As usual the Haliburton Hospital Auxiliary's Italian Dinner at the Legion on Oct. 17 2015 was a sell out. Health care supporters enjoyed a hearty meal bid on auction items and donated dollars to the charity which provides needed equipment and furnishings for the Haliburton facility. JENN WATT Staff

Talking to candidates

By Jenn Watt

Published April 3 2018

Last week the Echo ’s sister paper the Minden Times published a story about the candidates who have declared they’re running in this riding in the upcoming provincial election.

As of press time there are only two: current PC MPP Laurie Scott and Libertarian Gene Balfour.

While there is still more than two months to go to election day the lack of choice is worrisome.

The provincial government sets policies that have wide ranging effects on our daily lives. It invests in health care regulates our wildlife funds tourism libraries and infrastructure among many other things.

On March 28 the Liberal government revealed plenty of spending in their budget for the next several years abandoning their previous commitment to eliminating the deficit.

From day care for children 2½ and older to funding for mental health expansion of pharmacare to internet investment there’s a lot of everything for almost everyone.

For some the funding is a welcome infusion to underfunded programs and services. To others running a deficit with a relatively strong economy is poor management of taxpayer dollars.

These are conversations that are important to have and the debate among voters will help shape what policies end up being proposed and implemented.

One of the best ways to have these conversations is locally which is why having few candidates emerge so far causes at least some mild concern.

In Hastings-Lennox and Addington to the east of us for example the PC Liberal and NDP candidates have been selected by the parties and they’re already familiarizing themselves with the area.

A meeting organized by residents in the Bancroft area airing frustrations about a variety of issues was attended by those three candidates who greatly benefited from the opportunity to hear what the people (the voters) had to say.

Here in the Haliburton Highlands having a sense of who is stepping up to the plate and putting their name forward would help encourage the kinds of conversations we need to ensure our specific issues are made clear to all parties.

Soon I’m sure we’ll get more information and more candidates will come forward but in an election where so much is at stake – health care day care the province’s debt climate change and much more – we need all the time we can get to inform ourselves on candidates and their policies.