Essex MPP Leardi hosts second annual community coffee connection event

Affordability was the top topic of conversation Essex Riding MPP Anthony Leardi heard at the series of community coffee connection events he hosted in Essex, Amherstburg, and Kingsville last week.

“We had a pretty good turn out,” Leardi said from the Essex event that took place at Acorn and Oak Coffee Company on Friday.

Though residents voiced concern about affordability across the board, Leardi heard constituents were concerned with the cost of groceries and housing. In terms of the cost of mortgages, Leardi noted many voiced concerns as to whether or not their children and grandchildren would ever be homeowners.

He also heard from attendees that many were “furious with municipal property tax increases.” Many municipalities opted for larger increases this year to combat inflationary pressures and costs of doing business.

It was satisfying to hear, with the rising costs, many had commented on the Provincial Government’s move to dissolve fees for license plate stickers and lowering the provincial portion of the gasoline tax.

According to Ontario Newsroom, since July 1, 2022, Ontario has lowered the gasoline tax by 5.7-cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3-cents per litre. The government is proposing to extend the rate cuts, so the tax rate on gasoline and fuel (diesel) would continue to remain at 9-cents per litre until June 30, 2024. He found those attending his event liked that the Provincial government is promoting skilled trades, which is huge for this area with all of the automotive investments being made.

There was investment in the 2023 Provincial Budget for training young people, especially at the high school level. The budget highlight presented last year noted the province will help close to 27,000 students earn credits towards both their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and a postsecondary degree, diploma, certificate, or Certificates of Apprenticeship at the same time through dual credit opportunities.

On February 13, Newsroom Ontario issued a press release, noting “The Ontario government is keeping costs down for people by introducing legislation that, if passed, would give Ontario voters a direct say over a new provincial carbon tax, c ap-and-trade system or other carbon pricing program.

This proposed legislation would protect people and businesses from the high cost of a provincial carbon tax by requiring the government to first obtain the consent of Ontario voters through a referendum before implementing a new provincial carbon pricing program.”

Premier Doug Ford stated in that press release that, “I’ve always said, the carbon tax is the worst tax. It increases the cost of everything. We need to protect Ontario workers and families from the high cost of a carbon tax and we urge the federal government to do the same.”

In addition, Leardi was proud of the recent announcement that the Provincial Government committed $424,525to the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic to expand its services into Kingsville. This will help roster 1000-1200 additional patients, connecting constituents to primary care.

Leardi is looking forward to the Provincial Budget being tabled in what will likely be in March. He predicts there will be no new taxes and that building infrastructure will be included.

Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Essex Free Press