New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
Two weeks before the federal election, scheduled for October 21, the New Pathway – Ukrainian News interviewed James Maloney, the incumbent MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, a Toronto riding where Ukrainian is the third most spoken language. As a candidate, Maloney had this to say with regards to the most pressing issues in his riding and globally.
What issues matter the most to you in terms of your election platform?
In the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, transit, infrastructure and housing affordability are big issues. Promoting small businesses and the environment is also among my priorities. We need to support transit and infrastructure because of the increasing population in South Etobicoke. We’ve been working very closely with the city of Toronto and providing funding for the TTC that’s going to make a big difference in the long term and the near term as well. The federal government is the municipality’s partner here and the municipality will decide what projects to develop. But for me as a local resident, priority is transit funding in the Humber Bay Shores community, which is a rapidly growing neighbourhood that is underserviced from the transportation perspective. We are working on getting a transit hub down there which is well on the way thanks to the work of the City Council. The Downtown Relief Line will make a big difference for the South Etobicoke community as well.
What would a new Liberal government do to relieve the housing situation in South Etobicoke?
There are two distinct issues: affordable housing and housing affordability. If you look at our National housing strategy, we’ve invested in the 10-year $40 billion plan. We are going to be investing in new rental housing and repairing of existing housing stock. We are working with the Toronto housing authority to fix the backlog of housing in the city. Mike Harriss’ provincial government downloaded Toronto community housing to the city and it’s been chronically underfunded since then. We’ve reached the deal to fund the repairs to prevent further houses coming off-line, and build new affordable housing. I just had an announcement with John Tory that Griggs Manor on the Royal York Road has just had a significant investment as part of this plan to repair, modernize and make accessible the homes there. On the housing affordability issue, in our most recent budget we had the first time buyer’s incentive which is now amended to make it more helpful for families in Toronto and Vancouver where house prices are higher. The stress test has helped buyers not to get overleveraged. This kind of tools has been effective but there is more to be done.
What are you planning to do to help small businesses and protect the environment?
We have 4,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in the riding. The tax breaks that have been given to small business under our government are making it easier for them to get ahead, reinvest and hire more people. The environment is the real battleground issue in this election. I participated in the climate rally that took place across the country on September 27 because climate change is the issue that everyone needs to be prepared to stand up and take action on. Our platform reflects that and that’s one of the real differences between us and the Conservatives.
You visited Ukraine this year as an election observer. What were your impressions?
I was there for the second round of the presidential election, in Kyiv, where I stayed for five days. My conclusion was that the election was ran very well, I didn’t encounter a single problem. We went to the large number of polling stations, saw polls opening, closing, the vote count, I didn’t see one irregularity at all. I was quite impressed actually. During the visit, two of my interns who I had through the Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Program (CUPP) including Yevhenii Konovalov gave me a tour of the city. By the way, I’ve had four Ukrainian interns through CUPP so far. I was very impressed with how beautiful Kyiv is and its history. I want to go back, that’s my takeaway from the visit.
What do you think Canada’s position towards Ukraine should be going forward?
You’ve seen how the Canadian government has supported Ukraine over the years, through Operation UNIFIER for instance. We say and we mean that we stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine. Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, Prime Minister Trudeau and all Liberal MPs have been very supportive of Ukraine with the problems it is experiencing because of the illegal occupation by the Russians. We are going to continue doing that and working with the Ukrainian government to make sure they get whatever support we can provide, whether political or military or otherwise.