Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Progressive Conservative candidate Jim Chapman, London-Fanshawe
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Jim Chapman is running for the Progressive Conservative of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the London-Fanshawe 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?
- I believe Ontario is at a crossroads. We will elect either a Liberal government pledged to continue a high-tax, high-spend policy that has increased taxes by 33% over four years, or a Progressive Conservative government that believes there is generally more to solving a problem than throwing money at it. I was born and raised in London Fanshawe and when the PC Association invited me to stand for nomination, I accepted and was subsequently acclaimed.
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?
- As a member of the local news media for fifteen years I have been a keen observer of the political process and have studied and written extensively on provincial politics. I have known both Dalton McGuinty and John Tory personally for years, and have watched and analysed their development as political leaders. I am an effective communicator and a Type A worker, both attributes I believe to be vital to being a successful representative of the people at Queen's Park.
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why?
- The biggest challenge to any candidate is voter apathy, brought on by years of broken promises and political bafflegab.
What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
- My record of public service and advocacy for ordinary people is well-known across the city. I do my homework, I know the issues and I have the ability to speak for those who can't, or won’t speak for themselves. I am not afraid to speak truth to power, I’m not anybody's yes-man and I get things done... And, I believe the proper job of an M.P.P. is to carry the message of the riding to Queen's Park, not the other way around.
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?
- The continuing decline in health care delivery is number one on my list, and at the doors. People are also very concerned about job losses in the riding, and the perception that our streets are no longer safe. These, too, parallel my own priorities.
Improving all of them will require the same first step- we must regain control of public spending, institute strict financial controls on every ministry and require public servants to account for every penny of public money they spend.
- With a provincial budget that has increased by a third in four years, there is plenty of money flowing through Queen's Park, The challenge is to direct it where it will do the most good for the most people.
- Regarding my three priorities, a greatly oversimplified "to do" list would include involving front-line nurses and doctors much more actively in health care delivery reform, reducing red tape to create an environment that attracts more job-producing investment, and bringing the justice system more in line with the wishes of the people by advocating tougher treatment for crimes of violence and tighter bail for potentially dangerous offenders.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- Financial reform, as outlined above.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- No. Provincial downloading and contentious local policies have seen costs rise much faster than service levels.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- As above, by creating an environment that is more conducive to attracting job-creating investment. Having the highest tax rates in Canada and one of the most cumbersome economic bureaucracies is not a combination likely to bring new jobs to Ontario. That must change.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- While I understand the concerns with the existing system that led to the referendum, any system that proposes appointing rather than electing members of the legislature does not get my support.
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?
- Utilizing new technologies beneficially is always a challenge, but in this election they have allowed me to reach more people, more directly, through a website, YouTube videos and hundreds of e-mails back and forth with constituents.
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?
- Indexing certain support payment programs to inflation had a positive impact, but still left most recipients far short of what they need to live in dignity.
- The Health Tax paved the way for a wholesale assault on taxpayer pocketbooks and as such was the least beneficial to Ontarians in general. It also further eroded public confidence in politicians, based as it was on an untruth. The tax was not required because of an "unexpected" deficit, as the Liberals have claimed. Mr. McGuinty was very well acquainted with the deficit months before the election, and months before the famous "I won’t raise your taxes" whopper. In fact, he repeatedly complained about it as a guest on my radio and TV programs. More to the point, the deficit disappeared relatively quickly after an economic upsurge, yet McGuinty not only left the Health Tax in place, he added $19.5 billion in additional taxes on top of it.
- The Health Tax is particularly burdensome for the lower-income residents of London-Fanshawe because the less you earn, the higher the percentage you pay. I have yet to hear an explanation as to how that is supposed to be fair.