By Max Setka 
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.
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!”
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.”
Greg Scholfield, 32, works as an investment strategist for a hedge fund company.
And just for fun, what is your favourite pizza topping?: “Bacon.”
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:
Daryl Kramp did not respond to QNet News’s questionnaire.