Conservative candidate running on a platform of fiscal responsibility
THERE’S BEEN A FAIR
amount of unusual happenstances surrounding the Ontario PC party these past months muddying the waters. Perhaps not in the least is shared name between the Kitchener Conestoga riding’s candidate Mike Harris, and the Conservative politician that he is hoping to replace, Michael Harris, with whom he shares no relation.
Rather, candidate Mike Harris is the son of the former Ontario premier Mike Harris, and it’s that familial connection Harris says gives him a certain aptitude and experience with politics.
“I’ve grown up with politics in my blood,” says Harris, a North Bay native who has been living in Waterloo for the past five years. “I’ve been around the political landscape for a very long time.”
“There’s been a big appetite for change at the doors. A lot of people are very concerned with the mounting debt and how we’re going to be able to pay that back. And of course the cost of living with sky rocketing hydro rates, utility rates, the price cost being very high, there’s a lot of people concerned that they’re not going to be able to afford some of those luxuries in life. And a lot of people are just concerned about putting food on their table.”
Of the three major parties, only the PC party are promising a swift balancing of the province’s books, though have yet to release a firm timeline on when that would happen. In the immediate term, the party has said they plan to continue running a deficit, but the party is still working on a platform under its new leadership.
“We’re the only party that is going to bring fiscal management back to Queen’s Park. And we’re the only party that is going to put money back into your pockets by lowering taxes, by lowering hydro rates, lowering gas rates, scrapping the carbon tax,” says Harris.
“There’s no reason for companies to be able to pay to pollute. There needs to be more regulation that’s put in place to make sure that we’re protecting the environment.”
But it is especially the cost of electricity and the debt being accrued to combat that is what drew Harris into current politics, he says. While the PC party and Liberal share some points in their plan to tackle rising costs, there are some key differences between them.
“There’s a major difference between what the Liberals have done over the last year to, we’ll say artificially lower rates by borrowing money to pay back into the system,” says Harris.
“So we’re going to return all of the Hydro One dividends to customers ... We’re going to stop the practice of burying the costs of conservation programs on hydro bills,” he says. “And there’ll be an immediate moratorium on any new energy contracts, so we’re talking green energy initiatives and those types of things, as part of the Green Energy Act.”
Mike Harris Jr