Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Ray Scott, Algoma-Manitoulin
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Ray Scott is running for the Family Coalition Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Algoma-Manitoulin 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 first became involved in politics because of my pro-life beliefs. I had no candidate that I could vote for that truly believed in the sanctity of human life. When I found the Family Coalition Party, and saw a well-rounded party platform, I supported the FCP. When there was no candidate in my area, I felt conscience-bound to run. I am running in Algoma-Manitoulin because we need pro-lifers in government and none of the other candidates can offer that.
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?
- In terms of elections, I have run twice before. In my professional life, as a public school teacher, I have vast experience in moving agendas forward and resolving conflicts. As a pro-life, and union activist, I frequently engage in the political process and understand how decisions are made, and how to positively influence those processes.
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 incumbent Liberal candidate has held the riding for 20 years and has a very strong campaign organization. The NDP candidate has the best set of promises, though I don’t think they can be paid for. I am the best candidate because my party’s policy on healthcare realistically addresses the primary needs of Ontarians. The health policy for the Family Coalition Party is called “Medical Savings Accounts”.
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?
- Issue #1: Healthcare
- The Family Coalition Party proposes a system of Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs).
- Basically, imagine your health card as a debit card. The government puts $2000 in your own MSA. Every time you visit the doctor or access health services, you present your health card and the cost of service is withdrawn from your MSA. You may only spend that money on healthcare. If you deplete your account, there is a user-pay portion roughly equivalent to the Liberal Health Tax. After that, government run catastrophic healthcare insurance kicks in, similar to OHIP.
- Where MSAs are being used around the world, huge cost savings are being realized. More importantly, research shows these cost savings are not resulting in a decline in people’s health. The cost savings achieved through MSAs will be re-invested in healthcare areas such as long term care, pharmacare and expensive medical technologies. Lastly, the MSA plan is the only party plan that provides an incentive for eating well, quitting smoking and getting exercise: take care of your body, and you will stay away from the doctor and avoid paying the Liberal Health Tax. Further, unused portions of MSAs can be rolled into RRSPs.
- The shortage of healthcare professionals will be dealt with by increasing compensation packages to attract doctors and nurses to the province. These compensation packages are needed to win over doctors and nurses in the international bidding war to Ontario. Prioritizing the provincial budget will pay for the big expense of winning the bidding war for healthcare expenses. This means cuts in other government areas will be necessary.
- Issue #2: Farming
- The Family Coalition Party has always believed that the family farm is one of the basic building blocks of Ontario’s economy. The FCP will propose “Right to Farm” legislation. The farming sector must be free to operate responsibly, without interference regarding standard farm operating practices. The FCP will continue to support the responsible use of approved chemicals in agriculture. Lastly, I propose an “Adopt-a-Steer” program so that farmers can sell their meat locally at a value-added price. Under our current system, farmers receive the smallest fraction of the cost of beef that people pay at the store. If I want to buy my neighbour’s meat, I should be able to, and it is good for the farmer.
- Issue #3: Infrastructure
- The infrastructure of roads, bridges and water systems is crumbling in Ontario. Investment in safety sensitive infrastructure areas is essential. I propose the creation of reserve accounts in municipal budgets for water systems, for example. These accounts need an initial cash infusion from the provincial government over the short term until the reserve accounts are self-sustaining through a portion of property tax rates.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- The first thing I would do is introduce legislation banning sex-selection abortions. Even China has a law like this. Ontario should not be second to China for anything when it comes to human rights.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- Most people do not believe they receive good value for the property taxes they pay. In general, people used to pay $1.00 and got $1.30 in services. Now we pay $1.00 and get $0.70 back in services. The FCP is committed to freezing the education portion of property tax rates. We will remove the education portion of taxes from agricultural lands. Concerning Market Value Assessment increases, if a significant increase is required, it must be phased in over time. Halting provincial downloading that forces higher expenses on municipalities and towns can also relieve property taxes. Lastly, property taxes going up are also a response to the pressures of an aging population with a shrinking tax base, so we either need to lower our expectations of government and pay less taxes; or have more babies.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- We can wait. The shortage of workers is so severe, even if we do nothing, unemployment will come close to zero. In the meantime, the FCP believes that only in a free-enterprise economy does the creation of wealth take place and productivity is best achieved. The FCP supports the long-term removal of all measures that insulate industries, businesses, financial institutions, professions and trade unions from domestic and foreign competition. Government intervention should be limited to work safety and protection of the environment issues. Finally, governments cannot create wealth, but can create the conditions in which small businesses and corporations can create wealth. The forces that contribute to the creation of wealth and jobs are need, ingenuity, labour, production, provision of services and the like. The FCP will help the private sector to create jobs by reducing taxes to stimulate investment and increase the buying power of the average citizen.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- I support it and my party supports it. Our current system is out-dated (1792). Under our current system 60%+ of the population is routinely not represented. Under the MMP system, the legislature will reflect true voting patterns. The burden of representation would decrease, on average, by 18,000 people for each legislator. Further, “list members” under the new system would be better caretakers of the whole province, rather than thinking in solely regional terms. The citizen’s assembly worked on the MMP proposal for 8 months, and voted for it by a majority of 94 to 8. Lastly, in countries with an MMP-like system, voter turnout has increase by an average of 10%, which is a good thing.
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?
- It would be a lot more beneficial to my campaign if I wasn’t on dial-up! I use email and websites, but technology is underutilized in my campaign. The only disadvantage to “new media” is that it may not be effective in reaching some demographic groups (e.g., low-income, some seniors).
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?
- Some investments in infrastructure was beneficial. The province will benefit as a whole if MMP passes. The persistent efforts to maintain an unsustainable healthcare system structure are the most damaging policies to the province, and the riding. 1 million people in Ontario still don’t have access to a family doctor, and this shortage is even more acute in the North. Life saving surgeries continue to be cancelled due to over-crowded emergency rooms, and the challenges in long term care are huge. The longer we wait to implement Medical Savings Accounts, the more difficult it will be to manage the healthcare crisis.