Bob Bailey thinks the main issues in Sarnia – Lambton are the same issues all Ontarians face: access to health and long-term care, affordability of electricity, and massive provincial debt.
Currently, Ontario is paying 1 billion dollars per month in interest alone. To put that into perspective, our province has more debt than the entire American state of California, and California has a population that is higher than all of Canada. According to Bailey, this increasing debt is not because of a revenue problem; its because a spending problem.
What do the Conservatives think they can do about the provincial debt?
Bailey believes the answer is removing the Green Energy Act. “Billions have been committed to Green Energy. We need to look into every contract – any contract that hasn’t started yet, won’t start, and if there are some that we can get out of, we should pay them off upfront rather than over 20 years.” Bailey continues: “Anybody who gets into bed with the government who makes all the rules, and thinks a new government can’t change those rules, is a fool.”
The Green Energy Act is also to blame for the high cost of Hydro, according to Sarnia’s MPP. “Wind and solar energy has not replaced the current system.” Bailey criticized the Liberal government for using misleading buzzwords, saying they always try to use the word “fair” when they talk about hydro. “Fair hydro. Fair this. Fair that. My fair lady.” He laughed. “93 billion dollars over 20 years is not fair.” Recently announcing a 25% decrease on energy bills, Bailey further questions why this is something the Liberals should be proud of when you consider that energy bills have more than doubled since they’ve been in power. “We need to scrap every Green Energy contract we can.”
Another topic close to the hearts of Ontarians is healthcare. Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford recently announced his commitment of 15,000 long term care beds in the next five years, and up to 30,000 over the next decade. According to a Lambton-Kent-Essex LHIN report from June 2017, there were 660 people on the Long Stay Waitlist. Alluding again to the debt, Bailey asks: “How far could 1 billion dollars a month (in interest) go towards funding the care Ontarians need?”
In addition to physical health care, mental health and addictions are issues that touch many in Sarnia -Lambton. Bailey praised the importance of people coming out and sharing their stories, noting he believes “people should have never been ashamed in the first place” and that he supports the work local agencies have done in reducing stigma. Bailey says he’s worked with St. Clair Child and Youth and the Deker Bauer Foundation and says “it all comes down to more money and highlighting the issues.” Bailey is set to make a statement in the Legislature regarding St. Clair Child and Youth’s “Face Off for Mental Health” – a partnership between the children’s mental health agency and local hockey associations to raise the profile of mental health issues for children and youth.
Other issues according to Bailey include his dislike of what he calls the “overregulation of Ontario.” Citing the move to a one phone call system – “Call Before You Dig” – Bailey believes this was a great change in terms of cutting through government red tape when residents want to do work on their own property. Prior to the one call system, some people needed to make upwards of 20 separate phone calls before they put their shovels in the ground. Now, residents make one phone call to receive information on what may be buried beneath the surface of their properties. “If we win the election and the premiere asks me what the first thing is I’d like to do this term, I’m going to tell him I’d like to form a red-tape committee and reduce the bureaucracy in Ontario. British Columbia did it, and we can too.”
2018 is a big year for politics: it marks the Sarnia municipal election, a provincial election, and Canada’s move to legalize cannabis. When asked his stance on legalization and the proposed “LCBO style” business model for sales, Sarnia’s MPP has his hesitations. “I’m old enough to remember the movies,” says Bailey, joking about Cheech and Chong. “Now I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but I have my concerns.” He is concerned that, being a border city, we may have what he calls “toking tourists.” “How is that going to affect our police? I’m concerned about training the officers and the extra resources the police force and municipal governments are going to get for it.” Not something he intends to partake in, he is hesitant toward the wide-open sale of recreational cannabis, citing concerns about not only police resources but location, control, and marketing of the product. He says he would like to learn more about it with the currently proposed LCBO style business model before it moves to the private sector. While he does support the new Enniskillen Township facility set to grow medical marijuana plants later this year, he states his support is because of the jobs this operation brings.
Green Energy, Hydro, Debt, Mental and Physical Healthcare, Legalization and Overregulation: Sarnia – Lambton MPP Bob Bailey believes there are many issues Ontario is facing and would like to remind everyone he is here to listen to your concerns. Bailey encourages people to stop by his office and thanks residents for the honour and privilege of serving our area for the last 11 years. The provincial election is June 7th, 2018.