MPP candidates for Hastings—Lennox and Addington meet voters
It was a full house Thursday night at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee as four Ontario election candidates geared up to meet voters in the race to represent Hastings—Lennox and Addington.
This is a new Ontario riding that matches the one added to the federal election riding map in 2015.
The riding stretches north of Lake Ontario and runs north along highways 62 and 127. It includes most of Hastings, Lennox and Addington County.
The riding is considered too close to call, with less than two weeks left in the campaign.
There are six candidates in the race to be MPP for Hastings, Lennox and Addington but only four of them showed up to the meeting.
Representing the PC party was a familiar face for Eastern Ontario. Daryl Kramp is a former member of parliament for Prince Edward Hastings.
“I took a look at the situation that this province is in and I honestly just could not sit back,” says Kramp.
Tim Rigby was representing the Liberal party. Rigby is a fourth-generation resident of the Liberal riding, and a president of the local Ontario Liberal Association.
“I want to make sure that I bring in more energy and enthusiasm,” says Rigby.
Nate Smelle, a reporter from Bancroft This Week, is representing the NDP in this race.
“I’ve worked as a reporter for about six years and I’ve covered politics on all levels so I have a great understanding of provincial politics,” says Smelle.
Sari Watson, who grew up in Hastings, Lennox and Addington county, is representing the Green party.
“We want to bring unity and equity fairly across the board and give all Ontarians an equal chance,” says Watson.
During the debate, which was moderated by CKWS’s senior anchor Bill Hutchins, candidates highlighted what change they hope to bring to the community.
Rigby says “in spite of the fact that there were some rocky moments there, the hydro is in better shape then it has been in years, unemployment is at it’s lowest, our economy is doing better.”
While Kramp feels that “from a province that was the economic engine of Canada, and now we’re a have not province that’s not acceptable at all. I do feel that there are contributions that I can make that can help restore, a bit of integrity, accountability and some prosperity.”
Smelle is “seeing this crisis of affordability, where people cant afford to pay for their hydro bills, pay for the food on their table, pay their water bills, so I plan on fighting to make that change.”
While Watson really wants to “arm the teachers, staff and everyone working with the public, teach them how to handle crises such as all of which we are experiencing today such as bullying and violence.”
Community member Wayne Richard asked the candidates: “Will you be willing to speak for the rural concerns against the big pressure of GTA?”
To his question, Kramp said, “boy am I ever looking forward to that challenge.”
While Watson said, “the fresh air, the open landscape, the lack of congestion of cars these are the reasons I’m here, I want to protect that.”
Some questions stirred up a bit of heat towards Doug Ford. Another community member Ron Burlett posed his question to PC candidate Kramp, asking if Kramp sees “the relationship with your leader as an asset or is it an embarrassment?”
In response, Kramp said “is he the most refined individual? Probably not. But is he an honest individual? Is he caring?”
The election takes place on June 7.