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Tim Vine ready to face challenges of MPP office

Liberal Algoma-Manitoulin candidate cites health care key electorate concern
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Tim Vine campaigning.

Tim Vine declared his interest early in replacing New Democrat MPP Mike Mantha in Algoma-Manitoulin in June's provincial election.

Tim Vine is currently a hospital executive on Manitoulin Island. He and his wife made the transition to the north first when he accepted a position with the City of Elliot Lake as Director of Finance and Treasurer before assuming an operational role with the Health Centre on Manitoulin. He is quick to say he has many family connections in northern Ontario these days. 

Tim’s education consists of an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Huron University College, a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario. Right now, he’s completing a Master of Business Administration degree (CPA Stream) from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University.

Tim and his wife Crystal are currently based in Little Current and Algoma Mills until June 6, when Vine is to assume his upcoming role as vice-president of finance and corporate services at St. Joseph's General Hospital. 

ElliotLakeToday: What do you see as the campaign issues. (Not necessarily party platforms)?

When I talk with people on the phone or at the door, I'm hearing a lot of concern for health care, especially increasing capacity and quality of long-term care and home care. We know that rural northern Ontario has an aging population and people want to know they will be able to receive services close to home, allowing them to remain in the comfort of their own homes. We have a lot of work to do to ensure northern residents have the same access to the service levels as those in urban areas down south. As a local healthcare leader, I know well the challenges of providing high-quality healthcare services in our communities.

I have brought that experience to the table in helping to shape the OLP platform (coming soon!) to ensure there is Northern representation on the issue.

People are also concerned about affordability. We have seen a drastic rise in the cost of homes in the last two years throughout Algoma Manitoulin, and many worry about how their family members will be able to afford to buy in this market. The sudden increase in demand has had a knock-on effect on the cost of renting and when paired with the rising costs of aging municipal infrastructure - for many seniors and those on support programs that have seen little by way of increases (OAS, ODSP) we have an unworkable situation.

People deserve to have economic dignity - to not have to worry about whether they can afford both their hydro bill and grocery bill. I've spoken with many municipal leaders who have underscored the need to work on supporting municipalities in upgrading their infrastructure (water/wastewater) to allow for new construction to take place and help ease the housing shortage we have in northern Ontario. And while we will all enjoy a break at the gas pumps, I've been very concerned to see that the proposed PC solution is to reduce the gas tax - which we know our local municipalities rely on to subsidize infrastructure repairs and that reductions in the gas tax will ultimately just result in higher taxes at the municipal level. 

ElliotLakeToday: Who can best lead the province, and why? 

I think this election, in particular, is an important question of who Ontarians trust to lead a post-pandemic recovery in the province. We have a lot of work to do in healthcare and long-term care, but also in public education. Healthcare workers - from doctors to housekeepers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic and are rightly exhausted. Teachers, educational assistants, and school administrators are too.

I think folks in Algoma Manitoulin need to reflect on who can best lead the province as we deal with the effects of the pandemic in healthcare, long-term care, and education. Do we want four more years of Ford's PCs, looking to privatize healthcare and make it less accessible for us in the north?  Or do we want a progressive alternative in Ontario Liberal Party, with Steven Del Duca working to provide adequate funding for health and education rather than an $8 billion highway no one wants in Toronto? 

ElliotLakeToday: Reflecting on the fact that Ontario for all its economic wealth spends less than the average provincial government per capita on health care. Why we are being so cheap, especially at a time when we have a huge aging population? 

To me, healthcare is the most important issue of the election. The cracks in the system that we all knew were there have become so visible during the pandemic that we can no longer ignore them.

We need more resources in healthcare, more doctors and nurses, and other regulated health professions (like lab techs). I have seen firsthand the burnout on the frontlines and know that part of the solution is creating more capacity in our system by ensuring we have more people to provide care. This won't be an easy fix and will require a well-coordinated response, and particularly here in the north, this will need to combine increasing capacity by first ensuring that our young people see a career in healthcare as a viable option that will allow them to remain in their communities, that we have sufficient local post-secondary training (NOSOM, Algoma U, Laurentian U) and that we have better on-going incentives to remain in northern healthcare through the restoration of the New Nursing Grad program - a program I have and will continue to advocate for.  The OLP will have more to say about healthcare in our platform. 

ElliotLakeToday: Through the election campaign, hundreds of millions of provincial government dollars have been doled in the last few months, largely in Sudbury, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, but not in Elliot Lake  Any theories? 

I think Algoma-Manitoulin needs an effective voice at the table to ensure we receive the full benefit of government support for transportation and infrastructure. We have seen a large investment in adjacent areas as we head into election season but little by way of investment in A-M. I could only speculate on why that might be, but what I can say is that I can work with anyone, across all parties, to ensure A-M gets what it needs to provide the best life possible for people who call this riding home.

Should I earn the confidence of the people of Algoma-Manitoulin to be their representative I will work tirelessly to ensure that Queen's Park not only hears the northern perspective but that real action is taken to improve the lives of those in the riding and across the north?

What are you hearing at the door?

I'm hearing that people are more than ready for a change. We have been through such exceptional times in the past two years, but people are starting to question if Ford is the right premier to lead Ontario's post-COVID recovery.

If you think we need a new premier, a vote for me here in Algoma-Manitoulin is the clearest choice to replace Ford's PCs with a progressive government, ready to spend wisely and make the tough choices to preserve public health care, strengthen our public education system, and support critical local infrastructure. 

Readers can contact Vine at 705-261-2680 or by email at timvine.am@gmail.com.