Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with NDP candidate Paul Johnstone, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
Thursday, September 13, 2007
A resident of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound his whole life, Correctional Services officer Paul Johnstone is running for the Ontario New Democratic Party in the Ontario provincial election. 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?
- I am a provincial civil servant and have seen the cuts to public services under Harris/Eves and the failure of McGuinty to rebuild the public service. I've chosen to run so that working families have a strong voice in Queen’s Park.
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 am currently a member of the Ministry of Corrections Ministry employee relations committee (Merc) team an elected position that deals with workplace issues at a ministerial level, and as an Ontario public service union president I have had dealings with all Provincial ministries.
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?
- As this riding has an incumbent MPP this poses a challenge however given the riding's issues and the NDP platform I feel the riding will elect me.
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?
- When I have been talking to people of the riding three important issues have come up time and again.
- Health Care: People are concerned about the erosion of the health care system in Ontario and the development of a two-tiered health care system something the NDP has promised to keep public and improve!
- Education: People are concerned that their children have to sell chocolate door-to-door for school essentials. The NDP has promised to rework the Public School funding formula so that we give our children the best education possible as they are our future.
- $10 an hour minimum wage: McGuinty gave himself a $40,000 wage increase and yet told the people who need it most to wait 3 years for a much needed wage increase. People tell me this isn’t fair and the NDP will enact the $10 an hour minimum wage as soon as we are elected
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- The NDP's first order of business will be the $10 an hour minimum wage increase
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- People have been telling me when we talk that they are tired of annual municipal tax increases and the NDP has pledged to freeze their home assessments and at the same time re-examine the services that were downloaded to municipalities by the Harris/Eves governments to be fair to municipalities.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- During the McGuinty governments leadership Ontario has lost 140,000 high paying manufacturing jobs. The NDP has announced that they will freeze hydro rates for industry and create a Jobs Commissionaire to secure our manufacturing jobs and create new employment.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- Personally I have always been an advocate of the MMP system. Working families need to be heard at Queen’s Park.
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?
- Anyway I can get to meet the people of the riding is beneficial to me. I have a Facebook page as well we should soon have the web-site up and running.
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?
- McGuinty leaves us with a legacy of broken promises; the 140,000 lost high paying manufacturing jobs in Ontario are shameful and were extremely harmful to this riding. Ontario can do better and on October 10th elect Paul Johnstone so working families have not only a voice but hope as well.