Title - Pulse of Our Community
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Jason Setnyk and Todd Bennett are two local political guys who regularly weigh in on community issues. They are not a cheerleader for any one particular poltical party or community group, nor do they debate each other. In fact, they do not even see the other person's response before it is posted. Sometimes they agree and sometimes it is a friendly wrestling match of words! Setnyk and Bennett give their perception of what the pulse of our community is on a number of issues. Enjoy!
Setnyk and Bennett differ on Sign War and Immigrant Tax Credit
Jason Setnyk & Todd Bennett

Setnyk and Bennett differ on Sign War and Immigrant Tax Credit
Pulse of Our Community columnists Jason Setnyk and Todd Bennett don't agree with one another on either issue in this week's column. They disagree on who is winning the sign war and the value of signs in general. They also have different opinions on McGuinty's immigrant tax credit plan.
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Cornwall - Sep. 14, 2011 - 1) The writ has been dropped and the election signs are out. In this early stage of the campaign, who do you think is winning the sign war? Also, do you think election signs influence voters?

SETNYK - In the early stages of the election I've seen many Elaine MacDonald signs up in Cornwall. However, I expect the Liberals and PCs to catch up. I've heard from a trusted friend, the PCs are winning the sign war in the counties. Signs are an important part of campaign advertisement, because they help create name recognition. Name recognition in itself does not ensure votes, however this is an important first step. Once a potential voter recognizes your name, they are more likely to identify it in news media and in campaign literature. If the voter remembers your name, supports your party, likes what they learn about you and your party in the media, and recognizes you at the door, then they are more likely to vote for you. Out-signing your opponent is like winning an online poll, it is not scientific, and often there is no correlation between signs and total votes. However, as a form of advertisement, signs make a lot of sense in an election.

BENNETT - When I drive around town, I mostly see signs from the Liberals, and Conservatives. There are very few NDP signs to date. From what I can tell, there are as many Jim McDonell signs as there are for Mark MacDonald. If you get a prize for biggest sign, then you would have to give it to Mark MacDonald, for his monster billboard sign near the Standard Freeholder building on Montreal Road. I guess the real question comes down to this. Do the amount of signs you have, increase your chances of winning. For me, the answer is no. I think, if a candidate has 20 signs in some prime locations around the city and counties, it is much more effective then having a couple hundred lawn signs scattered all over the place. When I ran for council last year, I had 20 big signs made, and placed them on busy streets and intersections. I far exceded the amount of votes I thought I would get for my first run, and I got a lot more votes than some other candidates who by far outnumbered my sign total. Sometimes, less is more, when you do it right.

2) The McGuinty Liberals were the last to release their platform and in it there is a promise to pay companies $10,000 to hire foreign workers. The Hudak Conservatives have said, "If you are an unemployed worker in Ontario, you know where you stand with Dalton McGuinty: he is going to pay employers to hire anyone but you." What are you hearing as the public reaction to these positions?

SETNYK - I think Mark MacDonald is going to have a hard time explaining to voters in SDSG why it is a good thing to give companies a $10,000 tax credit to hire foreign workers. However MacDonald is right when he says, "there are many existing programs to fund companies to employee Canadians such as the Eastern Ontario Development Fund, the Rural Economic Development program, Second Career and Employment Ontario." Jobs are important for the immigrant community, just like they are important for everyone. I think Hudak's comment, “ he is going to pay employers to hire anyone but you” borders on being racist. It's no secret Hudak associates this tax credit as a form of affirmative action, and he is against this. However the wording by the Conservatives seems to be misleading on purpose. According to CBC, “the credit doesn't apply to those who aren't Canadian citizens - it applies to new Canadians who live in Ontario and have been in the country for up to five years.” Our government should ensure opportunities exist for all people. Skilled immigrants deserve an opportunity to find meaningful work and become tax payers too. They face many obstacles to finding meaningful employment, obstacles many of us will never have to face, and we need to be empathic about this. After-all, 97% of Canadians are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. We live in a diverse and multicultural nation, and we should be creating fair opportunities for all people, and not having this 'us against them' attitude.

BENNETT - Dalton McGuinty has just handed Tim Hudak a great big gift with his promise to give $10,000.00 to employers who hire foreign workers. This is clearly a promise made to win votes among new Canadians, most of whom are centered in Toronto. This has the potential to backfire, especially if Hudak jumps all over it. How many of our young men and women coming out of college are excited by this new promise? How many parents of these young people are going to be furious about spending thousands of dollars on juniors education, only to see employers hire foreign workers to take advantage of the $10,000 credit? This promise will do nothing but anger someone who has been put out of work in the last couple of years due to the global recession. On top of the fact there are many people fighting for the few good jobs that are out there, you will have to be so good, that a future employer will pass on $10,000 to hire you. Good luck. I have not heard one positive thing about this promise yet. Not even from the very people it was designed to help. If the government would just clear all the hurdles a foreign worker needs to jump over to become qualified in this province, McGuinty wouldn't need to bribe employers to hire them. If Hudak plays this right, he may very well have found something that will finally stick to Teflon McGuinty, and end his run at being Ontario?s Premier.

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