Talk:Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Suzanne Fortin, Nepean-Carleton
Hi. This is Suzanne Fortin, the Family Coalition Party candidate in Nepean-Carleton. Here are my answers to your questionnaire.
Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process?
I decided to run because I like to tackle problems when I see them, and not sit one the sidelines. I like to take the initiative to contribute to my community.
Why did you choose to run in this constituency?
Nepean-Carleton needs a candidate to represent fiscal and social conservatism and I wanted to give voters the chance to express their support for those views.
What prior political experience do you have?
I was involved in the federal NDP youth caucus when I was in college, as well as the provincial Liberals in Quebec (I lived in Quebec City at the time). I also volunteered for the Conservative Party in the last federal election.
What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?
I think my background in customer service is an asset. When I was in the paid labour force (I am now a stay-at-home mom) I was a very conscientious employee, always trying to give good service and finding ways to do my job better. I had a lot of initiative and good problem-solving skills. I’m not the kind of person who just does a job for the sake of a paycheque. I find that boring. I think that this attitude will make me attentive to my constituents’ concerns.
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why?
I believe that the Progressive Conservative party is the biggest challenger because they do attract social conservatives who want to fend off the election of a Liberal government. The social conservative voters cling to the hope that if the PC’s don’t actually implement social conservative policies, they’ll at least forestall a further slide into social breakdown. It’s a natural reaction in our First-Past-the-Post System, where voters tend to vote according to the perceived leader and not according to what they really want. Unfortunately, the PC’s just about never deliver on social conservatism, and their fiscal conservatism isn’t very strong this time around.
What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
Aside from the personal qualities mentioned above, I think my commitment to fiscal and social policies makes my candidacy most attractive.
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?
Nepean-Carleton is a very family-oriented riding, so the important issues revolve around education, taxes and healthcare.
On the education front, the Family Coalition Party recognizes the parents as those primarily responsible for the education of their children. We therefore propose a voucher system, where parents receive a voucher for each child and use it to fund the school of their choice, whether public or private, religious or not. This system would stimulate competition between schools and allow for greater local initiative, as there would be a greater opportunity for private individuals to start schools and fill needs without having to go through the public system.
With respect to taxes: we propose that the personal and spousal exemption be raised to $14 000 a year. We also think that there should be tax credits for each child in a family. We promote fiscal restraint so that we can keep down the tax burden.
On Healthcare: We propose a greater involvement of the private sector, while implementing a system of medical savings accounts. This system would be paid by the government, but insurance coverage would be provided by a private insurance company. The account would consist of $2000 for each resident, paid by the government. Whatever part of this account the individual does not use during the year will be rolled into an RRSP to help fund a retirement pension. If treatments cost more than $2000 a year for an individual, the insurance company covers those payments. The patient would not have to spend any of his own money, but he would have an incentive to not use the system, and the money that is not spent would be invested. The insurance company would have an incentive to keep down costs. Hospitals would finance themselves through services rendered. If the patient chooses, he can purchase his own private insurance.
I would say that my three top issues are not entirely the same. Personally, I believe that the most urgent issue is the absence of legal protection for unborn children, and the fact that our tax dollars go towards paying for abortions. Most people favour de-funding abortion, because they recognize that scarce healthcare dollars should go towards treating injury and disease, so I don’t think this is very controversial.
This top issue of mine is interrelated with my other two top issues, as well as taxation that I mentioned above. They are democratic reform and eliminating excessive bureaucracy. Eliminating bureaucracy means less government and fewer taxes. That way, families can rely on themselves and not have the government tell them how to spend their money. In this way they are somewhat interrelated.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
I would say de-fund abortion and review government spending and departments to find savings and cut taxes.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
No, because the jump in property taxes has not been accompanied by an increase in services. The downloading of social services had a very negative impact on municipal finances and they have difficulty in balancing their budgets. Municipal taxes should not go to pay for services that are of provincial jurisdiction. The system has been especially unfair to rural citizens whose cities were forcefully merged without their consent.
As an aside, my party favours eliminating the school portion on property taxes, as it is an unfair system.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
The province should create a favourable business climate by paying off the debt and eliminating unnecessary government bodies, or merging others, which in turn would lead to lower taxes and more incentive to do business in Ontario.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
I strongly support MMP as it would lead to a legislature that reflects the wishes of the people of Ontario. One of the reasons why Ontarians don’t get the government they want is that the First-Past-the-Post system provides an incentive to vote for or against the perceived front-runner, but essentially penalizes voting for a smaller party because it gives the impression of wasting one’s vote if the candidate does not win. MMP allows people greater choice in that sense—you do not have to vote for the first- or second-place party for your vote to count.
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?
Given the fact that I work for a small party, it’s very beneficial. Voters can now have easier access to our candidates and we, as a party, can create more visibility. I operate SoConBlogs.com, which is an aggregator of blogs that support the Family Coalition Party. This has helped raise the party’s presence, especially in the blogosphere, where many politically savvy people get their information and exchange views. Facebook has also been very useful in helping me find supporters and people willing to help out with the party.
Of the decisions made by Ontario's 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your electoral district? To the province as a whole?
I really had to job my memory on this one. I would say the referendum to allow a vote on MMP.
Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your riding? To the province as a whole?
I think the same-sex marriage law. It does not take into account the function of marriage in a society and the interests of the child. The state has no interest in marriage unless it’s about the rearing of children, i.e. future citizens. Formalizing relationships that cannot result in more children (born naturally or adopted), or which deny children a parent of one sex is not in the interest of the common good. Gender is not something that is accidental or human-made. It is part and parcel of human identity, and ignoring the realities of gender and childrearing will only lead to more social upheaval.
I also think the health premium was very negative as it to the tax burden of working families, and Dalton McGuinty had promised not to raise them. He could have found savings by reviewing spending in other departments, but he didn’t have the courage to do that.