ROB COLLINS-NEW BLUE ONTARIO PARTY
Let’s start with a brief bio-where are you from, what is your educational background and professional background prior to getting into politics?
I was born, raised and educated in Belleville and the Quinte area. I graduated from the Business Administration program at Loyalist College, and spent a few years managing my family’s equipment rental business for a number of years. I joined the Ontario Fire Service as a volunteer firefighter in 1991, and eventually made firefighting my full-time career, putting in 30 years as a firefighter, Captain and Chief Officer in communities in Ontario and British Columbia.
What made you decide to enter the race to be MPP of Bay of Quinte?
I have always been politically conservative, and I voted for the Doug Ford PCs in 2018. Over the last 4 years I have been very disappointed in the Ford government, their broken promises and their heavy-handed approach to managing the COVID 19 pandemic. I did not see the other mainstream parties as legitimate alternatives, so I started investigating alternative options. I learned about the New Blue Party, and Belinda Karahalios’ efforts to oppose the Ford government. I decided to join the party, and eventually to enter the race as the local candidate, hoping to be able to make a difference and to get Ontario’s government back on track.
Why is your party the right choice for Bay of Quinte?
The New Blue Party is the only party advocating for fiscal responsibility, and a plan to save Ontario’s economy from the crushing debt the past few governments have created. We understand there are important programs which need to be funded, including a reimagining of the healthcare system, changes to the education system, and funding increases to social programs; but we understand deficit budgets and continued borrowing are not the best way to fund these. The only way to get inflation under control and to improve the Ontario economy is through austerity and fiscal responsibility going forward.
What would you say are the top three issues facing Bay of Quinte right now?
Energy issues, including the high cost of motor fuel and home-heating fuel, and the high cost of electricity.
Doug Ford had promised to introduce measures to reduce these, but costs continue to rise. Economic issues such as unaffordable housing, high inflation and challenges facing small and medium businesses trying to recover from the extended lockdowns and other financial carnage associated with the pandemic. Health care issues, including backlogs and wait lists for procedures, a shortage of long term care beds, and the need for expanded mental health services.
If elected, what would be your biggest priority?
My biggest priority is a return to transparent, responsible government and ensuring that the government’s abuse of emergency measures legislation does not continue. The Ford government has used such measures to bypass our democracy, taking away the ability of elected MPPs to express the concerns of their constituents. Individuals have seen their Charter rights and freedoms restricted, including the right to gather for worship, the right to make medical decisions and the right to liberty. These rights and freedoms must be restored immediately, and steps must be taken to ensure that such abuses never happen again.
Why are you the right candidate for this riding?
I am the right candidate because I am not a politician; I am in this to try to do the right thing for the constituents of this riding. I have a clear vision of what I believe the future of this province should look like, and I am enthusiastic to work at making that vision happen. My willingness to serve my community has been proven through 30 years of emergency services work, and I am ready to turn that drive and dedication toward serving my community at Queens Park.