LAKEFIELD – Peterborough-Kawartha Progessive Conservative candidate Dave Smith said he doesn’t think any more solar or wind farms should be added in Ontario.
“We do not need them,” he said at an all-candidates’ debate in Lakefield on Wednesday evening. “We produce 50% more electricity than we can actually use.”
Smith was at the debate hosted by the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce and Tourism at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 77 in Lakefield and moderated by Examiner columnist David Goyette.
Smith debate alongside incumbent Liberal Jeff Leal, Sean Conway (NDP) and Gianne Broughton (Green party).
Rob Roddick of the Trillium party was in the room, but didn’t participate in the debate.
Candidates Jacob Currier (Libertarian) and Ken Ranney (Stop Climate Change party) were invited but didn’t attend.
At one point on Wednesday a question came from resident Heather Watson, who was in the crowd: she asked what each candidate do about the prospect of valuable farmland being taken up with new solar or wind farms.
“The simple answer is: no more wind farms should be added and no more solar farms should be added,” Smith said.
But Leal said the provincial government has developed a new soil map that identifies what lands need to be set aside exclusively for agriculture – no solar or wind farms allowed there.
Smith said that’s hypocritical, coming from a party that allowed new wind farms on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Conway said he saw hypocrisy, too: he mentioned that “a certain party” leader recently mused about selling off portions of the Green Belt to developers.
“Why are we going to pave over farmland?” he asked.
Never mind all that, said Broughton: “Our concept is broader than this,” she said.
Broughton said the Green party sees a future with no investment in expensive nuclear power plants, for example, and the “extreme saving” could fund the cost of buying energy from elsewhere.
“We can get the electricity we need through Hydro Quebec,” she said.
Candidates were asked a broad selection of questions in the two-hour debate, including how they’d deal with the opioid crisis.
Smith said the PC party is releasing its platform “piecemeal” and has yet to unveil its strategy to deal with opioid addiction.
But there will be a PC strategy, he promised.
“Nobody can look at leader (Doug Ford) and say, ‘You have no idea what it’s like to have a loved one suffer,'” Smith said, referring to Doug’s late brother Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto.
“He (Doug Ford) knows it – he’s lived it…. And it will be addressed by the PC government,” Smith said.
Leal said the Liberal government has already developed an opiod strategy and has invested in it – and that will mean a safe-injection site for Peterborough, soon.
The government has also invested in widely available Naloxone kits, he noted.
Broughton said she heard medical officer of health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra speak recently, who listed her recommendations for dealing with opiod addiction.
All of those recommendations – which Broughton didn’t list – are in the Green party platform, she said.
“It’s clear what needs to be done – let’s go ahead and do it.”
Conway said the NDP proposes to develop a new ministry responsible for mental health and addiction issues.
“We need a separate ministry that deal with these issues,” he said.
Upcoming Peterborough-Kawartha candidate debates
•Thursday, May 24: 9 to 11:30 a.m., hosted by the Financial Advisors Association of Canada, Best Western; Action Against Poverty hosts, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Kenner Collegiate
•Monday, May 28: 7 p.m., hosted by the Peterborough Ad and Sales Club, Holiday Inn
•Wednesday, May 30, 7 to 8 p.m., live TV debate on Your TV
•Thursday, May 31, 6 to 8 p.m. debate on labour issues, hosted by Trent full-time and part-time faculty, McDonnel Street Activity Centre
Peterborough-Kawartha advance polls
Saturday until Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.:
•Peterborough Lions Community Centre, 347 Burnham St.
•Mapleridge Recreation Centre, 1085 Brealey Dr.
•Lakefield-Smith Community Centre, 20 Concession St., Lakefield
•Havelock-Belmont Methuen Seniors Club, 10 George St. W., Havelock
•North Kawartha Community Centre, 340 McFadden Rd., Apsley
•Trent Lakes Municipal Office, 760 County Road 36, Bobcaygeon
Advance voting also continues daily (until 6 p.m. June 6) at the Peterborough-Kawartha returning office in Peterborough Square, 360 George St. N. Unit 100 on Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., plus this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 3 from noon to 5 p.m.