Candidates talk strategy

Four provincial candidates discuss campaign tactics

This is the first year that Queen's University has had on-campus advanced polling offered to students and the surrounding Kingston community.
This is the first year that Queen's University has had on-campus advanced polling offered to students and the surrounding Kingston community.

Local provincial candidates have adopted different strategies to secure the student vote in the approaching Oct. 6 election.

Incumbent John Gerretsen from the Liberal Party, Mary Rita Holland from the New Democratic Party (NDP), Rodger James from the Progressive Conservative Party and Robert Kiley from the Green Party are all vying to become the next MPP of Kingston and the Islands.

When asked about how he has appealed to the student population, Gerretsen said that he’s a straight shooter.

“You have a problem, you look for a solution … that’s what makes me a Liberal,” he said.

The Liberal Party stands behind the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), which consist of 14 non-profit corporations that determine the health care priorities of different regions in the province. Gerretsen said it’s important that health care decisions aren’t made solely at Queen’s Park.

“We have to bring much more of the services to where the people live,” he said.

Gerretsen said he decided to run for MPP again because he has more to contribute to the Kingston community.

“Nobody would be involved in politics if you didn’t enjoy it. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

NDP candidate Mary Rita Holland said she decided to run for MPP because of her family’s struggle to make ends meet.

“I always thought the government had the means to make these policy changes that would help people move forward without generations of poverty,” she said.

According to election-prediction site, the NDPs and the Liberals are in the lead for the Kingston and the Islands riding.

“Our numbers are overlapping a little bit so it looks like we’re running a very close second,” Holland said.

The NDP’s post-secondary education strategy, which includes a tuition freeze and taking the interest off of student debt, has received positive feedback, Holland said.

“The Canadian Federation of Students has rated all of the post-secondary platforms and ours got the best rating,” she said.

Conservative candidate Rodger James said he’s applying Henry Ford’s strategy in this campaign.

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise. That’s what I’m doing,” he said.

When asked about the AMS voting campaign, James said he felt the Conservatives are underrepresented at Queen’s.

“I’m surrounded by Liberals when I go to Queen’s … that is going to influence a lot of people because you’re voting for your brethren.”

James said that the Conservatives don’t support the Local Health Integration Network.

“What the LIHNs is used for is to take administrative dollars off of direct patient care, which is where we want the money spent,” he said.

Green party candidate Robert Kiley, B.Ed ’12 said his strategy for appealing to students is just being himself.

“The person running for office just needs to be authentic with who they are,” he said.

While the Liberal government has made a good start with clean energy policies in Kingston, Kiley said, there are still problems that need to be addressed.

“We need to have a rigorous injection of the Clean Energy Act,” he said.

As a politician, Kiley said he wants to inspire people.

“Yes, there are problems with the voting system, but let the electorate decide based on your vision. Stop telling them what they want, because they know.”

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