Meet the candidates: Lambton-Kent-Middlesex – Maria Van Bommel
Maria Van Bommel, Liberal
Hometown: Our farm is located just north of Strathroy.
Occupation: Currently the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and poultry farmer with my husband Rene; mother of 5 and grandmother of 12.
Political experience: Two-term municipal councillor in former East Williams Township and MPP from 2003 to present; former Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and currently Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Community involvement: Founding member of Middlesex’s Women for the Support of Agriculture and the Ontario Farm Women’s Network; past director of Middlesex Federation of Agriculture and former provincial director of Ontario Federation of Agriculture; trustee on the board of governors for the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital, becoming its chair in 2001 and then the chair of the joint board of the Middlesex Hospital Alliance.
What is the best way to stimulate the economy in your riding?
Ensuring our youth are highly educated and our workforce has the apprenticeships and skills training available to them so that they are able to market themselves.
What is the biggest environmental issue facing your riding and what can be done to solve it?
Source Water Protection. We have implemented all the recommendations from the Walkerton Inquiry and are working with our communities to ensure our drinking water is safe.
What is your solution for Ontario’s energy needs?
We need to continue to invest heavily in green energy. In Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, this has resulted in investments in both solar and anaerobic digesters (which convert animal manure to energy).
Should we favour consumption taxes over income and corporate taxes?
Do you think the minimum wage should be raised to $10 per hour?
Yes, but as our government has recommended, this must be phased in to allow our small businesses the ability to afford and adapt to the change.
Do you support public funding for all faith-based schools?
I support further strengthening the existing publicly funded education system.
MMP or first past the post?
I have concerns about how MMP will further reduce the representation in rural Ontario and for that reason, I will be choosing to support the existing method of voting or FPTP.