MPP Randy Hillier has represented the riding of Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston since 2007 but with the long-standing provincial politician declaring he’s not running for reelection, the riding is now without an incumbent.
The riding of Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston is over 7,000 square kilometres and stretches from Kingston, north of the 401, to Carleton Place.
With a population of just over 100,000 people, Lanark Frontenac Kingston is a mix of rural and small urban centres.
A new person will also be representing the riding with previous MPP Randy Hillier not seeking re-election.
Candidates vying for the job of MPP place health care as one of the top issues this election.
PC Party of Ontario candidate John Jordan, through his work at ConnectWell community health centres, said financial investment is important but is only part of the solution.
“It’s not just hospitals, it’s not just primary care, it’s not just allied health. It’s accessibility, navigation, better coordination. I’m optimistic for Ontario health teams to accomplish that,” Jordan said.
Green Party of Ontario candidate Marlene Spruyt has both family physician and medical officer of health on her resume.
Spruyt said addressing climate change and poverty are key components in improving public health outcomes, along with attracting and retaining front-line health care workers.
“Without increasing the operating budgets to hospitals to allow them to hire more, without getting rid of Bill 124, which is freezing among other public sector workers’ salaries, there’s going to be a staffing problem,” Spruyt said.
Ontario NDP candidate Drew Cumpson comes to the health care debate from the perspective of someone who uses and has to navigate the system daily.
Cumpson said a public pharma care system will help address health care affordability and an increased focus on improving home care will help with long-term care issues.
“If we’re able to provide better home care systems then people are able to stay in their home as long as they can and be limited to long-term care for only the amount of time they are needed,” Cumpson said.
Ontario Liberal Party candidate Amanda Pulker-Mok said she’s experienced health care system gaps and is advocating for a multi-health care professional model to improve service delivery.
Nurse practitioners, pharmacists and more allied health care professionals could “really try to alleviate some of the pressure our health care system is facing,” Pulker-Mok said.
The candidates and their parties also have a range of ideas on how to start dealing with the issue of affordable housing.
“Supply is definitely part of the solution, but making sure that we approach the supply in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way,” Pulker-Mok said.
“We need to allow people to put apartments or backyard residences where they can rent a space out that’s part of their home, turn it into a split or a duplex,” Spruyt said.
Reliable internet and cell phone access is also a priority for the riding that has a large rural population.
“It’s no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. And we certainly learned that throughout COVID and that people need that connectivity and accessibility to those services,” Jordan said.
“We definitely need a huge investment into the infrastructure of broadband internet and people are able to access the things they need in a timely and easy fashion where it’s affordable,” Cumpson said.
Also vying for the position of MPP in Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston are Marcin Lewandowski with the New Blue party; Thomas Mulder with the Ontario Party; and independent candidate Craig Timothy Massey Rogers.