press for action on affordable housing. Many people in Perth-Wellington can't afford to wait for solutions to the housing crisis.

We need the federal government to get back to work building social and non-market housing and supporting co-ops. I would work with colleagues from all parties to expedite the funding and assistance needed for municipalities, co-ops or social enterprises to get projects off the ground.

Dealing with precarious employment is a priority for the NDP. As a member of the NDP caucus, I will support the party's re-institution of a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. 

We will work toward a living wage for all federally regulated workers which will set a standard for employers in every sector. We will give temporary and part-time workers access to the same compensation and benefits as their full-time counterparts.

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

The NDP knows that we don't have the luxury of time in taking action on climate change. On Day One, an NDP government would cancel the billions in fossil fuel subsidies as well as the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

We also stand firmly behind working people and will create 300,000 new jobs in our first mandate in the clean energy sector. Confronting climate change will require a massive mobilization of labour and resources to train and retrain Canadians.

Priorities in a new energy economy include: building a sustainable auto sector by manufacturing electric and zero-emission vehicles right here in Canada; retrofitting every home and public building by 2030 so that they are net zero ready; and expanding the availability of low-cost, zero-emission and accessible public transit.  

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

I have been a social activist and a member of the NDP for the past 17 years. I grew up in Markham and have an honours degree in political science from the University of Guelph. I was a member of the board of the Guelph Campus Co-op for five years, as well as serving as president of both the federal and provincial Guelph NDP riding associations. While in Guelph, I was the host of Words and Music on 93.3 CFRU FM.  

I am also a person living with cerebral palsy. As such I know what it is to face and overcome challenges. I also know what it is to confront inequality and succeed. 

In Stratford, I am on the executive of the Rotaract Club and have been working on the 211 database through the United Way of Perth Huron. I am committed to building a society where human need comes before corporate greed.  


Collan Simmons is the Green Party of Canada candidate in Perth-Wellington. (Dana Ruby Martin photography/Photo provided)

Collan Simmons, Green Party of Canada

Website

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

Climate change is the world's biggest issue, but locally we won't see major frequent impacts until it's too late. 

We need to act because our cumulative emissions will continue to act for decades. To meet our 2030 goals, we have work to do, and only the Green Party's plan meets those goals. The Liberal government (and the Conservatives before them) continue to support the oil and gas industry despite the fact that continued resource extraction at this level will hasten the onrushing climate catastrophe. In 2017, just to extract the oil and gas, 200 of Canada's 700 megatons of CO2 were emitted.

We cannot maintain the status quo policy and have a livable planet. The Green Party will declare a climate emergency, work with the other parties in an inner cabinet, cancel all fossil fuel subsidies, ban fracking, support the adoption of electric vehicles, bolster public transportation, replace coal and natural gas electricity generation, modernize and expand the national electric grid, complete a national building retrofit, switch to biodiesel, ban foreign oil imports, and restore natural carbon sinks such as the soil and forests. It is all possible, we just need the political and personal will to do it.

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 expensive, and wages haven't kept up with costs. People are worried about making sure their families have what they need to get by and be happy. The Green Party wants to help financially with the things that matter the most.

We plan to abolish tuition at post-secondary institutions, expand public transportation (low cost and electric), and mandate a livable minimum wage ($15/hr).  We will limit credit card interest rates to 10% and encourage competition in the cellular phone and internet markets to lower costs for everyone.

Good health is currently a luxury and it shouldn't be; poverty directly affects your ability to care for yourself properly.  We are proposing a guaranteed livable income (GLI) to replace the patchwork of federal and provincial programs that assist people who cannot work or are in low income situations. To pay for these programs, we will close tax loop holes used by the very wealthy and large corporations, so that they pay their fair share.  Tax breaks for huge corporations don't help everyday people.  

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

The climate crisis is the most important issue for Canadians, whether they realize it or not.  The climate crisis requires a concerted effort at all levels of government and grass roots action by everyone. 

For the government to act in the long term best interest of the people of Canada, we need increased transparency and accountability. The oil and gas industry is the largest source of emissions in Canada. The federal government needs to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and put those funds into environmentally sound energy. 

The Transmountain Pipeline expansion should be stopped. The BC Liquid Natural Gas project should be stopped. We need to transition to 100% renewable energy sources. We need to do what is best of the health of our population and planet, not what makes the fossil fuel industry the most money. 

The argument that it is either the economy or the environment is invalid, as there are more jobs in a renewable and sustainable economy (estimated 3 times more). Corporate influence must be removed from politics and the science must be respected. 

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

I'm a doctor and anesthesiologist. I've put my practice on hold to run for office because I think climate change is the most important issue facing the country.  

Once I read the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) climate report last fall, I knew I had to get involved. 

At my regular job, I deal with sick people in complex situations as part of my routine work.  For most people that would be stressful. After examining the evidence for climate change, I was losing sleep thinking about ways to change my personal environmental footprint.  We need to make changes at the federal level because they control the sectors where the largest emissions occur.

I got involved to try and make the changes we need to keep our planet in a livable condition. The Green Party is the only political party with the ethics and conviction to stand up to the old parties and corporations, to get things done.

I'm doing this so we have the best chance to maintain a livable planet, so my kids have a chance at a reasonable existence. To not act given the current evidence will be disastrous, and future generations won't understand why we seemingly chose self-destruction because it was more convenient than change.


Roger Fuhr is the People's Party of Canada candidate in Perth-Wellington. (Photo provided)

Roger Fuhr, People's Party of Canada

Facebook page

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

Health care is top of mind. Although this is a provincial responsibility, we can see that wait times and quality of care have been long time concerns without question. No one has been able to assist with changing this.

The People's Party of Canada understands that one of the issues here is that provinces have had an unreliable source of federal funding year to year, making it difficult for them to plan and deliver the necessary services. Ottawa's health care transfers to the provinces have doubled since 2006 from $20 billion to $40 billion this year with nothing to show for it.

We will give up the GST, which is expected to be around $40 billion and send it to the provinces each year in order to stabilize health care funding. Ottawa will stop meddling in health care and allow the provinces to be fully responsible for delivery of this service as the Constitution states.

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?

Personally, I will stand up as the MP for Perth-Wellington and speak out for what the residents of this riding need. Our party policies are extremely helpful in this regard.

To assist with the cost of living we will abolish the carbon tax, which is going to impact the cost of everything that we need from groceries to shelter and etc, and replace the tax with nothing.

We will simplify the income tax system by raising the personal exemption to $15,000, charging only 15% tax from $15,001 to $100,000, and charging 25% for $100,001 and over. This will help the more vulnerable while assuring that more fortunate citizens will pay their fair share of tax.

We will end supply management which will allow Canadians to access nutritious food at a reasonable price. To assist the Canadian economy, one step is to ensure that pipelines get built by using the Constitutional laws and we will do that.

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

Climate change has always happened, thankfully, as we could not live here in Perth-Wellington without it. Twelve thousand years ago, this area was under ice and the earth warmed up. It did not warm up due to human activity.

We do not believe that there is a climate emergency. Due to the fact that there is no scientific consensus on this issue, we will not invoke costly taxes that will hurt our prosperity. Until such time, if ever, there is clear consensus, our approach to climate change will be to assist those most vulnerable to flooding and other natural disasters.

We do believe in a clean environment and all of us need to assist with that each day, we can all do our part. What will you do? Give up single-use plastics? Walk and bicycle more? Stop burning large amounts of fossil fuels on personal vacations? Will you drink municipal tap water? Will you plant trees? Will you conserve electricity? All of these actions will help us build a cleaner environment.

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

I am a lifelong resident of Perth County, having grown up on a dairy farm. I built a successful tool and die business in Stratford and retired financially independent at the age of 38. I ran as an independent candidate in this riding in 2015.

I am thrilled to be part of this grassroots movement, the People's Party of Canada, whose policies I align with. I stand for fiscal responsibility and a vibrant Canadian economy. I stand for secure Canadian borders and our rights as a sovereign nation. We must uphold the rule of law and I believe in putting Canadians first.

I believe we need to stop sending billions of dollars overseas for various reasons while so many Canadians, such as our veterans and etc., are experiencing difficulty making ends meet. I believe we need to stop or minimize UN funding. I believe in ending corporate welfare in Canada, a policy which only makes the wealthy wealthier. I stand for a bold, new, proud Canadian future for all of us. 


Irma DeVries is the candidate for the Christian Heritage Party in Perth-Wellington. (Photo provided)

Irma DeVries, Christian Heritage Party

Website

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

The national debt and interest payments of $70 million a day!  We would treat the debt as a mortgage and begin paying it down.

Family breakdown is leading to a housing crisis and CHP CANADA would strengthen the traditional family unit by providing income to the parent, either or, who stays home to raise the children or care for disabled, elderly or others in their own home. 

Fibre [internet] to the home is important and CHP Canada offers infrastructure loans to move this project forward.

CHP Canada wants to maintain our borders, protect our sovereignty and slowly extend legal immigration to those most able to assimilate into our Canadian culture that was and still is, based on "The Supremacy of God and the Rule of Law."

Our Christian heritage protects the freedom of religion for all people while secularism and humanism would deny religious freedom to Christians.

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?  

CHP Canada would eliminate the income tax — completely freeing Canadians from the associated compliance costs. Replacing the income tax would be a fair tax — a national sales tax on NEW goods only. This would allow both rich and poor to decide when to pay tax. 

For example, the rich buy a new car and pay a higher tax, the poor buy a used car and pay no tax. It will lead to economic advantages! Strengthen the traditional family unit and teach individuals how to manage money. Playing the game Cash Flow with my preteen grandchildren has taught them to get out of the rat race and avoid doodads.

It is a shame that the government preys on people's weakness by the get-rich quick scheme of the lottery.  If five per cent is returned to the town, then, after expenses, big bucks left town for big business profits. 

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

Climate change, and associated alarmism, is a financial movement in favour of big business and increased control over people all around the world. 

C02 is not a pollutant. Farmers buy it to put into their greenhouses to make the flowers grow. Farmers inject it into soil to beneficially create plant growth. 

The more C02 the better everything grows. Canada was once much greener than today as the fossil records show. We will adapt as changes are slow! CHP Canada would protect water, air and soil by fighting nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates. 

Of greater concern is Canada's moral environment which is creating family breakdown. The porn industry is harming everyone's ability to maintain strong family ties ... The lack of respect for life, from the not-yet born human beings who are not granted human rights, to the elderly and disabled who may be coerced to assisted suicide because of their life's circumstances. The moral compass of our nation is eroding leading to a weak and vulnerable populace.

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

I am a farmer and small business owner with my husband. We raised four children to be healthy adults and have grandchildren. I love to read and learn and I read legislation, court cases and alternative news sites. I like to garden and scrapbook and play with grandchildren.