The MyWestNipissingNow.com newsroom reached out to all the candidates that will be on the ballot for the June 2 provincial election to get their thoughts on the issue that matters in the riding.
Each week leading up to election day, we will publish a story with each candidate answering a question that residents have as they head to the polls.
According to social services and municipal agencies, homelessness, opioids, mental health and addictions have all been intertwined into a major issue affecting communities and constituents right across the riding. What is your party’s plan, including concrete actions, to deal with this complex issue?
John Vanthof – Ontario New Democratic Party
New Democrat John Vanthof says if elected, his party would put mental health services available under OHIP, so everyone would have access.
Vanthof says that would make many services available to many families in our riding and Ontario who can’t currently afford help. Vanthof says that’s not right in our society, and publicly funded services would help in the long-term dealing of the addictions and mental health crises.
Gary Andrade – New Blue Party of Ontario
New Blue Candidate Gary Andrade says pop-up clinics, and bringing mental health experts to the north are not quick fixes, but would help people get on the right track.
He says it is a long process, but getting more people trained in the mental health field, and bringing them north is a start.
Andrade says we also can’t be “lock people up again”. He says “locking people” in their homes for two years was damaging, and people who were on the fringe before the pandemic, saw their symptoms worsen. He says looking at decisions the government made, training more people, and having more services available would all help alleviate these issues.
Kris Rivard – Green Party of Ontario
Green candidate Kris Rivard says mental health is health, and we need to treat it that way.
Rivard says the Green Party is proud of its mental health plan. He says the plan would make care more affordable, accessible and comprehensive for anyone who needs it.
He says the Green’s plan includes a 3 digit crisis hotline, so people can access care right at home. He says children’s mental health care waitlists would also shorten by increasing funding. He says the Greens would also create a mental health and addictions ministry, which would help health care providers and constituents simultaneously.
Rivard says all these services can be funded through legal cannabis sales, as well as revoking the license plate sticker “gimmick”, which he says takes $ 1.2 billion away from the province’s budget which can be allocated towards these services.
Eric Cummings – Ontario Libertarian Party
Our riding’s Libertarian Candidate says government programs and services have failed when dealing with these issues.
He says it’s time to take a regional approach to deal with these issues. He says a short-term plan would include safe consumption sites, and providing more resources to family and frieds of individuals dealing with addictions, mental health or homelessness issues. For the long-term, Cummings says he would support making housing more affordable and reduce unemployment in the riding.
MyWestNipissingNow.com was unable to reach other party candidates prior to publishing but will update this list when we do.