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Meet the candidates: Hastings–Lennox and Addington

By Max Setka [1]

BELLEVILLE – The new riding of Hastings–Lennox and Addington is preparing for its first provincial election June 7 as one of seventeen new ridings vying for seats in Queens Park. Progressive Conservative Todd Smith represented the area under the old riding boundaries but in 2015 they were redrawn and he’s now been reassigned to the Bay of Quinte riding.

All of the major four parties have candidates running as well as the Trillium and Libertarian parties. QNet News asked each candidate to answer a series of questions so voters could get to know them better before going to the polls Thursday.

NDP candidate:

Nate Smelle is a freelance journalist running for the NDP in Hastings–Lennox and Addington. Twitter photo

 Nate Smelle, freelance journalist, artist, environmental activist and son of small business owners.
Describe your two highest priorities for change in this riding: “From knocking on thousands of doors, and through my work as a journalist, I have seen how prevalent poverty has become throughout our riding. Sadly, I have also seen how little has been done over the past two decades by our provincial governments to address this tragic problem. The Ontario NDP has a comprehensive strategy that tackles the root causes of poverty, while addressing the specific and immediate needs of the people. There is a crisis of affordability in our riding that needs to be addressed now.”
“Ensuring that everyone who needs affordable housing, hydro, clean water, healthy food, dental care, pharmacare, long-term care and/or home care is a priority for me and the Ontario NDP. Everyone deserves access to the care they need and the basic necessities of life.”
How do you envision primarily communicating with constituents?:  “I believe that a healthy democracy requires an engaged and well-informed citizenry. I intend to communicate with my constituents directly, as well as online and in the media.”
What do you cherish most about this community?:   “Touring Hastings–Lennox and Addington during the campaign has reminded me how lucky we are to live in one of the most beautiful places in Ontario and Canada. We are also very fortunate to live in a community where people value one another and help our neighbours whenever we can. What do I cherish most? The people.
And just for fun, what is your favourite pizza topping?: “Hot peppers.”

Liberal candidate:

Rigby is a fourth-generation resident running for the Liberals in Hastings–Lennox and Addington. He and his wife have three children and reside on their farm in the Township of Stone Mills. Submitted photo

Tim Rigby, (who according to his campaign manager is “in his 50s,”) serves on the local board of administration for the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Describe your two highest priorities for change in this riding:  “This is always a tough question. I would have to say my two highest priorities for change are: 1) ensuring infrastructure funding for small rural communities. That’s why I am glad to see that Ontario’s Liberal government is tripling the Ontario Community Infrastructure Funding and setting aside two-thirds of that amount for formula-based funding that does not require an application. Broadband is also a critical part of infrastructure and I am pleased to see that the Ontario government has invested an additional $5K in digital infrastructure as part of the 2018 budget.

Addressing levels of poverty in the riding that are higher than provincial average, particularly levels of child poverty. I believe we all deserve a fair start in life, regardless of circumstances so I am pleased to see the changes already being implemented by Ontario Liberals to address the issue of fairness and inequality.”

How do you envision primarily communicating with constituents?:   “As an MPP I would probably follow in the footsteps of my federal counterpart Liberal MP Mike Bossio, who has set up constituency satellite offices throughout the riding, one of the largest in Ontario. This allows him and/or his staff to schedule face-to-face meetings with constituents who don’t then have to travel long distances to discuss issues with their MP. I would also schedule regular town halls and/or virtual town halls and make regular use of social media. As a candidate I am primarily communicating with constituents by canvassing door-to-door, doing meet and greets and making myself available for debates and presentations.”

What do you cherish most about this community?: “I love the fact that people in this riding are always ready to ‘help’  The response to emergencies, distress, etc has usua

And just for fun, what is your favourite pizza topping?:  “I like anchovies but no one in my family will allow me to put them on my pizza!”

Trillium candidate:

Lonnie Herrington  is a proud father of four adult children and a business owner. He is running for the Trillium party in Hastings–Lennox and Addington and resides in the the rural farm country area of Belleville known as Thurlow ward with his wife Lise. Submitted photo

Lonnie Herrington, 48, runs a local construction company, Herrington Roofing & General Contracting Ltd.

Describe your two highest priorities for change in this riding: “The top two issues we plan to address in Hastings–Lennox and Addington are hydro rates and business support for job creation.

Our plan is to return the price of hydro to a cost it was designed to be. The Trillium Party of Ontario introduced Bill 197 on Feb 22, 2018 (The Fair Electricity Act) which demands just that.

A more pressing concern is the lack of manufacturing and industry in Ontario…Trillium Party of Ontario will reduce regulations and bureaucracy by a minimum of thirty per cent. We will reduce our corporate rate to ten per cent or less to match our largest trading partner in the USA. We will offer business owners an after hours tax credit of $13,000 for all those hours after hours that employers put in to keep their businesses going. We will dissolve  WSIB and  put the program to the Ontario social assistance program so that we have better oversight. We will reduce personal income taxes for everyone by five percent with plans to find efficiencies to allow this level to increase.

As MPP for Hastings– Lennox and Addington I will introduce legislation to allow a tax credit to our farmers and their families of $60,000 against farm income. These families work hard for us , many times at a loss to their own families.

This is why I chose to run as a candidate. Someone with a business sense needs to be at Queens Park to look out for our business owners as well as their employees. My platform is geared around supporting small business.”

How do you envision primarily communicating with constituents?:  “It is very difficult to get to everyone no matter how hard you try.  Social media and lawn signs are one venue that we will be utilizing  but we have elected to use radio ads to reach the people of our riding. It is the most cost effective, time management effective and common sense way to reach the people of Hastings –Lennox and Addington.”

What do you cherish most about this community?:  “Hastings– Lennox and Addington is made up of a very diverse amount of communities. They are all part of our region and they all contribute to the greatness. Where else can you go from urban to rural and enjoy the multitude of ethnic backgrounds and tradition than H–LA.   If I had to come up with a single response regarding H–LA  I would have to say that family values are what I cherish most. No matter what ethnic background, religious beliefs, traditions, interests, the people of Hastings –Lennox and Addington are open and accepting of everyone. Like a very large family.”

And just for fun, what is your favourite pizza topping?: “I would have to say triple cheese. There is nothing like biting in to a slice of pizza , into that gooey goodness. Especially if it is a cheese made right here in Hastings–Lennox and Addington.”

Libertarian candidate:

Greg Scholfield, an experienced outdoorsman with a healthy appreciation for wildlife management and environmental protection, is running for the Libertarian party in Hastings–Lennox and Addington.  He grew up in the Bancroft area and now lives in Lindsay.  This will be his first foray into politics. Submitted photo

Greg Scholfield, 32, works as an investment strategist for a hedge fund company.

Describe your two highest priorities for change in this riding: 
 “My two highest priorities are education and job creation. I spent several years volunteering with youth in the Bancroft area and was constantly frustrated by the obstacles young people face securing a quality high school education. There are numerous opportunities for businesses in Hasting–Lennox and Addington, however, many businesses are overburdened by onerous government regulation which inhibit job creation and wage growth.”
How do you envision primarily communicating with constituents?:  “In a perfect world I would like to have constituents be able to call me directly. In reality, we’ll likely have to settle for Twitter: @GregScholfield.”
What do you cherish most about this community?:  “The strength of the people, their work ethic and their ability to balance the struggles of life with the beautiful surrounding environment.”

 And just for fun, what is your favourite pizza topping?: “Bacon.”

Green Candidate:

Sari Watson was born and raised in Stirling, ON. Her intentions for running as the Green Party candidate in Hastings–Lennox and Addington are to encourage conversation on preserving and protecting the natural environment  by transitioning, as a society, from fossil to renewable fuels. Submitted photo

Sari Watson, 32, registered massage therapist.

Describe your two highest priorities for change in this riding: “One of my top priorities for change in this riding is to ensure that rural ridings, such as the Hastings– Lennox and Addington, receive equal funding in spite of our geographical challenges as one of the largest ridings in this province.”

“My second most important priority is to protect and preserve our green space. Unlike comparable ridings in the province who have sold themselves out to urban sprawl, the Greens want a moratorium on expanding city limits to prevent urban sprawl.”

How do you envision primarily communicating with constituents?: “The means that best represent the regions of this riding. Whether that be town hall meetings, mail outs, phone calls, emails, social media, Skype sessions, newspaper articles, or Indigenous ceremonies, we want to ensure all voices are heard in this province, and represented in the provincial parliament, through any and all mediums.”

What do you cherish most about this community?: “The green spaces.”

And just for fun, what is your favourite pizza topping?: “Locally, sustainably, and organically grown vegetables and/or meat in Hastings–Lennox and Addington (steroid/hormone/antibiotic/pesticide/herbicide free produce).”

Progressive Conservative candidate:

Handout photo

 Daryl Kramp did not respond to QNet News’s questionnaire.