Bob Green Innes, Candidate for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek in Ontario Provincial Election 2011

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Candidate Details (top)

NameBob Green Innes
ElectionOntario Provincial Election 2011
AreaHamilton East-Stoney Creek
PartyFamily Coalition Party of Ontario
Email rinnesbiz@yahoo.com
Website (no website listed)

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Do you support term limits for municipal politicians? Why or why not? Yes Again, the FCP has no position on this but I believe term limits are needed to restore democracy and reduce corporate influence. Term limits should be applied to councilors, trustees, MPPs and MPs but not to Mayors or party leaders. Going further, I really think a complete overhaul of our democratic institutions is needed. I take an avid interest in Athenian Democracy (see Wikipedia) which technology might make practical. Lottery selection (as in Jury Duty) would eliminate corruption and corporate manipulation. The previous attempt to have MMP (mixed member proportional) should be revisited. Voting should be mandatory as in Australia. Open government is an idea whose time has come.
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? No Asking Hamiltonians to directly shoulder the total financial burden would expose the fallacy of the LRT argument. I doubt the supposed beneficiaries would consider the enormous cost to be worthwhile. Ask yourself what the annual payments would be on that billion dollars (assuming no project inflation which is ludicrous in itself) would be if interest rates doubled or tripled as they are doing in Europe right now. 10% x a billion is $100 million per year. What impact would this have on city taxes? The IMF is already warning Canadians about over-indebtedness.

Portland at least had the decency to cut off further sprawl to make their system work. Plus they had huge foundations to draw on financially. Neither of these factors operate here - why should we limit development when your money would be 'free'?

The problem with cross funding of such projects is that nobody gets the bill directly so everybody thinks it's ok to squander money like water. It's really a game of beggar thy neighbour or more accurately, corporations beggaring all. I believe that Hamilton will be hit hard (again) when the US crashes, sending the Loonie higher and discouraging Ontario exports even further. Mining is about the only bright spot these days so Hamilton is likely to spend much time in the doldrums until Canada tackles its gone-too-far unFair Trade policies.

Further, could Hamiltonians even afford the future maintenance like we see going on in Toronto in recent years on our limited tax base? Of course one might protest that the LRT is intended to promote business but why should it when other communities in Ontario are also being offered the same deal? Especially when Hamilton seems to be so expert at driving out business with high (uncompetitive) taxes. Despite such taxes, we can't even afford the maintenance bill for what we have (est. $2bn). Burlington Street and still-existing wooden pipes are prime exhibits.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love LRT, especially as a probable direct beneficiary, but putting the cart before the horse is never a good idea. This is proven by Waterloo where we see that Research in Motion came before LRT, not after. Because Waterloo did this right, they could possibly afford LRT on their own dime, though it is doubtful they actually would. Some day we might be able to say the same thing, but now is not the right time. We need to get our house in order first with more sustainable policies, financially, regulation wise and demographically. Only the Family Coalition Party has any sensible policies that cover such matters.
Will you complete the job of uploading social services costs to the Province? Why or why not? Maybe Possibly, however, bear in mind that the way the question is put comes from the way the way the Liberals sold the move to make themselves look good. Uploaded? Please don't be conned by such a notion. Since the Liberals are incapable of balancing the books, what they are really proposing is to transfer the cost from the municipalities (hooray) to the next generation (boo) through increased borrowings the next generation must pay. Or if you like, the cost is being downloaded even further than it is now, since the next generation is hardly in a position to complain.

The entire question of social services needs a complete review. Everyone knows that handicapped people, which actually comprise a small minority, need assistance. But the Welfare system and the Poverty industry have grown way beyond helping a few disabled folks. This puts a strain on everyone and unfairly penalizes those that are struggling but do not qualify. There is real resentment among my constituents, many of whom are struggling on multiple part time jobs, about benefits being given to those on welfare which are beyond anything those constituents can afford. In addition, they perceive abuse of such privilege through inconsiderate behaviours that affects nearby families trying to raise children properly.

Something must be done although we must also be careful that any cuts to welfare must be balanced by even more cuts to the egregious corporate welfare and bonus system that exists in this province and country. The people are being bled dry.

As to who should pay, while I believe that local is usually best, I also believe that the government that calls the shots should pay the bill. The practice of shoveling money around leads to bad signals, wrong headed decisions and irresponsible expectations, not to mention the unavoidable skimming that takes place. The Family Coalition Party has a full policy platform for coming to grips with the imbalances and inequities of our economic system.
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 A responsible politician should deal with such matters in a practical way that makes sense from all points of view. It might seem that a Hamilton MPP should automatically promote Hamilton as a venue but in my view, we already have too much public sector presence in Hamilton. Given that the public sector usually pays no municipal taxes, it raises the question about long term benefit. Yes, wages are paid and local printers and restaurants supported, but if the City must do without tax revenue, then wouldn't it be better to seek private sector tenants? Would it be efficient for a Ministry to locate here temporarily but have to move out so a taxpaying company can move in? Don't forget that someone has to pay the taxes and if it's not a private business, then it must be the rest of us.
Do you support completing the Mid-Peninsula Highway? Why or why not? No As outlined in my LRT answer, now is not the time to undertake major capital expenditures. Letting Ontario debt, already at $250bn, balloon to some unimaginable height in hopes of a currency default is sheer madness but that is exactly what many Western policymakers seem to be doing.

From a broader perspective, the question might be rephrased as - should Ontario destroy and put pressure on thousands of acres of prime farmland to enhance opportunities for a few developers? Should subsidized highways be encouraged instead of tax paying railroads? I believe the answer to these should be no. Building highways just encourages unsustainable sprawl at a time when our ability to produce more cheap oil is being strained to the limit, especially by developing economies. We must adjust to these new realities. The time for humble honesty is at hand.
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 The easy answer to this is to boost Hamilton based employment, GO train ridership and HOV lane usage and reduce the road-rail imbalance mentioned in my previous answer. The basic problem is that gasoline is too cheap and drivers don't feel any pressure to drive less or drive smaller cars. In real terms, the price is not much different than when I got out of school in the sixties and much cheaper than when the oil embargo hit and people really had to switch to smaller cars. While the party I represent doesn't have an official position on this, I believe the answer is to resolve the basic war-supported, gas-guzzling therefore unsustainable nature of this situation rather than trying to penalize ordinary people by invasive measures such as a congestion charge or disruptive measures such as a carbon tax. A good first step might be a sprawl freeze and /or speculation tax.
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 The problem is not so much contaminants in the ground, though they do exist, as it is a problem of a legal regime that makes it impossible for investors to take an interest in a property. Most people just think that, as with everything else, free money is the answer - in this case, money for a huge cleanup. Please see my answer to the first question for why free money is no longer appropriate.

Technically, the basic answer is simple - capping the site provides a paved surface for parking that also keeps rain infiltration from leaching contaminants away. Though an absolute guarantee is probably impossible, I believe the Toronto Hydro site on Commissioners St. in Toronto is a good example of what can be done.

Removing the threat of lawsuits is the first step in remediation therefore, I believe that the Provincial and Federal governments should do more to remove the basic liability issue that drives investors away. As a side issue, we should review the whole business of liability - Canada is becoming paralyzed by the threat of lawsuits just as in the US. This is another example of how the three big parties that represent Big Business, Big Government and Big Unions and their lawyers have abused ordinary people to line their pockets.
Do you believe municipalities should have more powers to generate revenue? If so, what would you propose? If not, why not? No I believe that other than some gas tax powers, this is a moot question for Hamilton since our tax rates are already uncompetitive. The pressure for more revenue stems from an inability to rein in expenditures, which in turn comes from an inability to say no to various pressure groups such as unions, developers and bankers.

Please note however that fully half of the taxes collected go toward education, a provincially mandated situation. The election of trustees that manage this money flies almost completely under the radar which allows for overspending, incumbentism, cronyism, and education politics that does not reflect what the public wants. The Family Coalition is the only party with sensible policies on such issues.