Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date run­ning on a plat­form of fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI

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

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