Ted McMeekin, Candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Ontario Provincial Election 2011|
|Party||Ontario Liberal Party|
|Bio||Ted McMeekin has a long history of community service.
He served as Mayor of Flamborough from 1994-2000 and Hamilton City Councillor from 1977-1981.
As MPP for the riding of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, Ted has been a powerful advocate for seniors, children with special needs, farm risk-management programs, strategic infrastructure investment and our local environment.
A driven volunteer Ted has worked to make a difference with many local organizations including the Hamilton Mental Health Association, Wesley Urban Ministries, the Five Oaks Christian Workers Centre and the Circle of Friends and Operation Lifeline.
Ted served as President of both the Ham/Burlington YMCA and the Hamilton-Wentworth Lung Association. He has served as an overseas volunteer, a church youth group leader and a baseball and soccer coach.
Before entering provincial politics Ted worked sequentially as Executive Director of the Burlington Social Planning Council, Chairman of Part-Time Studies at Mohawk College, Mission and Stewardship Officer with the United Church of Canada and as owner-operator of the original Chapters Book Store.
Ted has received many honours; the WDHS Friend of Youth Award, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Community Service medal, the inaugural Friend of Mohawk College Award and Alumni Lifetime Achievement Awards from both McMaster and Wilfrid Laurier universities.
In 2007, Ted was appointed Minister of Government and Consumer Services. He served 28 months in Cabinet and currently serves as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training Colleges and Universities.
As an MPP, Ted and his constituency staff have responded to over 196,000 constituency requests for assistance.
Ted and his wife, Dr. Barb McMeekin, live in Waterdown. They have three daughters.
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|In 2007, the Ontario Government promised two light rail lines in Hamilton. Will you fulfill that promise to build light rail in Hamilton? Why or why not?||Maybe||I believe that light rail transit (LRT) has the potential to change the face of Hamilton for the better and the province has committed to working with the City as it relates to LRT.
I am committed to strong public transit system in Hamilton and across the province. That's why, after years of neglect by the PCs, the Ontario Liberals have invested more than $10.8 billion in public transit since 2003.
The City indicated that two-way all-day GO train was a priority. We have committed to increasing GO train service to Hamilton and throughout the GTA, providing two-way, full-day service seven days a week and creating 68,000 jobs throughout Ontario.
To bring in the new service, two new stations will be built in Hamilton - at James Street North and Confederation Station, creating about 8,000 local jobs during construction. New jobs will be created in construction, design and engineering because new tracks need to be put in to meet these new demands. This investment will also create demand for manufactured goods such as electrical equipment, steel and other products.
The last PC government recklessly gutted transit - and made a mess of GO Transit in particular. First, they downloaded GO to the municipalities, and then took it back after it strained local budgets. It was under the last NDP government that GO Transit's era of continuous growth was brought to a stop. They also eliminated GO service to some cities and reduced many others to rush-hour-only service.
Now, the PCs have $14 billion in unfunded giveaways and tax cuts that would mean deep cuts to hospitals and schools. The NDP would introduce a crushing $9 billion in job killing taxes. Both would take Ontario off track at the worst time.
For LRT in Hamilton, the province provided $3 million for the city to undertake a Rapid Transit Feasibility Study. That study is ongoing and, for a project of this size and scope, is moving quickly. There is likely about 6 months of additional work and I look forward to the findings. Decisions should neither be made in isolation from our municipal partner, nor without the information the feasibility study will provide.
Once the report is complete and city council arrives at a decision, I will work with the city to move this project forward.
|Will you complete the job of uploading social services costs to the Province? Why or why not?||Yes||I understand the importance of this commitment to our municipal partners. We're uploading $2.7 billion from municipalities, freeing up room in their budgets to invest in local priorities and control property taxes.
Unlike the Hudak PCs, we'll honour our uploading commitments, because ultimately, there's only one taxpayer. We're uploading costs for seniors' drugs, court security, social assistance, public health, and public transit - with a plan to upload an additional $500 million between now and 2018.
When the Harris-Hudak PCs were in government, they downloaded $3 billion of costs onto municipalities - including child care, transit, housing, and public health - leading to higher property taxes and an infrastructure deficit.
Tim Hudak has a $14-billion hole in his platform. With this $14 billion in unfunded giveaways and tax cuts, we know that Hudak is planning to download costs again, pushing municipalities to the brink. He's already refused to commit to complete our download, meaning $500 million a year in new property taxes or service cuts.
We've invested $62 billion in infrastructure since 2003, with another $35 billion to come in the next three years, helping to fix sewers and water mains and improve recreation centres and arenas while creating hundreds of thousands of local jobs.
Here's what some of our municipal partners are saying:
"[Tim Hudak] was very clear. He is going to stop it... The uploading has to continue in a major way."
- Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, Toronto Star, Aug. 23
"If uploading stops, we will have higher property taxes,"
- Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Toronto Star, Sept. 23
|Do you support term limits for municipal politicians? Why or why not?||No||No, I believe voters are mature enough to make a decision as to who and how long to support their local representative.|
|Hamilton has a lot of available office space in the downtown. Will you move any departments to Hamilton to boost the local economy and save on rent costs? Why or why not?||Maybe||We have worked in partnership with the City of Hamilton since 2003 to ensure Hamilton's continued economic growth and prosperity. Since 2003 we have provided recurring, special one-time operating grants and have supported Hamilton-based projects such as Hamilton Health Sciences Centre, St Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University's new Wilson Building for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences.
More recently, we have partnered with Hamilton to provide funding in support of the Pan/Parapan American Games sporting infrastructure including for the Pan Am Hamilton Soccer Stadium (Ivor Wynne Stadium) and the Hamilton Velodrome.
Ontario Liberals recently announced that we will be providing two-way full-day GO train service to a new Hamilton GO train station at James Street North in time for the Pan Am Games. We will also construct a second new GO train station in Stoney Creek at Confederation/Centennial Parkway by 2016-17.
At this time, we have no plans to relocate any Government of Ontario offices to Hamilton. However, Ontario Liberals are always open to hearing ideas that will support Hamilton and help save taxpayer dollars.
|Do you support completing the Mid-Peninsula Highway? Why or why not?||No||We've been hearing a lot about the proposed Mid-Penn Highway recently. I want to be clear about where I stand on the issue. I stand with my community.
I stand with those trying to preserve farmland and greenspace. I stand with those that do not want to see their family and friends displaced. I stand with those that do not want to see millions of more vehicles come through our community every year.
Quite frankly, Tim Hudak is planning on bringing a multi-billion dollar super-highway through our backyards. This is plan that could very well be up to ten lanes wide and could materialize as a toll road.
We remember the 407 debacle: hundreds of millions of dollars invested in a new, multi-lane highway just to see it sold off at fire-sale prices to a multi-national company.
The result is exorbitant tolls for motorists. Let's not take that road again.
This plan could see millions of acres of prime farmland and greenspace paved. It could also see hundreds, if not thousands, of homes displaced. A new super highway would see millions of cars roar through our community every day, with little economic benefit to our local businesses. I won't let this happen!
What I support is a practical transportation network that works for Flamborough. The Ministry of Transportation has concluded that another highway artery in this area is not needed. Tim Hudak's position is irresponsible and reckless: the Mid-Peninsula highway is not needed.
|The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area has some of the worst traffic congestion in North America. What, if anything, will you do to alleviate the gridlock?||Yes||We are the only party that can be trusted to invest in transit in order to reduce traffic congestion. Since 2003 we have invested $10.8 billion in transit in Ontario - the largest investment in 40 years.
Studies show that traffic congestion costs the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas $6 billion a year - and it could cost $15 billion a year if no one takes action. Currently we are building major transit projects that will relieve congestion in the GTHA including the Air Rail Link from Union Station to Pearson Airport. We also continue to provide dedicated gas tax funding for transit to 120 municipalities - $1.9 billion since 2003 including almost $70 million to Hamilton, and $10.8 million to Hamilton last year alone.
Going forward, Ontario Liberals will implement two-way full-day GO train service on all seven GO rail corridors, creating 68,000 jobs. For Hamilton, we will build two new GO train stations (James Street North Station in Hamilton and Centennial/Confederation Station in Stoney Creek) and will provide two-way full-day service to the James Street North station in time for the Pan Am Games in 2015. This will create 8,000 jobs in the Hamilton region. As people in Hamilton work hard to attract new types of businesses and appeal to younger families, more frequent GO train service only adds to the great quality of life in this community.
The NDP record on transit is disappointing. They have consistently voted against funding for transit, including the Air Rail Link that will connect Pearson Airport to Union Station and our budgets, which have contained transit funding for the City of Hamilton. The NDP have played politics with the PCs, voting together 183 times, against new subways, against GO expansion and against the gas tax for transit. The NDP have no long-term plan for infrastructure and have provided no details in their platform about transit expansion. In fact, by forcing municipalities to freeze transit fares, this will effectively stall any hope of building more transit in Ontario.
The PC record on funding for transit is one of neglect. While the PCs were in power, they averaged less than $450 million a year in funding province-wide: in 2000 and 2001 they contributed only $40 million to transit for the entire province and, between 1999 and 2003, they downloaded GO Transit, leaving it up to municipalities to carry the weight. Going forward, the PCs will dilute funding for transit, allowing gas tax funding to be spent on non-transit transportation projects.
Ontario Liberals have a strong record of investing in transit and is the only party that can be trusted to invest in transit going forward.
|Hamilton has a large number of contaminated brownfield properties that present a risk for investors. What, if anything, will you do to make it easier to remediate brownfields?||Yes||We are committed to helping brownfield redevelopment to both safeguard the health of Ontarians and provide economic opportunities. Brownfield redevelopment is about cleaning up old, contaminated industrial and commercial lands to make better use of existing infrastructure. It also curbs urban sprawl, eliminates environmental hazards, promotes sustainable communities, contributes to our priority of reducing toxics in soil, water and air, and supports our move to a new economy.
Eighteen months ago, we provided clear rules and efficient processes to accelerate the clean up of brownfields. We have enhanced environmental protection through clear site assessment requirements, updated standards and the introduction of a new streamlined risk assessment process. For many projects, this process provides cost relief by reducing red tape. The changes to the brownfield standards are based on current science to provide strong protection of human health and the environment.
We have been working very closely with stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition to these new rules that took effect on July 1, 2011.
Clearer rules on brownfields help to accelerate the clean up of contaminated sites and return brownfields to productive use. They provide an opportunity to redevelop significant brownfield sites through revitalization, which in turn stimulates community rejuvenation around these sites.
|Do you believe municipalities should have more powers to generate revenue? If so, what would you propose? If not, why not?||Maybe||The Municipal Act gives municipalities authority to raise revenue in a variety of ways, including property taxes and user fees. Other municipal source revenue mechanisms include: investment income, development charges (authority under the Development Charges Act), donations, revenue from other municipalities, and fines and penalties.
I recognize that municipalities require tools to help them fund local infrastructure to service new growth. We are committed to uploading the costs that were forced on the backs of municipalities by the PCs. We are open to looking at any proposals brought forward by municipalities to generate revenue streams to fund new growth in their communities.