(Photos: Kelly Roche/QEW South Post)
BY KELLY ROCHE
Six candidates and a tense seventh inning.
The final federal all-candidates debate for Mississauga-Lakeshore took place Wednesday night at Clarke Memorial Hall in Port Credit.
Politicos fired salvos while the Blue Jays staved off elimination – and questionable officiating – advancing to the American League Championship Series.
Entrepreneurship, not baseball, was top of mind for Port Credit resident Aninda Bhunia.
“I believe the only sustainable way of creating prosperity for everybody is to grow businesses,” said Bhunia, who owns a technology firm in downtown Toronto.
“We start businesses, we hire people. Some of those people leave and they start their own businesses, and we’ve seen this model work in different places around the world.”
He said he believes in less taxes and reinvesting as much money as possible back into the business.
Conservative incumbent Stella Ambler said her party has a “proven record already of lowering taxes and still being able to balance the budget.”
The Tories have reduced the small business rate to 11 per cent, said Ambler “and we are committed to reducing it further, to 9 per cent by 2019.”
Paul Woodworth from the Libertarian Party of Canada said that’s the “core of our platform,” noting small business makes up 80 per cent of the business nationwide.
“We would also support small business by reforming taxes” and put more money back into pockets so entrepreneurs can hire staff, Woodworth said.
Green Party candidate Ariana Burgener discussed increasing the corporate tax rate to 19 per cent from 15 per cent, more funding for research and development grants, and reducing and eliminating post-secondary tuition, allowing “students to enter the workforce without debt.”
Liberal candidate Sven Spengemann also mentioned reducing small business tax to 9 per cent, investing $775 million into skills training “to make sure that there is a workforce that’s educated” and investing $125 billion into national infrastructure “to make sure you can get the goods and services to market in a timely fashion.”
New Democratic Party candidate Eric Guerbilsky said he has a “strong history of defending small businesses in this area,” calling the upcoming Walmart development “disastrous.”
Higher-paying jobs will likely be replaced by meagre big-box wages, he said.
“What we’re offering is a 2 per cent tax cut to small businesses right away,” said Guerbilsky.
Dagmar Sullivan from the Marxist-Lenninist Party talked about building committees, allowing residents to “ensure that the decision-making power lies within them,” and establishing a public authority “that has the power and will to make sure that it’s local decisions that are upheld,” she said.
Sheridan-Homelands resident Walt Sigmund questioned candidates about precarious employment.
“People are important to me,” said Sigmund, a retired high school teacher turned financial advisor.
“I see families are struggling.”
With many parents juggling multiple jobs, “it’s eroding family life,” he said.
“I think government has to pay attention to that.”
Margaret Rodricks lives in Port Credit and said she’s concerned about the environment and housing.
“We need to accommodate people, but not with high-rises,” said Rodricks.
Marina development at 1 Port St. E., infrastructure, transit, and accountability were also raised during the discussion.
Moderator Dorothy Tomiuk updated the crowd of about 100 people with baseball scores, announcing the Jays’ 6-3 victory over the Texas Rangers, which garnered the loudest cheers and applause.