Local PCs launch campaign

Despite the overcast sky and light rain Sept. 7, the local Ontario Progressive Conservative party candidates running for MPP this October, held the official kick off to their campaign at the Kuntz building, which they rented in Kitchener.

Though only around twenty people were present, CTV News, the Waterloo Region Record, The Cord and Now Media were in attendance, capturing the PCs’ message to Ontarians as the municipal election quickly approaches.

Incumbent Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Elizabeth Witmer stood before the crowd and delivered most of the party’s message to the audience. Michael Harris of the Kitchener-Conestoga riding was beside her, as well as former CTV weatherman Dave MacDonald of Kitchener Center and former Wilfrid Laurier University professor Rob Leone of Cambridge.

“Today we’re kicking off our campaign to bring change to the Waterloo region,” Witmer said. “We want voters to know that they can make a choice to make life better.”

Currently, both the Kitchener Centre and Kitchener-Conestoga ridings are represented by Liberal MPPs — John Milloy and Leeanna Pendergast respectively. PC Gerry Martiniuk is currently MPP for Cambridge, however, he will not be seeking re-election.

The Conservative platform presented by the four PC candidates held many promises towards lowering taxes and making life more affordable. The phrase, “we plan on taking the H out of HST and hydro,” was mentioned numerous times.

“We’re going to lower family income taxes by 5 per cent on the first $75,000 – putting approximately $258 back in the pocket of middle class families,” Witmer said.

Witmer continued, saying that the PC plan on investing $6.1 billion to health care, and $2 billion toward education, is based on recognizing, “[that] these are important priorities for Ontario families.” Their main goal, Witmer said, is to “stop the waste and the scavenging of hard earned tax dollars. We’re going to stand up for Waterloo families and crack down on fraud.”

It was only a matter of time before the Liberal campaign was put under the Conservative spotlight during the speech.

“Dalton McGuinty raised taxes again, and again and again,” Witmer said, “even though he promised not to, wasting billions of dollars.”

She continued to say that McGuinty experimented with Ontario’s energy policy, driving up bills in the Waterloo Region, making businesses unaffordable to run or manage.

MacDonald said that one small business owner had told him, “If he knew how much red tape there was to go through, he wouldn’t have even started the business.” The Conservatives’ plans focusing a lot of time and energy to put money back into businesses.

When asked how the PC party plans on following through on all their monetary commitments, Witmer said, “We carefully costed our platform,” and continued to say that one financial plan was to ask, “every other ministry to reduce two cents on every dollar.” She then said that the PC party recognises that if they create an environment that will stimulate jobs, it will mean positive growth for Waterloo region.

The question of how the conservative party planned on capturing the elusive student vote was also raised this afternoon, to which the conservatives announced they are very much on the side of students.

“We plan to decrease HST off of hydro and home heating which will be helpful,” Witmer said. “And we plan on expanding the OSAP program so more students can qualify.” They also mentioned that one of the most pressing issues for today’s students is finding a full time job.

Leone said, “Students graduate armed with a great degree but no job prospects. Students want to be able to have a home, a job, a family and we want to provide these opportunities to students.”

“Most jobs students seek are full time but they end up being part time,” he continued.

Witmer finished the kickoff with a positive, optimistic closing. “We know we’re in a tough fight,” she said looking into the crowd, “but we plan to provide hope and opportunity and we look forward to working for the community.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its original publishing date.