1) What made you decide to run?
Marc Laferriere: “When I was 14 I first got involved in politics at the local level… We didn’t have any city bus access while all the other high schools in the city did… I made a petition, got signatures, mobilized friends and went to city hall with several of them…That route is still one of the most used bus routes in the municipality. I guess you could say that’s when I got the political bug.”
Phil McColeman: “I want to continue to do the good work I was fortunate enough to undertake on behave of the community since I was first elected in 2008… It is my desire to continue to make good things happen in our community.”
Rob Ferguson: “The libertarian party… inquired about me running for them… It was a decision I pondered for quite some time because I had never done federal politics from a candidate perspective… The first reason I chose to run is to learn from it, the other reason is I want to make a difference in peoples lives.”
Kevin Brandt: “I’m running because I believe in the pragmatic policies of the GPC. As a proud Canadian, I think that ‘Vision Green’ would improve our national economy and sovereignty, our democracy, our environment, and the everyday lives of our fellow citizens.”
Danielle Takacs: “… I have come to see first-hand how government works, the good and the bad. I have also seen many decisions made that I felt were wrong. I want to do all I can to use my skills to fight for the people of our community and deliver results for them on their priorities. Brantford-Brant has given me so many opportunities I want to give back and know I have the skills to deliver.”
2) What major changes do you intend to bring to Brantford?
Marc Laferriere: “It’s not just time for a new leader but a new style of leadership locally too – a little younger, hungrier and more focused on the next 40 years instead of the next 4… I don’t focus on big spending and flashy advertising when I run but instead on community development principles… I hope that doing things differently, more accessibly and community focused could be a lasting legacy that catches on across the country.”
Phil McColeman: “Making sure we look at every possible way that Ottawa can help this community.”
Rob Ferguson: “It’s not what we will do it’s what we won’t do. We want to reduce the size of government and return some of those personal liberties, that government provides now, back to the individual.”
Kevin Brandt: “I’d like to reinstate the Grand River into the Navigation Protection Act… We need to improve public transit rather than build more highways and parking lots… I… will bring the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee to Ottawa on behalf of Six Nations.”
Danielle Takacs: I want to see major investments in affordable housing, infrastructure and a new tone brought to working with our municipalities, universities and students. I want to see our local economy moving again.
3) What are your top priorities?
Marc Laferriere: Quality and quantity of jobs, health care and affordability are three of the top issues I hear about… we can invest instead in training, innovation and helping small business hire. We should be working with the provinces on a pharmacare program that will save money and cover people’s medicine… One of my top priorities will be to utilize my social work, community building and work ethic to be the best constituency MP this riding has ever had.
Phil McColeman: I will do everything I can as a member of parliament to make sure we get the support from the federal government… to have a healthy local economy. Making sure I serve the citizens of Brantford at the highest possible level.
Rob Ferguson: “We are big on freedom and small on government so our top priority would be to get Government off the back of the individual… To reduce government size and… government budget would be my second priority.”
Kevin Brandt: “… democratic reform, ending poverty, building a sustainable economy, improving healthcare and education, implementing a fairer tax system, solving the climate crisis, investing in small business, securing retirement for seniors, and housing.”
Danielle Takacs: A) “Addressing the affordable housing shortage… Helping to further develop Laurier and our downtown… Establishing a more respectful and collaborative relationship with local First Nations… Supporting our local agriculture and family farmers… Supporting our local veteran’s… Support our senior’s to provide them the comfort they deserve in retirement.
4) What is being done specifically for unemployment?
Marc Laferriere: We need to invest in education including skills training and help small businesses that hire more often by lowering their taxes from 9-11%… We’re also proposing a $15 minimum wage for workers in federally regulated industries, which will help over 100,000 Canadians… I also personally believe that the issue of temp work in our community needs to be addressed by government…”
Phil McColeman: Unemployment… is at the lowest level it’s been in a long time in Brantford/Brant. What I would continue to do is encourage expansion of companies… It is my belief that private companies create jobs and individuals who invest money create jobs, and we will continue to support those initiatives in the local economy…”
Rob Ferguson: “Government doesn’t create jobs… businesses create jobs. Once we understand that then we can understand that the issue with employment will be government getting in on the equation.”
Kevin Brandt: “We will help out the real job creators by reducing small business taxes. By investing in renewable energy, we will create a mass of ‘green collar jobs’, and we will free markets that are crushed under the weight of bloated multinational monopolies.”
Danielle Takacs: “… I’m proud to support the Liberal infrastructure plan that will almost double infrastructure investments over the next 10 year, with new investments of $60 billion. This plan will provide new, dedicated funding for social infrastructure that prioritizes affordable housing and seniors facilities, early learning and child care, and educational, cultural and recreational infrastructure.”
5) What is being done specifically for housing?
Marc Laferriere: New Democrats have the strongest record of advocacy on affordable housing and this election alone we have proposed a tax break to encourage the construction of 10,000 affordable rental units in the next 10 years, $5 billion by 2019 to help cities fund infrastructure like affordable housing and transit, continue the $440 million Ottawa invests currently, invest in shelters for survivors of domestic abuse to help create and renovate hundred of shelter spaces and help housing cooperatives by renewing operating agreements as some examples
Phil McColeman: “We have been able to put a fair amount of federal resources into co-op and non profit housing. We announced the project… of 138 units being constructed on Grand River Ave. On the general housing, meaning private housing… we have brought in programs [such as] renovation tax credit.”
Rob Ferguson: “Right now the cost of living is pretty astronomical and the income that the average person makes is pretty steady over the last 10 years… we need to lower the cost of housing…”
Kevin Brandt: “The Green Party will create and implement a National Housing Plan to provide every Canadian with a place to call home. Our plan includes concrete steps for a seniors’ housing plan, a First Nations plan, a plan for social housing, and for affordable market housing. We will also utilize a ‘Housing First Approach’, a one-on-one outreach initiative that houses chronically homeless people…”
Danielle Takacs: “The Liberal Party will put in place a national housing strategy with a strong focus of meeting affordable housing needs. Our policy was greatly informed by the roundtables that Adam Vaughan (MP and Affordable Housing Critic) and I had at Laurier Brantford with students and those who work in housing in our community.”
6) Do you have any Laurier specific plans?
Marc Laferriere: I love Laurier. I look forward to working with Laurier on smart expansion and on ways we can help federally to increase the variety and depth of the programs here.
Phil McColeman: Just to continue to support the growth of Laurier locally… I was on the Laurier board of governors for many years… We were talking about a size of campus that would reach around 10,000 students eventually. I know we’re not there yet and there is a lot more to do… and I will go to bat every time there is a project or an initiative that Laurier wants to take to Carleton campus.
Rob Ferguson: Libertarians believe that education is a personal choice and really the government shouldn’t be involved… Right now we have basic student loans from the government and it is high interest… By opening up the markets in a sense … we can have smaller companies offer student loans at a smaller rate.
Kevin Brandt: “The GPC will forgive 50% of an individual’s student loan upon graduation. We will increase federal transfers to provincial governments, earmarked and tied to post-secondary education. We will increase federal student grants by 25%. We will extend the payment grace period to two years after graduation in which time loans are interest-free.”
Danielle Takacs: “I understand that Laurier are interested in partnerships in development in the downtown area. I want to be an ally to the students and university to do all I can to get funding for what you see to happen. My commitment is to being your ally in Parliament.”
7) How do you expect to get Laurier students excited about voting?
Every year I hold a free youth leadership conference in the community to remind people young and old how important student voice is in our community… This campaign we’ve worked with youth to create videos with and for them on voting topics and will be holding a youth ideas incubator night led by young people in the community for young people. Anyone looking to be a part of that should email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil McColeman: We have had more students involved in our campaign this time around then we have ever had… We are doing some outreach to the students at Laurier, we are going to be doing a couple of events with the students that are hopefully going to get them engaged in the campaign.”
Rob Ferguson: “Your vote is needed weather you are a student or a permanent local resident, your vote is needed to make a difference. I think the debate circuit will engage the students quite well.”
Kevin Brandt: “We have a table at orientation week’s “Get Involved Fair”… which we hope will allow us to reach out to more students… I will also attend any debate hosted by Laurier in order to spread our message of ending the “debt sentence” that many students face.”
Danielle Takacs: “… I want to show students that their voice matters and their vote can make a difference… It is their perspectives I want to hear more from and whom I want to amplify.”