Ian Arthur sits down with The Journal

NDP MPP Candidate Ian Arthur 
Credit: 
Supplied by Arthur's campaign

Ian Arthur is the NDP candidate for Kingston and the Islands.

How do you plan for your campaign to engage with students?

We want to run a really fun and young campaign so it’s going to be more social media driven than past campaigns. I think I am a good candidate for that and to really engage with youth on how they want to get involved. We’re going to have a youth branch of our volunteer group and hopefully we will get that engagement in canvassing and really active in the community.

Could you describe your main platform points or policy objectives?

We’re in the process of finalizing what the actual ONDP platform is, we have a vision document and kind of several key points we are hammering home right now until the actual platform comes out. Dental care for everyone is the one that has been in the news a lot, we’re very very committed to that. The so called “dental coverage” of the liberals is really not enough and we think that there needs to be a full universal program for all of Ontario and that includes students.

Students will be a large part of your constituency if elected, how will you advocate for student issues?

By talking to them. By actually engaging with them on campus and by listening to the issues that they have. We keep electing the same sort of people, like lawyers and businessmen and somehow we expect a different outcome in politics. I’m younger and I’m not that far removed from being a student. I remember a lot of the issues very personally that students struggle with now like graduating with a huge amount of debt. The ONDP is committed to switching the OSAP program into a grant program and to explore every avenue we can to make sure that students graduate debt free.

What has the current Liberal government done which you hope a NDP government would do different?

Everything. I could talk about this for hours. There are so many plans that the liberal government doesn’t have a plan for. You can talk about affordable housing which, isn’t addressed in the new budget. The 2018 budget is basically a platform piece. That’s what they are running on and they won’t even have time to institute it when they don’t get re elected. There’s no plan to get more full time professors into colleges or universities at all, they don’t even address it. They don’t even use the word “job poverty” when discussing the budget. Another key point in our platform is that we are going to reverse the sale of Hydro One and bring it entirely back into public hands. We want to run a transparent government. We want to consult people for every issue. We are the NDP, we are the party of the people and that does not get lost.

What do you see as the most pressing issues for students?

I think you have to look at the debt load that students are graduating with. We need to look at the increase of administrative fees skyrocketing and what is your money actually paying for. We also need to make sure that we have tuition at an acceptable level and that there is funding available to ensure students get to graduate debt free. The reason that it is the most pressing issue is that it compounds lots of things in university. We have an entire generation that has insurmountable debt, no prospect of ever owning property which for years was an indication of joining the middle class in Canada and it’s disappearing.

Tell me why you are the best candidate for the seat?

I think it’s important that I come from a different background. I have worked in kitchens, I have an undergraduate degree from Trent University in political studies and development. I do have an academic background, but I have worked my way up through little jobs. I have made connections and I have a small business background. So I fundamentally appreciate the role of unions and I support unionization and the right of workers to unionize. I also understand small business are a huge part of Kingston and we need to make sure that those people are represented well.

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