Essex County Counts to an Ontario PC Government That Will Get It Done.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Tecumseh, ON April 28, 2022)

The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario’s candidates Andrew Dowie (Windsor–Tecumseh), Trevor Jones (Chatham-Kent–Leamington) and Anthony Leardi (Essex) are delighted to provide their response to Essex County Council’s Essex County Counts position papers for the 2022 Ontario election. Essex County is an integral part of our region and is an important partner to all the surrounding municipalities and to the City of Windsor. We all win when we work together to Build a Better Essex, and Build a Better Ontario. Under the leadership of Doug Ford and a re-elected Progressive Conservative government, we’re excited to offer to Essex County residents a seat at the government table and to #getitdone for our region!

Trevor Jones
Ontario PC Candidate
Chatham-Kent-Leamington

Anthony Leardi
Ontario PC Candidate
Essex

Andrew Dowie
Ontario PC Candidate
Windsor-Tecumseh

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Media Contact:

Andrew Dowie
[email protected]

Warden Gary McNamara and Essex County Council

Essex County Civic Centre

360 Fairview Ave West

Essex, ON N8M 1Y3

May 28, 2022

Your Worship Warden McNamara and members of Essex County Council,

Essex County Counts to an Ontario PC Government That Will Get It Done.

As the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Candidates for the 2022 Ontario Election, we are delighted to respond to Essex County Council’s Essex County Counts position papers.

The undersigned have been privileged to serve as municipal elected officials in Essex County alongside many of you, and it is clear to us that only an Ontario PC Government under the leadership of Doug Ford will get it done for Essex County.

For each of Essex County’s six provincial election priorities, we are pleased to offer these specific actions supporting Essex County Counts from a re-elected Ontario PC government:

1) Provincial support to ensure the new Windsor-Essex Hospitals System is built.

Our PC government is getting it done by increasing healthcare spending more than any other government in Ontario’s history and by strengthening our public health care system, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and ending hallway health care.

When we were first elected, our healthcare system was broken, and we made real investments to fix it.

We are supporting the new Windsor-Essex Regional Acute Care Hospital to consolidate acute care services, while retaining the existing Ouellette site for urgent care and ambulatory services. Initial Stage 2 funding was made available in the amount of $9.8 million as part of the 2021 Budget, with Stage 3 and confirmed project timing included in the 2022 Budget.

We are the party saying YES to getting shovels in the ground. We are making long term investments in our healthcare system.

2) Increased and more stable funding for the rehabilitation and construction of roads, sewers, and water and wastewater services.

On May 3, 2022, our Ontario PC Party released a pledge to get it done. We will build highways and key infrastructure, including Highway 3.

Under the leadership of Premier Ford and the Ontario PC team, we have always been a government that builds. Our Budget 2022 outlines a plan that will put shovels in the ground on highways, roads, bridges, and public transit to fight gridlock and get people to work and home faster. Infrastructure boosts our economy and creates jobs and our government is making record capital investments as part of our plan to Build Ontario. Our historic plan will see over $158 billion invested in highways and key infrastructure over the next 10 years, including $20 billion in 2022-23 alone.

Ontario’s Plan to Build increases spending by an annual average of over five per cent over the next three years, with investments in health care, infrastructure and other critical public services. This will be accomplished while delivering a credible recovery plan that will eliminate Ontario’s deficit two years earlier than projected in the 2021 Budget.

The Province has made significant investments in the transportation sector and has completed a number of key highway projects since 2018. As of January 2022, the Ontario government released its quarterly P3 Market Update, highlighting 39 major infrastructure projects with an estimated value of $60 billion. This includes the province’s plans to proceed with the widening of Highway 3 to four lanes between the Town of Essex and Leamington. Construction began in March 2021 after a pause of over 10 years. This was a promise first made by the previous Liberal government in 2006. We are getting shovels in the ground faster, building smarter, and expanding and enhancing critical infrastructure that will pave the way for Ontario to bounce back stronger than ever.

Our government is connecting the province and getting people and goods moving faster with every kilometre of new road and new rail line, saving the people of Ontario time and money.

Each year, the Province releases the recipients of the Gas Tax program, which supports public transit in municipalities across Ontario. To make up for reduced gas sales due to COVID-19, the 2021-22 Gas Tax funding includes one-time additional funding of $120.4 million to ensure municipalities can support their transit systems. Funding for Essex County was distributed as follows, and as the municipalities are aware it can be used to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure:

  • LaSalle $ 284,859
  • Leamington/Kingsville $ 231,587
  • Tecumseh $ 171,226

In addition, the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) represents up to $30 billion in combined federal, provincial and partner funding over 10 years. One of the recently approved projects under ICIP is the creation of a new media arts centre in the City of Windsor by renovating a historic downtown church to provide more space for accessible, community-based and comprehensive media arts programming for residents of all ages in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton. The federal and provincial governments are investing over $2.9 million to this project.

In Essex County particularly, the following ICIP projects were approved for provincial funding:

Town of Amherstburg

Amherstburg Water Treatment Plant Reservoir Rehabilitation: The project includes the excavation and installation of a new reservoir at the Amherstburg Water Treatment Plant and the refurbishment of the interior of the existing reservoir. This project will improve access to potable water and increase the efficiency of the water treatment infrastructure. The provincial investment was $1,664,834.

Town of LaSalle

Reaume Road and Bouffard Road Watermain Replacement: Funding will support the replacement of over 4.2 kilometres of watermain along Reaume Road and Bouffard Road, the installation of 22 new fire hydrants and approximately 39 gate valves. Enhancements to water transmission infrastructure will increase its reliability and capacity. The provincial investment was $1,356,531.

Town of Tecumseh

Centennial Drive and Woodridge Drive Watermain: Over 1.75 kilometres of watermain along Centennial Drive and Woodridge Drive will be replaced, including 13 fire hydrants and the installation of water valves, services connections, and restoration of affected infrastructure. Once complete, this project will improve access to potable water by increasing the reliability and capacity of the transmission infrastructure. The provincial investment was $1,166,550.

Town of Kingsville

Banner Subdivision Watermain Rehabilitation Project: Funding for this project includes the replacement of more than 3.2 kilometres of watermains on Katrische Crescent, James Avenue, Owenwood Drive, Woodlawn Crescent, Commissioner Drive, Summerset Avenue, Parkdale Crescent, Stonehedge Drive, Coghill Drive, Allen Court and Long Court. Using trenchless technologies, the installation of the new pipes will also include replacing 24 fire hydrants and auxiliary valves, 235 water service lines and 26 in-line water isolation valves. The provincial investment was $966,603.

Municipality of Leamington

Replacement of Watermains in the Municipality of Leamington: A larger diameter watermain will replace more than 2.5 kilometres of watermain along portions of Wigle Street, Orange Street, Mill Street East, Setterington Street, Marlborough Street East, Fair Street and Gerrard Street. The larger pipes will increase the reliability and capacity of the watermains. The provincial investment was $849,915.

In addition, as part of Ontario’s ongoing efforts to build and improve local schools, the province has invested $81.5 million to improve and build new schools in Windsor-Essex. The Greater Essex County District School Board received approval to replace DM Eagle Public School in Tecumseh and to build a new school in Kingsville. The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board was also given the go-ahead by the province to create 147 student spaces and 63 licensed child care spaces and three child care rooms at St. Louis Catholic Elementary School in Leamington.

3) Increased funding for building and maintaining affordable housing, along with consistent and substantial funding for health and human services provided by municipalities.

The government is taking action to increase housing supply and make sure that everyone in Ontario can find a home that meets their needs and their budget. In the two years since the Ontario PC Government introduced More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, Ontario has seen record levels of new homes and purpose built rentals start construction.

In March 2022, the government introduced More Homes for Everyone, the next step in the government’s long-term plan to address the housing crisis and deliver on the Housing Affordability Task Force’s recommendations in partnership with municipalities. The government received the Housing Affordability Task Force’s report and it proposed a target of 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years.

The government’s plan to get more homes built faster would: 

  • Reduce red tape and create more homes.
  • Make it easier to build community housing.
  • Protect homebuyers, homeowners and renters.

To complement the significant progress being made to increase the supply of market rate housing, we will also make significant investments in community and social housing. A new, simplified Homelessness Prevention Program was created so service providers can spend less time on paperwork and instead focus on delivering services to vulnerable Ontarians, with an investment of $464 million. Since March 2020, we have provided nearly $1.2 billion to our municipal and Indigenous community partners to respond to increased need for housing supports during the pandemic. And we continue to push the federal government to pay their fair share of housing and homelessness prevention services, who are underfunding Ontario and our municipal partners by approximately $490 million.

4) Faster expansion of broadband service to rural areas.

Bringing high-speed internet access to every community across Ontario will bring new economic opportunities, create jobs and improve quality of life for families, workers and communities. In the 2021 Budget, the PC government increased its overall investment in broadband to nearly $4 billion beginning in 2019-20 to ensure every community in Ontario has access to high-speed internet by the end of 2025. Initiatives are underway to provide better internet access to homes and businesses across Ontario, including: 

  • Utilizing reverse auctions, a new innovative and transparent competitive process to provide high-speed internet access to at least 266,000 households and businesses.
  • Partnering with the federal government to support large-scale, fibre-based projects made possible by a joint investment of up to $1.2 billion.
  • Accelerating construction of projects such as new local services as listed below.
  • Investing more than $109 million in Telesat’s next-generation Low Earth Orbit satellite network.
  • Investing more than $63 million in the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology project to bring high-speed internet to 63,000 more homes, businesses and farms across Southwestern Ontario.

In 2021, the Province of Ontario committed up to $330,000 to help create more economic and educational opportunities in rural and underserved areas of Essex County through an improved modern broadband network. Construction of the new infrastructure network in the Lighthouse Cove community began service in October 2021. The project was valued at $2.1 million.

Construction is now underway on a new infrastructure network in Stoney Point, in partnership with Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Inc. This $3.7 million project will soon connect more than 945 homes, farms and businesses to reliable high-speed internet services starting in May 2022. The expanded fibre-optic service is supported by $850,000 from the Province of Ontario.

These projects will help ensure that farms and businesses in Essex County will have the ability to attract new customers, grow their business, create new jobs and stay competitive in an increasingly digital marketplace. Families in Essex County will also be able to connect with friends, family and their communities.

5) Financial support to address climate change.

Under the leadership of Doug Ford and the Ontario PC team, Ontario is leading the country in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We know that electric vehicles will play a large role in reducing emissions on Ontario. That’s why we are positioning Ontario and the Windsor-Essex region as a world leader in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.

This includes:

  • Securing Ontario’s first electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor with the largest investment in Canada’s history ($5 billion), creating 2,500 jobs and supplying the North American market.
  • Attracting a $3.6 billion investment from Stellantis to retool and modernize their assembly plants in Windsor to produce the electric vehicles of the future.

Our PC government knows that reducing emissions is a critical part to tackling climate change. That’s why we are getting it done by positioning Ontario as a world leader in the clean production of steel. Our government has partnered with Ontario steelmakers with a $500 million investment to replace coal burning ovens and blast furnaces with a low-emission electric furnace. This transformation alone will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by three million tonnes annually and eliminate one of the largest sources of pollution.

Our party is committed to protecting our Great Lakes and waterways for generations to come. Under the leadership of Doug Ford, Ontario has taken action to protect and restore our Great Lakes and waterways:

  • Provided $5.8 million in funding for the Great Lakes projects run by local communities, organizations, universities and Indigenous peoples.
  • Launched the Great Lakes Local Action Fund to support community projects that protect and restore coastal, shoreline and nearshore areas of the Great Lakes.
  • Supporting the Riparian Rangers of Essex with an investment of $24,025 to restore local riparian areas by planting trees and shrubs.
  • Invested $375,000 to collect plastic waste from marinas using plastic-capture technology.

Further, our PC government took strong action to address litter and waste. After years on Liberal inaction, Doug Ford and the Ontario PCs improved the blue box recycling program. Starting next year, Ontarians will see recycling in more communities, with a standard list of materials that can be recycled anywhere in the province. Only our plan makes producers of products and packaging fully responsible for the costs, saving municipalities and taxpayers money.

Doug Ford and the Ontario PC Party are working to protect and recover Ontario’s natural spaces and species and support conservation efforts to preserve Ontario’s rich biodiversity. A re-elected Ontario PC government will continue to expand Ontario’s protected areas and invest in nature-based climate solutions. This includes:

  • Collaborated with the Nature Conservancy of Canada by investing $50,000 to protecting species at risk while providing public access to and education about Pelee Island with a boardwalk, new trail, bird viewing spaces and educational signage.
  • Building the first new operating provincial park in 40 years, which will include modern, four-season facilities.
  • Invested $30 Million to the Wetlands Conservation Partner Program, the largest investment in wetland restoration in Ontario’s history.
  • Provided more than $12 million in funding through the Species at Risk Stewardship Program to support non-profit organizations, Indigenous communities and other stakeholder groups who are working to help protect and recover species at risk through local projects.

6) Reforming of laws and pooling of resources to reduce municipal liability and insurance costs.

On January 28, 2019, at the annual conference of the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association, our PC Government announced that the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario would open up consultations on joint and several liability, insurance costs, and the effect that liability chill has on the delivery of public services.

Premier Doug Ford advised at that time:

  • “We have heard your concerns about increasing insurance costs and the impact that these costs can have on property taxes, on municipal taxpayers and on the average Ontario resident.”
  • “We’ve heard your concerns about the ‘liability chill’ preventing everyday activities in your municipalities, like as simple as tobogganing or street hockey.”
  • “We need to make sure that vulnerable injured people are fairly compensated.”
  • “We will look at this evidence and develop a solution that makes sense.”

On July 12th, 2019, Attorney General Doug Downey wrote to the province’s municipalities regarding joint and several liability consultations which closed on September 27th of that year.

In March of 2022, a working group to study joint and several liability was convened. The working group is being coordinated by the Ministry of the Attorney General and will involve staff of several ministries, including finance and municipal affairs and housing, as needed. A representative of the insurance industry was also invited to participate. The government is keen to get this important work underway and is pleased to be working with AMO.

Summary

Essex County Counts to an Ontario PC Government that will continue to get it done under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford. As the only candidates for Essex County in this provincial election who have served as members of municipal councils, we look forward to collaborating with Essex County Council and serving as strong and effective Members of Provincial Parliament for Essex County in a re-elected Ontario PC Government.

With warm regards,

Andrew Dowie Ontario PC Candidate for Windsor—Tecumseh Town of Tecumseh Councillor (2014-Present)Trevor Jones Ontario PC Candidate for Chatham-Kent—Leamington Municipality of Leamington Councillor (2020-Present)
Anthony Leardi Ontario PC Candidate for Essex Town of Amherstburg Councillor and Deputy Mayor (2000-2006)