Aggregate Issues Dominated May 29th Dufferin Caledon All Candidates Meeting

Forget power plant scandals, gridlock and failed budgets. If you ask Dufferin County, the upcoming provincial election is about aggregate.

At the first two all-candidate debates for Dufferin-Caledon, pits and quarries has dominated the line of question posed to the four candidates vying to become the riding’s next MPP.

Melancthon Coun. Nanci Malek posed the first question on the management of Ontario’s pits and quarries during the second debate hosted by the Greater Dufferin Area Chamber of Commerce (GDACC) at Glenbrook Elementary School in Shelburne on Thursday (May 29).

Malek asked why the province has failed to report on the amount of aggregate exported outside of Ontario since 2000.

“We have had a Liberal government in for 11 years,” said PC incumbent Sylvia Jones.

Liberal candidate Bobbie Daid told Jones she was the voice at the table for the riding.

“I’d be happy to raise this in caucus and work with the community,” Daid said. “I’ve already talked to the premier. I’ve told her we have a problem with aggregate.”

Green Party candidate Karen Wallace also blamed Jones for a lack of local action at Queen’s Park.

“Sylvia you’re our MPP and this is a huge issue in our riding,” Wallace said. “This should be something that you’re in front of the media and in front of the house demanding.”

NDP candidate Rehya Yazbek noted transparency is vital for government.

“There hasn’t been any reporting by the Liberals and we haven’t had our own MPP stand up for it,” Yazbek said.

While aggregate issues ruled the meeting, transparency in government became a recurring theme.

Carl Cosack, chair of the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT) asked Jones when she found out about the once-proposed Melancthon mega-quarry and if she ever talked to lobbyists about The Highland Companies’ plan.

“In 2008, this was referred to as the Melancthon quarry,” Cosack said.

Jones noted endless rumours were circulating when Highlands purchased about 2,300 acres in the north end of the county.

“I’ve met with hundreds of people about hundreds of issues,” Jones said. “It in no way means I endorse what the issue is. This form of questioning is beneath you.”

The Green candidate said if she had heard rumours, she would be meeting with her constituents.

“Instead she was with her Tory friends,” Wallace said. “I find it insulting that you didn’t help your community. To this day, you’ve never made a public statement about that.”

Daid added “it’s clear” the riding needs an MPP that has dialogue with the government.

“I’m listening to your needs and they’re strong and they’re loud,” Daid said. “We’ve been this loud and our member hasn’t heard over the last seven years, we’ve made a mistake at the ballot box.”

If lobbyists at Queen’s Park discussed the quarry plan, residents should have known, Yazbek said.

“MPPs have to listen and hear the people of their community, not protecting corporations,” she said.

The candidates were also asked who donates to their campaigns and if corporate or union contributions would translate into future favours.

Wallace said the Dufferin Caledon Green Party does not accept corporate donations.

“We’re a grass roots organizations. Feel free to write your personal cheques on the way out the door,” Wallace said.

Daid said she has yet to receive a corporate donation.

“It is unfortunately very expensive you do need a lot of love money,” Daid said.

Yazbek told the crowd she looked into donations made in the 2001 election. She found the Liberals spent about $60,000 while Jones campaign cost upwards of $70,000.

“It was quite shocking because I plan to spend around $5,000. I don’t even know how you can spend that much,” Yazbek said, adding her employer has contributed $1,300 to her campaign.

Jones explained there is no limit to what a provincial candidate is allowed to spend on a campaign.

“There are no strings attached to those donations,” Jones said.

She urged those interested in who contributed to her campaign to visit the Elections Ontario website.

“I’ve been the member since 2007,” Jones said. “I’m not going to be able to cover it in two minutes.”

At the end of the two-hour debate, the audience enthusiastically begged for the candidates to answer more questions.

“Unfortunately, some of the candidates have to leave,” said moderator Ron Munro.

The Caledon Chamber of Commerce hosts the next debate for Dufferin-Caledon on Thursday (June 5) at James Bolton Public School in Bolton at 7 pm.

By Bill Tremblay
Published in the Orangeville Banner, May 30, 2014

 

Aggregate, hydro costs rule Orangeville debate

orangeville-debate
 MPP hopefuls  
Chris Halliday (Left to right) Green Party candidate Karren Wallace, Progressive Conservative candidate Sylvia Jones, NDP candidate Rehya Yazbek and Liberal candidate Bobbie Daid squared off in a provincial election debate in Orangeville on Tuesday (May 27

Aggregate issues hijacking a provincial election debate in Orangeville?

That would be a given in Shelburne, but revisiting the mega-quarry fight and new threats were the pièce de résistance at the first of two election debates hosted by the Greater Dufferin Area Chamber of Commerce (GDACC) on Tuesday (May 27).

Question after question about the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA), a piece of provincial legislation perceived to be flawed by many of those in attendance, were put to those vying for the MPP seat in Dufferin-Caledon.

Read more...

Aggregate fears mounting in Mono

MonoPit web   Content
Photo by Chris Halliday
Contractors have already started to install observation wells to monitor the water table on the property in Mono.

Things are likely to unfold differently than the mega-quarry fight did in Melancthon, but the potential for another confrontation is starting to brew in Mono.

Members of a newly formed community advocacy group, Protect Mono, are fearful an aggregate company that has acquired about 265 acres of property within the township wants to dig through Mono.

Read more...

Dufferin-Caledon voters’ choice on June 12: five candidates

By Bill Rea and James Matthews - Any possibility that Sylvia Jones might not be returned next month as Dufferin-Caledon’s member in the Ontario Legislature effectively vanished in recent days when four other candidates surfaced to do battle with the popular Progressive Conservative incumbent who got nearly half the votes cast in a similar battle in 2011.

In a riding that has been solidly Tory since Mavis Wilson joined a Liberal sweep in 1987, none of the other provincial parties have bothered to hold local nomination conventions and it wasn’t until this week that the Liberal, NDP and Green parties announced their candidates and the Libertarians said they’d picked the same candidate who garnered 250 votes in 2011.

Read more...

Food & water first election post cards

Wondering who to vote for in June’s provincial election? Food and Water First is here to help.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called the Thursday, June 12 election last week after NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced that her party would not support the Liberal’s budget.

In a new campaign, the Food and Water First group has printed special post cards that voters can use to ask their candidates questions about the agri-food sector, water resources and farmland.

Election-Postcard-Front--thumb

“Food and Water First is a non-partisan, grassroots organization,” said Shirley Boxem, Vice Chair of North Dufferin Agricultural Community Task Force. “This is not a Liberal issue or a Conservative issue or a Green issue. We are concerned about issues of fundamental importance for every person that all four parties should address.”

The post card highlights key messages about agri-food, water sources and farmland. It also asks residents and election hopefuls to protect and preserve the land and water that sustain us, for future generations.

Members of Food and Water First have already started distributing the post cards across Ontario. Creemore voters can find them at the 100 Mile Store, Curiosity House Books or Creemore Kitchen.
Food and Water First was formed to protest the mega-quarry that Highland Companies planned to build in Melancthon Township.

Although the Highland Companies withdrew its application for the mega-quarry in 2012, Food and Water First is still active in demanding the protection of our food and water.

To find out if you are on the voter’s list or where to vote, visit www.elections.on.ca.

By Kristi Green
Publishd in the The Creemore Echo, May 8, 2014