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Candidates talk turbines, Green Energy and health care

With advance voting days open this weekend, candidates are in the final stretch to the Monday, Oct. 19 federal election.

Industrial wind turbines in the County, the Green Energy Act and the high cost of prescription medicines were the topics of choice for Picton and Wellington Rotarians hosting a Bay of Quinte all-candidates’ meeting Wednesday.

Jodie Jenkins, conservative candidate said said he would be seeking “not a moratorium on wind turbines, but no wind turbines.”

“The reality is that provincial Liberals are not listening,” said Jenkins. “I have met with senior Conservatives who actually have stopped wind turbine projects… one in the Ottawa area. I have sought advice from them and we have been talking about it and will continue to talk about it. My track record in Belleville is one of a fighter. That’s who I am. I stand up and people listen. And I will continue to be that fighter, not only for the County, but for Quinte West, for Belleville and the entire Bay of Quinte region.”

Neil Ellis, Liberal candidate, said “Unwilling host communities, should not be hosts” for industrial wind turbines.

“Mr. Trudeau has said ‘the economy must not trump the environment’ and when I’ve sat with the people who don’t want the windmills this seems to be what’s happening. Big business is winning on this. We’ve had a seasoned MP in Daryl Kramp in this riding and it still hasn’t stopped it,” said Ellis. “The Green Energy Act is broken… It’s a provincial issue, but other governments have a Green Energy Act with all the profits going to the MUSH sector – municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals. That would be my advice. Your council today has set up that they will be owning some of their own rooftop solar projects on their buildings here and have money coming back. When I was mayor (of Belleville) we put the largest rooftop solar project in Canada on top of the Quinte Sports Centre. It’s about trying to take advantage of an act.”

Trueman Tuck, Independent candidate said he would first want a shut down of the Wolfe Island project to protect nature in the area.

“Until you and I as citizens have real power… independent of the individual party people, we will never reclaim the Canada that our parents and grandparents sacrified so much to defend. We are losing in peace time, what we won in war,” said Tuck. “We are the first generation in 100 years to leave to our children, and to our grandchildren, a far worse society than we inherited from our parents.”

NDP candidate Terry Cassidy and Green candidate Rachel Nelems were not in attendance.

The candidates were asked for their position on a national “pharmacare” program for three million Canadians who cannot afford to pay for prescription medicine.

“The root cause is that we don’t have integrated medicine, including traditional natural medicines, at all levels of government,” said Tuck. “The governments should expand the coverage universality the same as MPs have, for everyone, with everything included.”

“Since 2006 the Conservative government has increased health care transfers by over 70 per cent to the provinces so it’s frustrating when you hear the pleas and the passion of groups such as POOCH, or Our TMH and of course, yesterday, QHC making announcements of even more cuts they’re facing. It’s a mess, provincially and I have very great concerns,” said Jenkins. “I think we need to get a little more aggressive with how the province spends the money.”

Ellis said Ottawa needs to discuss health care and pharmacare but the current Prime Minister is not meeting with the provinces. “Also part of it is to reel ‘big pharma’ in… Government needs to step forward and take a leadership role.”