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ELECTION 2015: Bonnie North, Candidate for Barrie Innisfil Riding

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bonnie North - Green Party of Canada - www.bonnienorth.ca - @BonnieNorthGP
 

Bonnie North QUESTION: If elected, what will you do to help the business community in the Barrie Innisfil riding?

ANSWER: Small businesses, and the Canadians who own them, employ 70% of Canada’s private sector workforce, and are the central drivers of our economy. They create more jobs than any other part of the economy, providing stable, local employment. 

As an added bonus, their flexible nature allows them to respond to changing conditions and market demands, well before large corporations can take action. Putting small businesses first, means reducing red tape for small businesses, and enacting our “Think Small First” legislation, will ensure that new federal laws and regulations enhance, rather than hinder, economic conditions where local businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive. 

We will create federally funded, $1 billion dollar/year Green Technology Commercialization Grants, to accelerate emerging technologies and give Canadian entrepreneurs a head start. By facilitating increased access to early-stage financing, the Green Technology Commercialization Grant will help our entrepreneurs compete internationally. It will also enable good ideas to get to market, growing our sustainable economy and creating good jobs and opportunities in our communities. 

Furthermore, Greens believe that all policies which are good for Canadians should be adopted by us. Canada’s small businesses deserve fiscal growth and development incentives. The Green Party supports the proposal, in Budget 2015, to reduce the federal small business tax rate to 9%, by 2019.

QUESTION: There are distinct characteristics for each municipality in the Barrie Innisfil riding; as a resident, what are your top three priorities for each of these municipalities and why?

ANSWER: As your Green Party candidate, my three priorities are: 

  1. Mass Transit - Our mass transit requirements are severely underserved, inevitably necessitating that nearly every household owns one or more cars for daily commutes. We need accessible, reliable and affordable transportation between and within our communities, as well as between Barrie-Innisfil and the GTA. The current GoTransit limitations often force us to choose Highway 400 as our main transportation corridor. Efficient light rail, with coordinated buses, will break the cycle of exhausting gridlock and make our communities more livable.
  2. Employment - Currently, we have limited opportunities to choose local employment over the GTA, but we can improve this situation. I realize the critical importance of small business and the green economy to provide local employment choices. We will all benefit from green economy employers in Barrie-Innisfil, and I will work to encourage and incentivize the establishment of green economy employers in our area. I will also facilitate the establishment of small business incubators, partnering with our successful entrepreneurs and all government levels to do so. 
  3. Sustainable Agriculture - Much of Barrie-Innisfil is agricultural, and we must enable our farmers to enjoy continued success, grow healthy crops and sustain our rich agricultural heritage. I’ll work to expand our local food movement, and enable small and large scale agribusiness to feed our communities. We all benefit when we encourage the establishment of more community gardens, among other food growing innovations, and I will work to provide urban/suburban farming opportunities and incentives.

QUESTION: How do you plan to balance these priorities and serve each municipality with their different needs?

ANSWER: Balancing priorities can only be accomplished through direct engagement and communication. As the MP for Barrie-Innisfil, I will ensure that I participate in open dialogues, community meetings, and other forums, to hear directly from the leaderships of the municipalities, as well as the people themselves. Addressing these three priorities are appropriate for, and apply to, the entire riding, and each municipality has as much to gain from them as the others. This holistic approach empowers us to work together to solve our challenges, understand our unique characteristics, and identify all shared benefits. Addressing these priorities will also ensure that each person, as well as each municipality across the riding, functions comfortably, has desirable, gainful employment, and is presented with a sustainable, secure future.

QUESTION: What is the most important piece of your party platform for the Barrie Innisfil riding and why?

ANSWER: The most important Green Party platform for our Barrie-Innisfil riding, is our National Transportation Strategy. Presently, our riding is tied to one transportation corridor - Highway 400. This represents a critical limiting factor for successful growth and economic transformation in our riding. The Green Party is committed to the revitalization of our rail systems. While historically, we had benefitted from rail through Barrie-Innisfil, these days little more than a trickle of benefit exists. Our goal is simple: Re-invest in the infrastructure, safely increase train speeds, and create green transportation corridors, where the economic value of transportation is clearly evident. Barrie-Innisfil is primed to become a green transportation corridor, and by improving the existing rail and mass transit services, and shifting transportation away from Highway 400, our employment opportunities will increase, local employment diversity will grow and be supported, and our overall quality of life will improve, both for our commuters and for those of us who are locally employed in Barrie-Innisfil.

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