Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green candidate Bruce Haines, Bramalea-Gore-Malton
Monday, September 24, 2007
Bruce Haines is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Bramalea-Gore-Malton riding. Wikinews' Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.
Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.
Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process? Why did you choose to run in this constituency?
- During the last year I have become very involved in helping my community locally on environmental issues, urban sprawl/greenspace issues and at a local food bank and soup kitchen. A number of people noticed my efforts and suggested that I run for MPP, so I took them up on the challenge. I chose to run in the riding where my family and I live and where my children go to school. With two children now, and another on the way, I wanted to make sure we left behind a better world for the future generations.
What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?
- I have followed the political process throughout my life, and on three occasions have helped municipal candidates with their campaigns. I have a tremendous amount of experience working in a community setting, both as a police officer and as a business owner. I have the ability to work well with people from varying cultures, and tend to gain respect from others quickly.
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why? What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
- The biggest challenge will be overcoming the status quo parties, rather than the other candidates themselves. The other parties have been around for a long time and people have developed a loyalty that is sometimes hard to overcome.
- I believe I am the best candidate for my riding because I have the ability to unite our community and make it stronger. I am a strong, vocal, active person who possesses the right leadership attributes to help the constituents in my riding. Throughout my life I have demonstrated that I am a noticeable leader: during my high school days I was President of the Athletic Association; during my policing career I advanced quickly, and in business I have built up a company that employs more than 125 people and is respected in its market.
What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues that are most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?
- Whichever issues are important to the public are important to me. I believe three of the biggest right now are health, education, and climate change. My stance on each issue would be:
- Health - There are two priorities here. First, we must ensure that no more hospitals are built with private involvement. The citizens of Ontario want a fully public health system, not decades of obligation to private companies. Second, we must focus more on prevention and healthy lifestyles, to prevent diseases before they occur rather than treating them after the fact. Unhealthy lifestyles are placing a huge burden on our health system and are part of the reason the system is under so much financial strain.
- Education - Parents should not have to fundraise for their children's education -- that's not the meaning of "publicly funded". We need to find more money, and we can't take it from other areas that need it either. This is why I support a single public school system. Merging our school boards will save hundreds of millions of dollars, which can be used to restore important school services that have been eroded through years of cost-cutting.
- Climate Change - We need to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is not as tough a problem as some people make it out to be, because they are so many different things we can do to make a difference. We need to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency (Canadians are some of the world's worst energy-wasters) by setting tougher standards on appliances, homes, and technology. We need to reduce our use of cars by encouraging carpooling and transit, as well as making communities walkable.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- The issue that requires the most immediate attention is climate change. The road to sustainability is a long one, so we need to begin immediately. We need to set the tone and show the rest of Canada that Ontario will be leaders in halting and reversing climate change.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- This is a difficult question because there are so many variables. We could be more efficient in how we deliver some services (such as education, where there is so much duplication between the two school boards), while other services are being delivered extremely well. It wouldn't be fair to paint everyone with the same brush.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- First, by giving incentives to companies that create green products and deliver green services. As the world becomes more aware of our need to take care of environment, Ontario has the opportunity to become a leader in green solutions, which will bring money and jobs into the province.
- A second way is by significantly reducing business taxes to encourage more businesses to locate in Ontario. Our plan is to shift taxes away from businesses and income, and onto resource use. This way, instead of penalising people for working or owning a business, we will penalise people who deplete or pollute our natural environment.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- The Citizens' Assembly put a lot of work into developing this system and tailoring it to Ontario's needs. It would be a great step forward for democracy in our province and would make us a leader in Canada.
What role, if any, does “new media” play in your campaign, and the campaign of your party? (websites, blogs, Facebook, YouTube videos, etc) Do you view it as beneficial, or a challenge?
- Our party has embraced new media and recently launched a great website featuring blogs, articles, and video content. Within our own riding, our website features a question-and-answer page that allows any person in our riding to submit a question. Overall, new media presents an excellent opportunity to communicate directly with the public, which is what democracy is all about.
Of the decisions made by Ontario's 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your this electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your this riding? To the province as a whole?
- Everyone has their own opinion about the last four years. Rather than spending time analysing the previous government's performance, I think the priority is to look at the challenges facing Ontario today, and determine what we, as citizens, need to accomplish over the next four years.