Incumbent Mike Bossio will once again run as the Liberal representative in the Hastings-Lennox and Addington riding in the Oct. 21 federal election.
Prior to winning his seat in Ottawa, he ran a global high tech recruiting firm for 35 years, 25 of which he did so as his own business.
“I was really surprised at how much my life experience prepared me for the position I’m in now,” said Bossio. “Both from running a small business, being in recruitment and technology and living in a rural environment, fighting the Richmond landfill and being a community activist and then serving on municipal council. All of these roles really came together and were invaluable to me in Ottawa.”
He says his experience in recruiting helped to build his team, which he says have been a key part to his success in office.
Following the 2015 election, he listed digital infrastructure, infrastructure for small communities, economic development for rural communities and the establishment of a rural minister as his four major goals.
“We got them all,” said Bossio. “We got record investments. Hugely record investments in all of these areas. Over $6 billion is being invested into broadband connectivity and digital infrastructure. Over $2 billion is being invested into small community infrastructure. Over a billion dollars is being invested into economic development just in rural southern Ontario.”
Bossio also points to a $100 million investment in a rural innovation fund, as well as the establishment of a rural minister, a first in the history of Canada.
“Income inequality,” Bossio said when asked about some of the biggest issues facing the riding. “That kind of poverty that exists which is a result of income inequality and affordable housing and mental health care. The social predetermination to poverty that really need to be dealt with. I would say that’s one of the biggest. The digital infrastructure that allows our rural communities to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world as we transition to this environment. Number one is a toss up between poverty and climate change.”
On the campaign trail, his team has visited several homes in the riding.
“Our team has now knocked on, I think we’re over 45,000 doors, which is more than double than we did last time,” said Bossio. “You hear a lot at the door, but most of it revolves around affordability and homelessness and affordable housing, and climate change and digital infrastructure.”
“Anybody that knows me knows I’m not afraid of hard work,” said Bossio. “I’m not afraid to get out there. I’m not afraid to bring their issues and concerns to Ottawa and get stuff done. I’m going to continue to fight to represent my constituents, fight to represent Canadians and our municipalities in Ottawa. Their issues are first and foremost in my mind.”
He says the Liberals will be cutting taxes, making the first $15,000 of earned income tax free.
“We’re focusing our measures on low and middle income families that are the most vulnerable,” said Bossio. “Increasing childcare spaces by 250,000 for before and after school. Childcare is also a huge issue that I hear at the door with families. And with seniors, increasing that OAS (Old Age Security) by 10 per cent, the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) survivor benefit by 25 per cent, just like we did last time by increasing the guaranteed supplement, that’s a big deal for seniors. We know that’s a vulnerable segment of our society that has to be supported.”
On the topic of climate change, he says his goal to not only meet their targets, but exceed them.
“The most important one is the rebate on pollution and to make sure the rebate is up front to Canadians,” Bossio says of the part of the Liberal platform that stands out most to him. “It’s been shown that it’s the most cost effective way to deal with climate change. But you want to make sure you’re not hurting the most vulnerable within our society and the rebate takes care of that. This is 100 per cent revenue neutral. Ninety per cent of the revenue is going back to residents and 10 per cent is going to small businesses, municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals.”
“The environmental measures that we’re taking as a government, around climate change, around protecting spaces, we’ve made huge investments, $1.5 billion to increasing the protection of our oceans,” added Bossio. “When we came into government there was less than one per cent, we’re now at 14 per cent (of protected ocean), there was less than eight per cent, we’re now at 18 per cent protected land and fresh water. We’re going to increase both of these to 25 per cent by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030.”
As for his biggest priority if re-elected, he says it has to be the climate.
“We can protect the environment and grow the economy and create jobs at the same time,” said Bossio.