Ted McMeekin, Candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale in Ontario Provincial Election 2014
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Ontario Provincial Election 2014|
|Party||Ontario Liberal Party|
|Bio||Ted McMeekin was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario.
A committed community volunteer, Ted worked as the Director of two International Work camps and as an overseas volunteer. He provided leadership to his local Mental Health Assoc., the Circle of Friends, Operation Lifeline, the Five Oaks Christian Workers Centre and as youth group leader, baseball and soccer coach.
Ted has also served as President of the Hamilton-Burlington YMCA and the Hamilton-Wentworth Lung Association.
A graduate of Mohawk College, McMaster and Wilfrid Laurier Universities, Ted has received Lifetime Achievement awards from both McMaster and WLU and the first Friend of Mohawk College award. He has also received the Friend of Youth Award from Waterdown District High School.
Ted is a recipient of both the Queen's Gold and Silver Jubilee medals for community service.
Mr. McMeekin served two terms as a Hamilton City Councillor and two terms as Mayor of the Town of Flamborough before being elected an MPP in 2000. He was reelected as MPP in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
Ted brings experience 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, owner/operator of the original CHAPTERS Bookstore and Part-time Assistant Professor at WLU to his work as an MPP.
Mr. McMeekin has served as Minister of Government Services, Minister of Consumer Services and Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs. In February, 2013 he was appointed by Premier Wynne as her Minister of Community and Social Services.
In 2013 Mr. McMeekin received the Doctors Colloquium 'Political Award of Merit' from the Ontario Association of Professional Social Workers for 'a lifetime of humanitarian service and political advocacy on behalf of Ontario's vulnerable'.
Ted has a special interest in issues related to poverty, social justice, environmental vigilance, advancing post-secondary education, children and adults with special needs and social housing.
Ted lives in Waterdown, Ontario with his wife Dr. Barbara McMeekin a family physician. They have three adult daughters.
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|The Ontario School Funding Formula currently incentivizes local school boards to neglect and close neighbourhood schools. Do you support keeping neighbourhood schools open? If so, how?||Maybe||Across the province, there are 481,000 empty school spaces and over 600 schools are operating below 50 per cent capacity. To better utilize existing school infrastructure and reduce excess capacity in the system, Ontario has announced $750 million over four years in new capital funding to support school consolidations. This funding would support consolidations through retrofits, additions to existing schools, or the construction of new facilities. This funding commitment is more than any other party.
None of us is as smart as all of us working together.
The oft-referenced 'funding formula' is complex and, contrary to perceptions, is constantly changing. That said I support finding ways to work better with the communities we serve. This will require more focus on partnership to address declining enrolments (down over 20%) and increasing costs (up over 30%) of providing education. We look to our school boards to make tough and strategic decisions that benefit the people that matter most, our children - who are on an educational journey that is entrusted to us.
The ARC process needs a tune up but that can best happen in the context of a municipality and its school boards committing to a joint planning and vision discussion where the best ideas for any reform can be presented. We should create a representative partnership 'table' to engage in a thoughtful and realistic discussion of options that can move us forward. I commit to making this happen.
I was pleased to work quietly but effectively with the community and HWDSB to save Millgrove Public School, a vibrant and innovative rural hub.
|Do you support Hamilton's plan to build an east-west light rail transit line with full provincial capital funding? If so, how will you ensure the project is funded?||Yes||Hamilton is Canada's leading community for growth and investment. That hasn't happened by accident, and I couldn't be more excited.
Some of this renaissance can be directly attributed to our government's investments in expanding two-way, all-day GO service on the Lakeshore line. We are also building a new $44 million GO station on James Street North.
I have lobbied relentlessly for Hamilton and our government has delivered.
Our party stands alone in its commitment to investing in improved transit in Hamilton. In our 2014 budget, we announced $15 billion in new dedicated funding for public transit in the GTHA. This includes a continuing expansion of GO service to Aldershot and Hamilton.
We are committed to 100 per cent funding for base capital costs as identified in the city's Rapid Ready report. We will work with council and the community to forge a path forward, expeditiously, to ensure Hamilton keeps moving and has access to the funding available.
The best transit option will be determined by council and supported by citizens.
Increased funding for public transit represents a smart and long-term investment. In addition to reducing traffic congestion, improving productivity and reducing GHG emissions, each dollar invested in public transit generates three dollars in economic spin-ff.
Efficient and effective transportation by definition has to be integrated, collaborative and connected. We cannot look at any plan in isolation.
Our plan creates jobs, grows our economy and reduces congestion so we can spend less time commuting and more time at home with our families.
|Do you support allowing Ontario residents to appeal to the Ontario Ombudsman with respect to municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, police and children's aid societies (the MUSH sector)?||Yes||This is why we introduced Bill 179 - The Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act. This Bill announced March 6, 2014, would open up Ombudsman oversight into the MUSH sector for the first time on Ontario's history. It also created a new patient Ombudsman for complaints about hospitals and long-term care homes. In addition, the Bill gave the existing Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth the power to investigate Children's Aid Societies. Unfortunately, due to the opposition parties not supporting the budget, the current election killed the Bill. It is our intention to re-introduce this if we are fortunate enough to be given the privilege to form government.
|Should the province play a role in encouraging safer streets that promote more active transportation like walking and cycling?||Yes||Yes, and Ontario's Cycling Strategy looks ahead 20 years and outlines what needs to be done to promote cycling across the province as a viable mode of transportation.
More and more people are choosing cycling as their preferred way to get around. Ontario's Cycling Strategy provides a route map to support and encourage this growth in cycling over the next 20 years.
Increasing the number of cyclists in Ontario holds many potential long-term benefits. Ontario's Cycling Strategy supports Ontarians adopting healthier and active lifestyles, the tourism industry, as well as the achievement of environmental and economic objectives.
The province will play a leadership role in striving to achieve our cycling vision, but we are asking municipalities, the public, road users, businesses and non-governmental organizations to partner with us to create a more cycling-friendly future for Ontario.
For more information on our government's cycling strategy, visit http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pubs/cycling-guide/pdfs/MTO-CycleON-EN.pdf
|Do you support the proposal to build a new mid-Peninsula highway?||No||When the PCs were in power they did a scoped EA that was not in keeping with the Environmental Assessment Act. Our government did a fully scoped EA looking at all options. It concluded the mid-pen was not needed. The recommendation was to build a link highway from Welland along 406 corridor and select widening of the 403. Our broad community continues to reject a new super highway that would transgress rural lands and environmentally sensitive areas.
|Do you support maintaining or expanding the protection of farmland and rural natural land from urban boundary expansions?||Yes||Yes! As a former Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart.
Ontario's agri-food industry is a shining star of our economy, creating $34 billion in GDP and supporting more than 740,000 jobs from farm to fork.
Our Premier understands the importance of agriculture and the need to preserve farmland. That's why she took on the role as Minister of Agriculture and Food (on my advice) because we wanted to raise the profile of the importance of this sector to our economy.
We also introduced the Local Food Act which celebrates the good things that grow in Ontario and encourages consumers to think local when they shop at the grocery store or farmers market.
People tell us the Greenbelt Legislation our government brought forward in 2005 in the single most important initiative - protecting in perpetuity 2 million acres of greenspace, wetlands, forest and farm land. We hope to expand this working with our municipal partners.
The PCs have indicated they would like to open up the Greenbelt for residential and commercial development. This is horrifying. They want to privatize the Greenbelt.
I am proud that our platform continues to protect farmland through our Farms Forever Program, to help landowners protect prime agricultural land close to major urban centres. This will help support the local sourcing of food, and strengthen our strong agri-food sector. We recognize young farmers need support and the Farms Forever Program and other policies, will ensure farming is a lifestyle for generations to come.
|Do you support regional GO transit expansion, including all-day two-way GO train service to Hamilton?||Yes||The Liberal party has a plan to bring all-day, two-way regional express rail to Hamilton. GO Regional Express Rail will be available on all existing GO tracks and will run to Hamilton. GO Regional Express Rail is a priority and will deliver a fully electric zero emission train service every 15 minutes in both directions. The Hudak PCs have been clear that they will not electrify any GO lines.
While we know that families and businesses in Ontario would benefit from our plan, the Hudak PCs have been clear that they do not understand the urgent need for new investment. Furthermore, Ontarians are worried that the PCs will cut massively from public transit like they did under Mike Harris. And when the NDP rejected investments in infrastructure across the GTHA and beyond by calling an expensive and unnecessary election, they gave Tim Hudak the chance to make massive cuts.
I'm extremely pleased with the investments we've already made to improve GO transit in Hamilton. These include a new $44 million GO station on James St. N., and a new GO bus terminal at McMaster to name a few.
|Do you accept the evidence of human-caused global warming? If so, what policy measures do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? If not, why not?||Yes||28 per cent of all insurance claims are paid out in response to catastrophic weather events. This will only increase if we don't take dramatic steps to reduce GHG emissions.
At McMaster's MARC, research continues to enhance the viability of electric powered cars. Our government has been proud to support this.
We must continue to invest more in public transit, versus building major superhighways like the Mid-Pen highway, which would only serve to encourage more reliance of gas powered vehicles, rip apart prime agricultural land and delay progress in areas that help our earth rather than smother our earth. We have proposed a 10-year, $29 billion plan to improve transit across the province, including $15 billion alone for the GTHA.
The elimination of coal fired generation plans is a perfect example of how our government is tackling the real challenges of climate change, rather than passing the buck onto future generations.
Former US VP Al Gore, a well-known climate advocate, said Ontario has led the way with its plan to eliminate coal. Closing the coal power plants was the largest climate change action ever taken in North America.
A greenbelt must not only run around cities, but through cities. Our platform speaks to working with municipalities to promote urban forestry and plant 50 million trees province-wide.
An additional policy measure our government recently introduced was the Greener Diesel mandate that came into effect April 1.
The new regulations require at least 2 per cent biodiesel be blended into petroleum diesel. This new policy will result in an average of at least 4 per cent biofuel blend into regular diesel by 2017, achieving a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by about 600,000 tonnes per year by that point.