Editor's Note: For the 2019 federal election, TimminsToday teamed up with a journalism student to provide extra coverage on important issues.
The interviews conducted during this Q and A series were done by Dana Simpson from Algonquin College in Ottawa. The issues and topics of discussion focused mainly on youth and young adults in Canada and the Timmins-James Bay riding. The answers have been edited for length and clarity.
With the rising cost of housing in Ontario, what solutions are you proposing to help homeless youth in your community?
NDP Charlie Angus
With 2,000 homeless in a population of 44,000, the crisis in northern Ontario is extreme. We have plans to create 500,000 new units. The needs are great Canada-wide and for Timmins-James Bay they will be proportionate to region. The Indigenous housing as well is being specifically assessed for improvement. In addition to this, we are looking at making buying a home more affordable both Canada wide and in the north.
Liberal Michelle Boileau
What we’re doing is we’re building on the national housing strategy that the Liberal government introduced in the last four years which saw $55 billion invested over 10 years to help with the building of affordable housing. With this we plan to reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent by 2030. I’m definitely hoping to do a bit of work with the Liberal government to make sure that homeless rates are reduced by 50 per cent plus here in Timmins-James Bay.
Conservative Kraymr Grenke
We want to ensure that we keep costs at a moderate price so we can live properly, eat properly and stay healthy. We have a plan through universal tax credits to make sure the money is back in your pocket. We want to remove the carbon tax which was ultimately put in overnight without a plan for transportation. We must invest in ourselves through our environmental plan to ensure that our emissions are reduced but not by imposing taxes that will continue to increase gas prices and increase the cost of living.
Green Max Kennedy
We are looking at establishing a national housing program so that there will be affordable housing for everyone. We’re looking at implementing before the end of the four years up to $750 million into that for new builds and rental assistance. The second thing is to address poverty issues. Many people have to make a choice between medication and paying their bills and of course housing’s a big one so we’re looking at Pharmacare and guaranteed low income for everyone.
PPC Renaud Roy
In my community of Iroquois Falls, there is no homeless youth nor any homeless people. To my knowledge, there are some homeless people in Timmins, but I do not know whether they are youth, adults or seniors. Here in Iroquois Falls, we have several jobs available that no one seems to be willing to fill. There needs to be a bridge between these offers and the people who could benefit from these jobs. We need to empower community organizations to work and assist those who are closest to them.
Other topics in the Q&A series are: access to healthy food, access to jobs, better support for mental health and substance abuse issues, how to make students feel safer, support for LGBTQ+ youth, and support for the local ecosystem.
The federal election is Oct. 21. More local coverage is available here.