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Candidate survey results – Irene Mathyssen, New Democratic Party of Canada, London-Fanshawe

i Nov 23rd No Comments by

How do you think our current electoral system (FPTP) impacts women and minority groups? What difference would a proportional representation model or other electoral reform make to these groups?

Proportional representation would indeed help both women and First Nations. It’s essential that our governments reflect the population.

The Fair Elections Act removes the provision for people to vouch for those with no ID. This has the potential to disproportionately impede people such as those experiencing homelessness from voting. What is your plan to ensure these individuals are able to vote?

We would repeal or amend the so-called Fair elections Act. It might be possible to introduce changes like the changes proposed by New Democrats at committee.

Newcomers to Canada experience high levels of social isolation and often have multiple barriers to receiving optimal healthcare. If elected, how will you and your party address these challenges?

New comers need social agencies that can support and connect them to the services and professionals they need. There are not enough settlement services and workers in Canada. Good community connections help families to integrate and make the best use of all service providers. family re-unification is also key to good integration.

Please comment on Bill C24, the legislation that gives the government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship and also makes it more difficult to become Canadian.

This bill creates two classes of citizens; this is not acceptable. New Democrats have indicated we would withdraw this bill.

How would you address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada? Do you support an inquiry?

There must be an inquiry so that we can look at the systemic causes of this violence. New Democrats have promised we would call an inquiry within 100 days of our taking office as government. First Nations, Metis and Inuit people know and are ready to address the solutions to the tragdey of poverty, violence and lack of opportunity in their communities. We must have nation to nation dialogue and a firm commitment to respecting the treaty, land and resource rights of indigenous people. We also must make sure there are financial resources to address the need for education, decent housing and access to services and opportunities.

Education funding levels in First Nations have long been noted to be sub-standard to what is provided across Canada. On average on reserve education spending is $2000 less per student than what is offered by the provincial education systems. What steps would you take to begin closing the funding gap for First Nations students on reserve?

The cap on First Nations funding must be lifted immediately. We need open, clear dialogue on a nation to nation basis will allow First Nations to articulate their needs. They must be our partners in resolving these issues. Patriarchal governments have not been successful in this very important area.

Canada is the only G8 country without a national housing strategy. Where do you stand on creating such a strategy?

We would create a national housing strategy because decent, affordable housing is the foundation of strong communities and healthy families.

Federal funding for homelessness through the Homelessness Prevention Strategy (HPS) has not been increased since its inception over a decade ago. As the rates of homelessness have increased significantly since that time, would you increase funding? What other strategies might you recommend to reduce homelessness? As well the steady decline of low cost housing is contributing to the homelessness problem. What suggestions would you have to address the issue of increasing access to affordable housing?

The current programmed HPS is condescending and is a short term approach. Because of the NDP, there was a national housing strategy from 1971 to 1993. We need to bring back that staratgey and ensure there are affordable, supported units available to familes and individuals of all ages and needs. CMHC is a good resource in regard to the funds needed to restart this vital programme.