Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with NDP candidate Rick Morelli, Vaughan
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Rick Morelli is running for the NDP in the Ontario provincial election, in the Vaughan 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 have decided to run in this election because of my growing concern over the lack of fairness toward working people shown by the McGuinty Liberals. In my opinion, we need the restore the faith of people in government. This can only be done by governing in a fair and just manner for all Ontarians. The reason why I am running in the riding of Vaughan is because I have lived here for nine years, have two children attending school in the community and I co-own a local pharmacy, also located in the riding.
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?
- At the age of 22 I was elected as a trustee on the Metro Separate School Board, where I served for one term. I then worked for Minister Tony Silipo for two years in the Bob Rae NDP government. I moved over to city politics by working as the executive assistant to Toronto City Councillor Maria Augimeri for six years. I have spent the last eight years in retail pharmacy. As a business owner, I am very aware of fiscal issues and responsibilities. Managing a business requires you to do a lot with very little and to keep expenses as low as possible. I believe this skill set will greatly help me as an MPP.
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 biggest challenge to me is the Liberal incumbent, Greg Sorbara, Minister of Finance. This is due to his profile in the community. I am the best candidate in my riding because I understand the concerns of the working people and seniors in this community. I see them and talk to them everyday, and I understand why they are disappointed in the current McGuinty government.
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?
- The three most important issues in my riding are property tax reform, health care services and rapid transit. I agree with these three points. I would support the NDP position to reform the property tax system by up loading the download of services back to the province over a 10 year period and reforming how homes are assessed. I would support the re-listing of services such as eye exams, physiotherapy and chiropractic care. I would support the hiring of more nurses and provide real incentives to attract family doctors in Ontario. As well, I support key initiatives to bring rapid transit into Vaughan and I would examine the most cost effective way of establishing a network of LRT lines throughout York Region in order to encourage people to leave their cars at home.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- The first order of business for the new government should be to raise the minimum wage to $10/hour. No one should have a full time job and still have to live in poverty. Allowing full time employees to make at least $20,000/year would be better than the current situation.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- Property tax levels in Vaughan are not at a fair level for the services we receive. Many residents in Vaughan pay $4,000/year or more in property taxes. Our municipality is growing and the province just does not provide enough in terms of assistance for the continual growth.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- The first thing the province must do is create the position of jobs commissioner in order to save the manufacturing jobs that are left in this province. Under the McGuinty Liberal government we have seen 175,000 good manufacturing job leave Ontario. Before we can look at creating new jobs, we must do what we can to protect the jobs that exist.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- I support MMP. I think that MMP would be good for the NDP. Our party traditionally receives less seats in the house than we do votes on a percentage basis. MMP would force minority governments to rule more responsibly and to work closer with other parties.
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?
- The new media will note play a large role im my campaign but plays a very large and crucial role in the central party campaign. I believe it is beneficial. I can see the day when election signs and literature (hard copy) will not be necessary and most campaigning will be done via the "new media".
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