Green candidate says housing, environment are key issues

By Kirk Winter

Tom Regina, Green Party candidate.

Tom Regina, a retired high school music teacher and candidate in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock for the Ontario Green Party, points to the lack of affordable housing and the need to protect of wetlands and farmlands as the two biggest election issues for him.

“Two Green values that drive policy are ecological wisdom and social justice,” Regina wrote in an email to the Advocate. “That is why I think housing is a big issue. Too many people are having problems finding an affordable place to live, if they can find one at all. I know that there are businesses that are having staffing issues and one of the barriers is a lack of available housing. It is an impediment to the economic well-being in the community of towns that make up our riding.”

He added, “Climate and environment are sources of our needs and quality of life. We must work harder to protect farmland from urban sprawl. The rural and wilderness areas of our riding and province are part of our identity and critical to our health and well-being.”

The Greens are planning to run an aggressive provincial campaign on these issues and others, Regina wrote, including implementing a law that will require the province to reach net zero by 2045, repealing Bill 124, which is causing health care workers to leave the system in droves because of limits on pay raises, and investing in green technologies like green hydrogen production.

Regina says he wants to see a meaningful discussion about electoral reform because “too many voices (are) not being heard when decisions are made.” He says the whole basic income question should be revisited, noting his disappointment when Premier Ford unilaterally cancelled the test projects, including in Lindsay, before adequate data was gathered.

When asked if long-time incumbent Laurie Scott is able to be defeated, Regina acknowledged her deep roots in the riding.

“It is dissatisfaction with the premier that will be one of the greatest obstacles for her. I am planning to get out in public around the various towns in our riding to meet people on the street. Voters will return unexpected results when presented with a strong, clear alternative plan that addresses pressing issues.”

Regina says the premier has failed voters on several fronts, including significant deep cuts to Toronto city council,  the initial cancellation of a minimum wage increase only to bring it back in time for the election, scrapping the Indigenous curriculum review, the cancellation of a program to provide public charging stations for electric vehicles, the limiting of conservation authorities’ power to prevent development and the negative environmental impact that will occur if Highway 413 is actually built.

Regina says he wants to see a campaign where there is more time for listening and finding common ground rather than creating obstacles for the sake of opposition. He would like to see a more “positive, respectful and collaborative” political system rather than the “polarized, partisan political culture” that currently exists.

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