Meet the Candidates: Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, Niagara-on-the-Lake

If the Progressive Conservatives are to take control of Queen’s Park they will be looking to break though in ridings like Niagara Falls. Since 2000 it is one of the few ridings in the province that has sent MPPs from three different parties.

Currently the seat is held by New Democrat Wayne Gates. Hydro figures prominently in the party platforms. The NDP, Liberals and Conservatives all pledge to reduce hydro rates. The Greens would refuse electricity price hikes tied to rebuilding the province’s aging nuclear power plants; it would support community-based renewable energy projects and energy conservation measures.

Dean Demizio: Liberal [deandemizio.ca, Twitter: @deandemizio]

A Fort Erie business owner and community leader will try to win the riding for the Liberals. Demizio owns an insurance agency in Fort Erie. He has been involved with numerous boards and agencies, including the Greater Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Erie Multicultural Society and Community Living Fort Erie.

He calls policies such as free post-secondary tuition and prescription drugs for those under the age 25 “life-changing,” while suggesting a PC government would cut health care and education services. “No matter who the leader is, this is the same conservative party.”

He also points to the growing Ontario economy, low unemployment rate and the construction boom in Niagara as reasons to vote Liberal.

Chuck McShane: PC [chuckmcshane.ca]

McShane has been heavily involved with the PC party for 15 years—volunteering on the campaign trail and helping run the riding association between elections. “Now, with the support of my family, I feel it is time to put my name on the ballot,” he writes on his website.

McShane has also served on the Niagara Home Builders’ Association’s board for 20 years, including four terms as board president. He has volunteered extensively with the Steve Ludzik Foundation and has helped organize Hockey Night in St. Catharines.

He criticizes the Liberal record of closing the Fort Erie Racetrack slots, the precarious future of Niagara Falls’ casino employment (because of the impending construction of a new casino in Toronto) and the slow pace of progress on the new Niagara Falls hospital.

Wayne Gates: NDP  [www.waynegates.com, Twitter: @Wayne_Gates]

Gates prevailed in a 2014 by-election and retained the riding in the general election later that year. He has pushed for more shelf space for VQA wines in provincial liquor stores, reversing the sale of Hydro One, reducing car insurance rates and jump starting construction of the new Niagara Falls hospital.

A former Unifor local president, Gates says the province needs a strategy to attract and retain auto sector jobs, and the spinoff jobs they create. “Let’s come up with an Ontario-wide auto policy, and let’s lower our hydro rates. That will actually help manufacturers,” he said.

The NDP platform includes extending drug and dental coverage to all Ontario residents, reversing the Ontario Hydro privatization and cutting household hydro bills by 30%. It also calls for corporations and wealthy Ontarians to “pay their fair share.”

Karen Fraser: Green [gpo.ca/candidate/karen-fraser/]

Fraser is a longtime Green Party volunteer who has served as campaign chair for several provincial and federal candidates. Her priorities are affordable housing, environmental protection and sustainable development, access to health care and creating full-time jobs.

She hopes more voters hear the party’s message on sustainability, electoral reform and voter empowerment, and feel invigorated enough to vote for her party. She is also passionate about the party’s call for a basic income guarantee. “A living wage reduces absenteeism, decreases turnover rates, increases employee morale & produces good reputations for responsible employers,” she wrote in a LinkedIn article.

Shaun Somers: Libertarian [libertarian.on.ca/Shaun_Somers]

Long disillusioned by provincial politics and the four mainstream parties, Shaun Somers decided to move from non-voter to election candidate. His conversion came in 2015 after discovering the Libertarian Party.

“Libertarians understand that problems are solved when markets are free to innovate, and when individuals are free to make their own choices. I realized that I could do a lot more to promote freedom and liberty by running for office than I could by sitting at home being frustrated by news of how the current government has mismanaged Ontario,” he says on his candidate profile.

Zubic Goran: Ontario Moderate Party

No public information available about this candidate to source for article at time of posting.

Source – Derek Swartz, Freelance Writer