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Vrebosch makes 10-point pledge specific to Northern Ontario

' one wants to build affordable housing in Nipissing because it isn’t profitable for them. This is where a new Ontario Home Building Corporation will play a leadership role in building what we need — not just what’s profitable.'
2022 05 25 Tanya Vrebosch Platform (Supplied)
Tanya Vrebosch, the Ontario Liberal candidate for Nipissing.

With just under 10 days to go until election day, Tanya Vrebosch is releasing her 10-point pledge specific to what the Ontario Liberal Party candidate will bring to the Nipissing riding and Northern Ontario.

“We have a fantastic platform and it addresses many of the concerns that people in Ontario are facing,” says Vrebosch. “But, with so many pieces, some of which are less relevant in the North, I thought it would be best to make our own local platform. We can’t have cookie-cutter solutions created in Toronto. The North is unique and needs unique solutions — solutions I bring to the table. Steven Del Duca and our new Ontario Liberal Party stand by all the pledges I made and if we are elected, you will see them in action.“

See related: Liberals unveil northern platform

Vrebosch’s pledges include northern-specific commitments such as the return of the Northlander passenger rail service and the commitment to make Northern highways safer for travel. These safety measures include designating highways 11 and 17 as class 1 highways to ensure they receive the highest standards of winter maintenance and implementing a proven 2+1 highway model on major Northern highways.

The candidate's pledges also include province-wide commitments with some northern flair. For example, Vrebosch touts the buck-a-ride plan that is
province-wide, but speaks to its particular value in Northern Ontario.

See BayToday's candidate profile: For Liberal Tanya Vrebosch, helping people is her passion

“Our communities are spread out and although we are committed to bringing more doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers up north, they won’t be here tomorrow. In the meantime, the buck-a-ride plan will allow folks to travel down to Toronto on a Northland bus for only $1,” says Vrebosch. “If you’re a senior who no longer drives, your trip is about to get significantly more affordable. But it isn’t just about healthcare — if you want to go south to see a concert or a
Jays game, hop on a Northland bus and you can get there for $1.”

See also: Ontario Liberals promise $1 transit fares across the province; would cost $1.1B

Affordability is a common theme addressed throughout the platform, as is Vrebosch’s support for cuts to the gas and fuel taxes.

“We are living in extraordinary times and in Northern Ontario, we rely on gas a lot more than folks in Southern Ontario,” says Vrebosch. “We’re going to cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre. The conservatives have been using gas pricing as an election tactic, dangling it in front of the voters to help their re-election chances. They could have done this anytime but they didn’t. And then there’s the NDP. They say they’re going to reduce gas prices through regulation, but that strategy has been tried in other jurisdictions and failed. We’ve seen that regulation only increases gas prices, so it’s disappointing to see them trying to fool the voters with that.”

“But gas isn’t the only thing increasing in price lately. Looking at housing, North Bay actually topped the province this past year for per cent increase in home prices,” says Vrebosch. “While I think that says great things about North Bay being a desirable place to live, that’s not an increase that our prospective homebuyers can handle.

"We’re going to build 1.5 million new homes province-wide, many of which will be deeply affordable. And, to ensure that we get our fair share in Nipissing, we will be using both market and non-market approaches. The issue is that no one wants to build affordable housing in Nipissing because it isn’t profitable for them."

This is where a new Ontario Home Building Corporation will play a leadership role in building what we need — not just what’s profitable.”

Vrebosch’s pledges also include commitments to healthcare, education, supports for seniors, homelessness, mental health and addictions, northern workers and jobs, rent-to-own options, francophone rights, and autism services, among others, all focusing on how they will impact the Nipissing riding and Northern Ontario as a whole.

“There’s so much in this platform that will really help the people of our riding,” says Vrebosch. “We’ll ensure that seniors get the care they need to stay in their own homes as long as possible. We’ll review the funding formula for elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools to ensure that northern schools are getting treated fairly. I really hope everyone gets the chance to read the platform because it addresses the concerns that I’m hearing from people every day.”