As Provincial Liberal candidate for the riding of Nepean, the following will be my priorities:
Education shapes the future of our society and contributes towards the development of our shared values and determines. If I am elected as Liberal candidate for the 2022 provincial election, I will strongly advocate to bring about positive changes with respect to the following issues in education:
- Increasing the percentage of high school graduates
Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Youth in low-income communities face barriers to successful completion of high school. Statistics Canada’s data show that Ontario's secondary school graduation rate is way lower than the national average. Our future generation deserves better and Ontario should lead the nation. I will explore the factors that cause students to leave school before graduating and fight for addressing those..
- Easier transition to post-secondary education
According to a Statistics Canada publication, Ontario secondary school students have a lower proficiency level in mathematics compared to the national average and ranked fifth among provinces. I will lobby to undertake an examination of the high school curriculum to determine whether the curriculum is adequately preparing students for post-secondary education and what changes need to be implemented.
- Promoting Second Language Education
Students in Ontario need to be proficient in both official languages in order to increase their opportunities for post-secondary employment. I am committed to increasing the percentage of students who achieve their “Certificate of Bilingualism” (DELF) upon graduation.
- Promoting Vocational Education
The job market demand for technology and trades skills is increasing and Ontario needs more people with these skills. With two excellent colleges in our city — Algonquin College and Collège La Cité — Ottawa offers excellent opportunities for individuals who are interested in technology and trades. I will lobby to determine how we can best orient graduating students to technology and trades sectors.
- Increasing Financial Assistance to post-secondary students
I will lobby to reverse the changes made by the Ford government that converted grants to OSAP loans.
Healthcare and Social Services
Ontario has one of the largest publicly funded healthcare systems in the world. Despite offering universal healthcare to 14.7 million Ontarians, the provincial healthcare system has its shortcomings, and I plan to work on addressing them.
- Access to primary care
Access to primary care continues to be a concern for many people living in Nepean. As our region grows and more families move into South Nepean and Barrhaven, the shortage of family doctors and primary care professionals becomes more acute. To help alleviate the shortages of healthcare professionals on the front lines, I will advocate for more Nurse Practitioners to be trained and hired, and for an increase in the education and training of family physicians.
We hear of medical students and nurses who studied at Ontario universities and who are experiencing difficulties securing residency positions and employment in Ontario. (Reference: Ottawa Citizen Jan 16. 2021).I will work with governing licensing authorities to make it easier for foreign trained physicians and newly graduated health professionals to practice in Ontario.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals have seen an increase in emergency and critical care patients. Surgeries have been postponed leading to much anxiety and difficulties for many people.
The Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) is our community hospital and its Acute Care for the Elderly unit is only one of two such specialized units in the province. I will ensure that the QCH receives adequate support from the provincial government to continue to serve the people of Ottawa, especially the elderly and the most vulnerable.
- Access to mental healthcare and special childcare
Considering the increasing demand on the Ontario healthcare system, there are currently inadequate provisions for mental health supports especially for children with special needs. I will ensure that measures are taken to design and develop improved provincial mental health programs for children, their parents and families.
- Overhauling long-term care
COVID-19 has demonstrated how fragile the long-term care system is in Ontario. As the pandemic hit, lack of funding, shortages of trained staff and poor oversight from government authorities have resulted in high numbers of deaths that were clearly preventable. We must do more to protect residents in long term care homes — our most vulnerable population. I will work towards reviewing operations of private for-profit care homes, rigorous enforcement of standards, and eventually bringing all long-term care homes in Ontario under the management of provincial and regional health authorities.
Economy and Job Creation
With a large number of young people entering the workforce and new immigrants moving into Ontario, we need to make sure that there are enough job opportunities for everyone. As Ontario embraces technological advancements, we need to make sure that the new manufacturing jobs are also created. Job creation in both public and private sectors will be one of my top economic priorities.
Environmental and Green Initiatives
Climate change is the biggest challenge for our generation and it is our responsibility to leave a better world for our future generation. I will work to incorporate climate change and green awareness studies from early-stage childhood education so that every child grows up with a sense of responsibility to save mother earth. I will bring in more funding to sustainable and renewable energy solutions. More funding schemes like the Ontario Green Investment Fund will grow the economy, create jobs and move Ontario to a greener future. I will also bring about a new policy that will create a sector specific green timeline and objectives that companies will have to achieve. This will help each economic sector to identify their requirements to go green and invest resources accordingly.
In the current Ottawa housing market, many families are struggling to pay the high rent or mortgages. Even with the lowest interest rates in history, young people working full-time are increasingly finding it harder to buy homes. I will lobby for providing incentives to builders so that they invest into environment-friendly and affordable houses for average Ontarians.
Homelessness is a multi-dimensional and complex social problem. Lack of affordable housing is one of the leading causes of homelessness. I will work towards ensuring synergistic actions by all levels of government to find a solution to end homelessness.
Increased Road Safety and Infrastructure
Unsafe road conditions like open rail and bus crossings are contributing to death and injury of pedestrians and cyclists in Nepean. I will work with the city, provincial and federal authorities to ensure every measure is taken to increase road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Measures will include either overpass or underpass at crossings, and designated bike lanes in accident prone areas.
As our community is growing, the demand for Infrastructure such as roads, bridges, sewers, schools, libraries and medical facilities will also increase. I will work with the city, provincial and federal authorities to enhance the development and improved maintenance of our infrastructure.
Let us build a better Nepean, together!
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