If you haven't been picking up our print edition, you've missed plenty of interesting and informative content, including our request of the federal election candidates to tell our readers why they deserve your vote (October 2 print edition). With less than a week before the October 19 election day, here are the responses from the candidates.
Larry Miller (Conservative): Why You Should Vote For Me
I would like to start by thanking The Meaford Independent for allowing me the opportunity to present you with some information on the upcoming federal election.
As many of you know, the election is just a few weeks away. Throughout this campaign, I have had the opportunity to meet with many of you. Whether it was at a local event, or whether I knocked on your door, it has certainly been a pleasure to meet you and hear about issues that are important to you.
This election I am running on my record. As your Member of Parliament, I have tried to take a common sense approach to all issues. With this approach, I have been able to achieve several things such as:
Successfully passing a Private Member’s Bill to ban the bulk export of Canadian water
Worked alongside caucus colleagues to help abolish the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry
Secured significant funding through the Small Communities Fund for upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility in Meaford
However, while these are important achievements, there is more that can be done. My top priority is to represent the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound by ensuring that important funding from the federal level makes it to communities like Meaford. I have always stood up for local projects and will continue to do so.
During this campaign, you have undoubtedly heard a great deal about deficits and surpluses and, more generally, the economy as a whole. The global recession of 2008 was certainly alarming and forced the government to spend to revamp our national economy and run deficits during this period. However, it should be noted that Canada was the last country to enter the recession and the first country out of it. This is because the government knew when to spend and when to save. Having weathered the global recession atop all G7 countries the government is now focused on balanced budgets and debt repayment. And, with a reported surplus this year, this is very wise fiscal policy.
As we enter the final weeks of the campaign, you will hear many promises from various political parties about what they will do if elected. The Conservative party is proposing a plan that will not run unnecessary deficits and will support all Canadians. Announcements such as cutting payroll taxes by 20% will ensure job creation throughout the country. The announcement of investing $200 million for broadband internet services in rural areas of the country will support the expansion of internet services right here in Bruce and Grey counties. In fact, this past summer I was pleased to announce $1.12 million in funding for over 1,300 local homes through the Connecting Canadians program. There are measures to support seniors, families, farmers, students, sportsmen, veterans, and more. It is a well-balanced plan that will benefit all Canadians.
In closing, it has truly been an honour to serve you as the Member of Parliament for this riding. On October 19th, I ask for your support to continue to be your voice in Ottawa.
Kimberley Love (Liberal): Why You Should Vote For Me
I am invested in this riding. I began my education in a one room school house in Agnes McPhail country in south Grey, where my family has been farming for more than a century. I own 100 acres of our original family farm near Hopeville. I live in Owen Sound with my husband and daughter: the youngest of my four children.
I know big business and small business. I joke that I have worked on Bay Street, Main Street and the 'back forty'. I’ve enjoyed a successful career as a communications professional in agriculture and finance sectors; I’ve worked in journalism, small business advocacy, public relations and marketing communications. My career has taken me from agriculture research stations in Harrow, Ontario, to investment management offices in Dublin, Ireland. I still work privately as a communications consultant in the financial sector and have shared my expertise as a part-time faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Six years ago – worried about Harper’s plans for Canada – I decided to set aside some time in my life to try to do something about it. Although I never planned to be a politician, I have always been actively involved in the community. I’m a great believer in the role of private citizen in a democracy, and keep a copy of a famous quote from Louis Brandeis: “The most important office is that of private citizen.” But sometimes private citizens are called to greater action. This is one of those times.
In the time I’ve spent as a candidate (in both 2011 and 2015), and as a member of the Liberal Shadow Caucus (2011 to 2014), I’ve visited very corner of the riding, talked to thousands of citizens and hundreds of organizations. I have carried those voices – their concerns and ideas – to my caucus colleagues and policy makers. It’s been the hardest volunteer work I’ve ever done, but it’s also been gratifying, and a deep privilege to represent the aspirations of our community to Ottawa.
There is a breath of fresh air coming over Canadian politics. When I see the wave of young people flocking to the Liberal campaign, I find it, frankly, thrilling. When I tell people that we can change politics by giving MPs the freedom to vote for their constituents, they are optimistic about re-engaging in the critical work of being a citizen.
Real change means restoring democracy and a different way of doing politics. We need a different way of voting. We need to get away from ‘I win – you lose’ politics. MPs need to be able to vote freely to represent their constituents. “When you constrain the role of the MP,” Justin told me, “you shut Canadians out of government.” The muzzling of the individual MP has been spreading in Ottawa, under the guise of party 'discipline'. It’s no longer just the Harper team practising this 'command and control' grip over their members; the NDP under Mr. Mulcair, are whipping 100% of their votes.
Under Justin Trudeau the Liberals enjoy a teamwork approach to decision-making. Trudeau is a team leader, not a 'boss'. Candidates are regularly consulted. It’s an exciting and refreshing way to 'do politics differently', and it’s one that will allow me to give voice to this community if I am honoured to be chosen as MP later this month.
I could talk about our fairness platforms: our sensible, carefully costed plans to build a more balanced Canada. The plans to create the foundations for economic growth and prosperity here in Grey-Bruce. Or our plans to restore Canada’s reputation in the world: for compassion, for diplomacy, for climate change leadership, for innovation, for tolerance. You can read about our platform at www.realchange.ca.
But this election is about more than this policy or that. While we believe that our platform will lift tens of thousands of Canadians out of poverty – and set us on a new era of economic prosperity – the most important message of this campaign is change.
We have reason to be optimistic. A comprehensive poll last week confirmed that this is a swing riding: with the Liberals rapidly catching up to the Conservatives. I believe that it’s because people want change. Not simply a change in colour, but real change that makes a difference where they live. Closing the income gap. Creating healthy communities. Building a sustainable economy. And above all, they want a real voice at the table.
I can be that voice. I have the background both personally and professionally, I have a passion for Grey-Bruce, and I have a Party that gives me the freedom to represent my riding, and that respects the voice I bring to the national conversation. I connect with people in this riding from all walks of life, all income levels, and all education levels.
The real decision is in the hands of those who hold the most important office: that of private citizen.
This election, I’m asking for your vote, because together we can make real change happen.
David McLaren (NDP), Why You Should Vote For Me
Before moving to the Bruce Peninsula, I worked in both government and the private sector. I also worked in the arts industry as an award-winning writer and as an elected member of the Board of the Alliance of Canadian Radio and Television Artists.
Since moving to the region in 1990, I have worked with First Nations and with the Canadian Environmental Law Association. Until I won the nomination for the NDP, I was one of the so-called three Wise Guys with Bill Murdoch on CFOS. And I wrote several Forum articles for the Post Media chain, including the Owen Sound Sun Times.
With Peace & Justice Grey Bruce, I researched and wrote a Report on Precarious Work. Essentially, it’s an economic argument for paying a living wage. Wages that don’t get you to the end of the month contribute to our rising levels of inequality. They are also a proven drag on a community’s and a nation’s economy.
A report I wrote for Peace and Justice Grey Bruce on precarious work persuaded me that the ‘trickle down’ economics that Mr. Reagan started in the U.S. and adopted by Mr. Chretien, Mr. Martin and Mr. Harper is not working. Working age poverty in Canada is the 3rd highest of 17 developed countries.
Cutting corporate taxes and hoping jobs trickle down is a failed strategy. The New Democratic Party is the only party that will practise ‘bootstraps up’ economic management. We will raise corporate taxes by 2% and plug loopholes in tax laws.
We will cancel the Conservatives’ income splitting scheme (which costs over $2 billion a year but benefits only a wealthy 15%). However, we would keep income splitting for seniors (and add an additional $400 million to the GIS) because we know that the pensions of many of our neighbours are not keeping up with costs.
The revenue raised by these measures will fund safe, professional, $15 a day childcare. The evidence shows that a truly universal childcare program (not cash handouts) benefits lower income children later in life: they remain in school longer and they earn more later.
We will also invest in training positions for youth who now have the highest unemployment rate in our population. And we will work with the provinces to make postsecondary education more accessible and more affordable.
If voters send me to Ottawa, I will get the federal government to pay its fair share of the cost of bringing broadband Internet into the region. High-speed Internet is the technological highway that will attract the innovative economy.
I will also sit down with businessmen, unions, farmers, and local government in an ‘economic summit’. Together, we will work out a long-term economic strategy for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.
It would be much easier to run a deficit over the next three years and spend billions on construction. The NDP will target certain needs for infrastructure, but we will not run a deficit— not in the current world economic climate. The International Monetary Fund estimates the world’s economies will grow at less than 4% a year. The forecast for Canada is less than 2%.
There are other challenges: climate change, health care, energy strategies, and reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples are all crucial environmental and social justice problems that need to be addressed.
There is no reason why they can’t be tackled now, in tandem with tackling the economy. The NDP will put a price on carbon, and the revenues from that will be ploughed back into jump-starting innovative technologies.
Some large corporations (Suncor and Tembec) are now suggesting the best way forward on resource extraction would be to recognize that First Nations need “free, prior, and informed consent” on large-scale projects planned for their territories.
And that brings me to my last point. Some governments seem to thrive on fighting enemies they don’t have. Organizations like Amnesty International Canada or the David Suzuki Foundation are not foes of government; nor are artists, First Nations, or the courts. They, and we, are all part of the same democratic fabric.
As part of an NDP government I intend to implement a different way of doing government: one that is more inclusive, that listens to others even when their opinions differ from mine, and acts on the balance of consensus and evidence.
In my life I have learned how important this way of doing things really is. As an old African proverb puts it, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
NDP candidate for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
Chris Albinati (Green): Why You Should Vote For Me
To the readers of The Meaford Independent:
The riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound is stunningly beautiful and unique in the world. We are surrounded by Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, and we are adorned with amazing freshwater beaches, breathtaking views of the Escarpment, numerous hiking trails, two national parks, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, rich agricultural land, robust farmer’s markets, and so much more.
But this unique beauty is matched by challenges that are just as unique. We have more agriculture land moving from family to corporate hands. Local small businesses are getting bullied out by big box stores. Parents of post-secondary students not only have to save and pay tuition, but also rent and travel expenses when they send their kids away to college or university. There are also the many challenges of promoting and participating in the tourism opportunities which, it must be said, have been made even more difficult by the Conservative government. As well as, actually being consulted on how any changes in gun regulations will impact our livelihoods and safety. And of course, the environment with proposals to bury nuclear waste in limestone forever, or dredge the harbour in Owen Sound.
A critical issue for me personally, one that was definitely made worse by the current Conservative MP, has been in making sure that we, as Canadians, are building a deeper understanding of our responsibilities under our treaty relationship with the Chippewas of Nawash and Saugeen Nations.
These unique issues must be part of any discussion around the creation or changing of federal laws and policies that will impact the people of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound along with all Canadians. Over the last 11 years, the voice for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound has been largely silent (except when embarrassing us internationally by telling people who aren’t like us to “stay the hell where they came from”) and relegated to voting in favour of whatever the Harper government deemed important.
From the people I have talked to in this riding I have heard overwhelmingly that it is time to change. But who deserves your support in bringing forward that change?
At this point in the election there are many other dynamics coming into play. It is a complete toss up as to who will have enough seats to form even a minority government. And there is a strong contingent of voters from across the country that is determined to oust the Conservative party by voting for anyone but. A large majority of people that I talk to in this riding are stressing the need to vote strategically.
Now, I agree that in the current political reality we must vote strategically and that is why I decided to be the Green Party candidate in this riding. A good strategy does not just focus on the next step, but keeps in mind the direction that step is taking us in.
Much like the Conservatives, both the Liberals and the NDP have stressed the necessity of building pipelines to transport diluted bitumen from Alberta to tide waters in BC, down south or east to Ontario and Québec. Much like the Conservatives, the Liberals voted in favour of Bill C-51, a security bill that leading experts from Canada and around the world have condemned as a gross violation of our individual rights and freedoms. Much like the Conservatives, the NDP are promising to “balance the budget” for the next four years, but are not entirely clear on how they will “stay [THAT] course” set by the Conservatives without having to adopt many of the same types of austerity measures. Things like deep cuts to Parks Canada, Veterans Affairs, our National Library and Archives and science generally.
But critically, much like the Conservatives, both the Liberals and the NDP whip the votes of their respective caucuses.
On this point, the Green Party stands fundamentally apart, which is why there is only one candidate in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound who, if elected, can speak, act and vote with their conscience for their constituents. I’m proud to be that candidate.
So if we are going to vote for change, then what direction should we go in? Again, after doing my homework and looking at all of the parties’ positions, I decided to run for the Green Party because I believe the only direction we should be going in is forward, not sideways.
Green Party Candidate for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound