By Jenn Watt
Published March 6 2018
Caroline Mulroney one of four candidates to lead the provincial Progressive Conservative party into the June 7 election met with residents of Haliburton at the Legion on Monday March 5.
Her meet-and-greet session was part of her tour of the province to learn more about the concerns of Ontarians she told the Echo .
“It’s also important for me as someone who wants to be leader and premier to come to Haliburton so I can speak to members here about what challenges they see. What they face. Because those are the issues we need to speak to directly at Queen’s Park” she said in an interview. “We have to come up with the solutions on the ground in the different regions in this province. That’s one of the reasons that it’s essential that I be here today.”
Mulroney is running for leadership of the party but is also the PC nominee to represent the riding of York-Simcoe.
She points out she’s the only nominated candidate in the leadership race: “Somebody who made a commitment before the leadership came up to do the hard work to defeat [Liberal Premier] Kathleen Wynne.”
Mulroney who recently entered politics following a career in the private sector is joined in the race by Doug Ford Christine Elliott and Tanya Granic Allen. The race was triggered following the sudden resignation of then-leader Patrick Brown who briefly joined the race only to bow out soon after.
On Monday Mulroney started her day in North Bay travelling to Bracebridge and then to Haliburton before she continued on to Peterborough and Mississauga.
She attracted a crowd to the Legion to hear her speak and ask questions. Among the topics discussed were Hydro One improving internet connectivity in rural Ontario the judicial system and the infrastructure deficit.
Last week she released five priorities to tackle should she become leader of the party.
Her first priority is to support families she said highlighting the importance of quality child care spaces.
“I want to empower child care providers who are currently unlicensed to receive training that they need to become licensed” she said.
In an article published by the Toronto Sun on March 4 she also stated that families would receive “a refundable tax credit up to 75 per cent of the cost of child care with the greatest help to families with modest incomes.”
She also pledged to create 30000 long-term care beds in the province effectively eliminating the waitlist.
“The waitlist is so long” she said. “My plan is to meet that demand and build 30000 new long-term care beds in five years. We’ve got to do that. People are waiting too long for the care that they need.”
She also wants to accelerate the upgrading of the long-term care beds that already exist.
The primary issue rural and northern Ontario face is the sense of being left out of decision-making Mulroney said.
To grow the local economy she advocating reducing barriers to small business.
“We have to get government out of the way of business owners in rural communities. The cost of doing business just keeps getting higher and it’s making it harder for businesses to continue to operate in the communities that they love” she said. “And so we have to make sure that the cost of doing business goes down. That starts by reducing hydro. It starts by lessening the regulatory burden that is so costly for small businesses.”
Voting is underway among PC party members with the new leader to be announced March 10.
Whoever is chosen will lead the party into the provincial election on June 7.