NDP candidate for Nipissing-Timiskaming Rob Boulet says governments need to focus on people, not corporations
Rob Boulet wants to expand public transportation connecting northern and southern Ontario.
Aside from a blip in 2011, Nipissing-Timiskaming has been a Liberal stronghold since it's creation over a decade ago. Despite strong showings elsewhere in northern Ontario, the NDP have never placed better than third in the riding. First time politician and North Bay resident Rob Boulet believes he can change that.
Sudbury-born Boulet has lived in North bay for 18 years. He works at Nipissing University in an IT role, and is active with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
His time spent with the union "has helped me to be an advocate for people and human rights, gender equality, LGBT rights, all kinds of stuff," he said.
Boulet's top two issues for this campaign are expanding coverage for medication and affordable housing.
"There's people who go to the hospital and can't afford the medicine they need to survive," Boulet said, adding that he had experienced it in his personal life.
"I have several friends who unfortunately have been diagnosed with cancer," he said, "while they're at the hospital some of their medication is covered, and some is not."
He thinks that the government needs to re-orient its priorities away from providing tax breaks until we can ensure that the government can provide medications to those that need them.
Housing comes up in just about every conversation he has with constituents, Boulet said.
"People talk about how there hasn't been investment in housing for ages and there is no affordable low-income housing."
Boulet ties both of these issues into what he sees as the big divide between the Liberal-Conservative establishment and the NDP. He says that those parties focus on giving tax breaks to corporations, while the New Democrats focus on solving problems for people.
"That's what we bring that is different," he said, "if you look at my history with OPSEU and at the university, it's advocating for people."
While he hasn't run for public office, Boulet thinks that his private political experience bolsters his resume.
He's done some provincial level work with OPSEU, sits on a board at Nipissing University, sat on the OPSEU human rights committee for a two year term, and is currently involved with the OPSEU Rainbow Alliance.
"Those are all elected positions," he said.