Leitch passionate about helping kids 0
Conservative party candidate Kellie Leitch said she built her home in Creemore because the area and its people are very similar to where she grew up.
"People have the same values. People are hardworking, they look after their community. You know, if there's something in the community that's needed in Creemore, everybody pitches in," said Leitch, who was born in Manitoba and grew up in Fort McMurray, Alta.
She said the people in Creemore are hardworking and reliable - the values and atmosphere similar to her hometown.
"I remember our swimming pool burnt down and everyone pitched together to rebuild it," she said.
"In Creemore, I haven't been there very long, but if they want something done the volunteers get together and make sure it happens," she said.
Leitch moved to Ontario in 1987 to begin her post-secondary education. She attended Queen's University for her undergraduate degree and the University of Toronto for medical school. She also has a MBA from Dalhousie University.
She has been a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon for 10 years, and works quarterly, every 12 weeks at a child development clinic in Orillia.
Five years ago the Finance Minister Jim Flaherty asked Leitch to chair an expert panel for a fitness tax credit for children, which became law a year later, said Leitch, and is now used by about 1.4 million families.
Leitch said she is passionate about fighting childhood obesity and refers to it as the next tobacco.
"To be able to have that kind of impact - I'll never see over a million children in my clinic," she said, adding the party intends to extend the tax credit to adults.
"For me to take my professional education and apply it to policy in a really meaningful way that's impactful for families, that's the reason that I'm doing this," said Leitch. "It's about impact and change for families, and making sure the things that are being implemented that affect them are things that they want."
Leitch said the topics of jobs, agriculture, healthcare and seniors are the main issues in Simcoe-Grey.
"People want and need permanent jobs and that goes hand-in-hand with making sure there are tax cuts to stimulate the economy," said Leitch, adding the job creation tax plan and federal tax cuts through income splitting are helpful.
"Small businesses are really the backbone of Canadian society," said Leitch.
She points to the party's $1,000 hiring tax credit for small businesses and the apprenticeship tax credit.
Leitch said the Conservative party would also provide agricultural incentives.
"Not only would the hiring tax credit benefit them, but also an agriculture innovation initiative - $50 million over two years to stimulate what's going on with new innovative ideas that can be commercialized in agriculture."
She said her party's platform includes student loan forgiveness for doctors up to $40,000 and nurses up to $20,000 for service in remote or rural areas.
Leitch said senior citizens should have a voice.
"A number of seniors have a ceiling on what they are making and the cost of living is rising," Leitch said, adding she will make sure seniors' issues are addressed.
- ksmith@theenterprise bulletin.com