The Liberal candidate for Guelph says a Conservative government headed by Doug Ford would undo the advances made by the last provincial government in combating gender-based violence.
Sly Castaldi, Liberal candidate for Guelph, was one of three area candidates at Wellington Brewery for an event Tuesday evening welcoming party leader Kathleen Wynne.
Joining Castaldi at the brewery was Jon Hurst, candidate for Wellington—Halton Hills and Brendan Knight, who is standing for the Liberals in Perth—Wellington.
Castaldi has put her career as executive director of Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis on hold to run for the provincial Liberal seat for the riding of Guelph.
She said she has a tremendous amount of respect for Wynne in spearheading policies against gender-based violence and sexual violence and harassment.
“That was bold. No one has ever done that. No premier ever in the history of this province has ever done that,” said Castaldi. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for her, I think she is incredibly brave and I think she cares a lot about this province. It’s why I am running.”
Under a Doug Ford government, suggested Castaldi, those programs would be cut.
“He’s saying that. I don’t have to speculate, he’s saying it and that worries a lot of people in this province,” said Castaldi.
GuelphToday has not been able to independently verify that Ford has said he would make any cuts to such programs.
About 80 supporters attended the event in support of the three candidates. As Wynne’s bus pulled into the parking lot, a half-dozen protesters held up Wellington Water Watchers signs that read ‘Say no! To Nestlé’.
After exiting the bus and greeting the area candidates, Wynne walked toward the protesters.
One protester said this was Wynne’s opportunity to declare a phase out of bottled water.
Wynne said the province is working toward making a rational decision on water taking.
“You know we have tightened the regulations, you know we are doing a review. So you are going to work with us and we are going to get the right answer,” said Wynne.
Inside the brewery, Wynne posed for photos and shook hands before addressing the crowd.
She began by thanking longtime MPP Liz Sandals, who has represented Guelph since 2003 under the Liberal banner.
“These are big shoes to fill, but I know you can do it, Sly — you’re doing it,” said Wynne.
This election, said Wynne, is very, very important.
The discussion is about moving forward and investing — in preschool child care, support for mental health, home care, increase in minimum wage and to support programs against sexual assault and violence against women.
“Whether we are going to do that, or whether we are going to succumb to an agenda that Doug Ford is putting forward with cuts — cuts across government, cuts to education, cuts to health care. We cannot go there as a province, we have seen that movie before,” Wynne told the crowd.
With just over three weeks to go, Wynne asked volunteers to knock on as many doors as they can — and then knock on 10 more.
“I lost my first election by 72 votes — we’re not doing that,” she said.