I was born and raised in Stratford, Ontario. Aside from my time at school and in the military, I have lived here all of my life. It's where I want my fiancée and I to marry and raise a family. At a most basic level, that is why I'm running.
I spent years in the Conservative movement because I believed in what it claimed to support; economic competition to create good jobs, ending corporate welfare and I believed good fiscal management was an absolute necessity. I loathed communism and I have always hated undemocratic institutions like the Senate. I support a strong military and believe our veterans should be cared for when they come home broken from combat. Most of all, I was a Conservative because defending the rural communities and the way of life that I cherish meant everything to me.
It still does.
I joined the NDP because I still hold all of those beliefs but now realize they will never be achieved in today's Conservative or Liberal parties.
Both represent corporate socialism for the multinationals including $34 billion a year for fossil fuel subsidies according to the IMF. The NDP opposes it.
Stephen Harper claims to be a brilliant economic manager despite having spent seven of the last nine years telling us the economy is 'fragile'. Put up or shut up, Steve! You have had the time and the tools needed to fix it. Lead, follow or get out of the way.
Mark Twain once said 'Give a man the reputation of an early riser and that man can sleep until noon'. Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney are responsible for three quarters of the national debt. Harper alone has added $170 billion. The Liberals get the rest. How either one gets away with even pretending to be fiscally responsible baffles me. Both parties have slept in well past noon. It's time for a rude awakening. The NDP has the best track record across the country of balancing budgets at the provincial level. Tom Mulcair will take that same approach to Ottawa.
Both other parties supported the takeover of Canada's oil sands by CNOOC -- the state owned corporation of the Communist government of China. The NDP opposed it alone. A lot of people don't know that Stephen Harper was a Liberal but changed parties over Pierre Trudeau's National Energy Program back in 1981. In an extremely ironic twist, Harper has now constructed a new NEP but this time it's run out of Beijing with all the profits from Canada's God-given oil wealth going into the back pocket of a brutal Communist regime.
Both parties have gutted Veterans Affairs over the last 20 years -- a sin for which neither one should be allowed anywhere near power for a generation. We have lost more soldiers to suicide in the last ten years than we have to the Taliban. This is a national disgrace. The NDP will reopen the Veterans Affairs offices closed by the Harper Government.
On the subject of foreign policy, I whole-heartedly supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when they were initiated. It's a big reason why I joined the Canadian Forces myself.
While I'm proud of my time in the military, I was deceived about the wars and can now admit I was dead wrong.
Both wars have been unmitigated disasters. The Taliban are stronger than ever and gaining strength in Afghanistan while ISIS took over half of Iraq in a month. The Global Terrorism Index reports that 'terror' deaths increased by 61 per cent in 2013 alone. Global terrorism needs to be fought. The military will play a role in that but three things are clear.
1) The current approach to the War on Terrorism has failed miserably.
2) The people who led us into these disasters and brought us to the current quagmires shouldn't be anywhere near positions of power or crafting foreign policy in any form.
3) If we keep on doing the same thing and doubling down on the same failed policies, we will keep getting the same results.
It's time for new thinking, new leadership and new approaches to confronting terrorism. Stephen Harper and his neo-conservatives have made it worse. We are less safe and less secure because of the ideology he adheres to.
I truly thought Stephen Harper would do better on the Senate than his predecessors for two reasons.
1) I didn't think it was possible to do worse.
2) He came out of the Reform Party that had spent years calling for that disease-ridden palace of partisan misfits, hacks and losers to be overhauled.
Stephen Harper has done the impossible and made the Senate even worse. The NDP will do better. There is no need for a second chamber. The very concept is both elitist and offensive. We will move to abolish it.
On that note, I was a Conservative because I believed in getting tough on crime. I still do. Abiding by the very election laws you helped pass would be a good start.
The Conservatives will dismantle supply management in our dairy, poultry and egg farming sectors if they get another mandate. Stephen Harper called it a 'price fixing cartel'. Various people within the Liberal Party have made similar rumblings. As our nation heads into Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, do you trust them with your family's livelihood, heritage and community? The NDP will fight to the death to protect it and I will be the one leading the charge because it's a very good food production system that we should be proud of as Canadians.
Both parties have destroyed the railway system in this country including passenger rail service. The railways were built by a real conservative; Sir. John A. Macdonald. The NDP will move this nation towards a balanced national transportation strategy.
Both parties have slashed health care, pensions, the military and infrastructure while cutting corporate taxes every year. The NDP will tax the big corporations at competitive levels to ensure we have the revenues we need to build a better society for the next generation.
I have already outlined the values the Conservative Party preaches but never practices. The Liberals speak in the 'I feel your pain' language of classical liberalism promising daycare, health care and endless goodies then turn around once elected and govern like Conservatives. The Liberals differ from the Conservatives because they say they accept the science around climate change but they accomplished as much as the party that muzzles scientists and audits environmental groups on this file.
For all of their complaining about Conservative attack ads (and they are foul, to be sure) it was the Liberals who pioneered dirty politics and negative personal attacks. They also negotiated trade agreements in secret away from public scrutiny. Chretien and Martin centralized huge amounts of power in the PMO at the expense of parliament. The party presided over the deindustrialization of our economy. Stephen Harper merely took all of this to the next level. Harper didn't emerge out of vacuum. The stage for his emergence was set by the Liberals adopting right wing, neo-conservative policies that benefited foreign multinationals at the expense of working Canadians.
One way this has manifested itself has been through food bank usage. The fastest growing segment of food bank users in Canada are the working poor. These are people who work hard but still can't pay their bills and make ends meet. This is getting harder and harder as the cost of energy, food, education, housing and pretty much everything else skyrockets but wages stagnate.
This has to stop. There is a better way. This is why I joined the NDP.
The public is understandably cynical. All I can say is give us a shot. Lend us your support. If we turn out to be no better than the other two then you can go back to the other two in a couple of years. If the NDP cannot rise above Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright or Alphonso Gagliano, Chuck Guite and Jean Lafleur then we'll deserve to be tossed out of power. I'm not overly concerned. The bar has not been set very high. Canadians deserve far better. The NDP will deliver.
Tom Mulcair and Gary Schellenberger (the retiring Conservative MP for Perth-Wellington) actually have something in common. They both once worked for Jean Charest. Schellenberger ran in 1997 when Charest was the leader of the old Progressive Conservatives. I know because I worked on Gary's campaign. I was 14-years-old at the time. Meanwhile, Mulcair was a cabinet minister for four years under Charest when he was Premier of Quebec.
If this proves one thing it's that Tom Mulcair is not a radical ideologue. He's a modern progressive leader of a pragmatic but principled New Democratic Party that is ready to form government.
It also shows that the old Progressive Conservative Party of John Diefenbaker and Robert Stanfield is as dead as the dinosaurs. The Liberal party of Lester Pearson and Louis St. Laurent is nowhere to be found. They exist in name only.
Starting with Jack Layton, the NDP transitioned into the mainstream of Canadian society while the Liberals sold out and moved to the right. The Conservatives have simply gone insane. The peas and carrots of the Liberals and the Conservatives may be a little different but the steak is identical.
It's time to boot them both.
It's time to return this country to the good old fashioned common sense, community-minded ethics and traditional values that made Canada the greatest nation on earth.
The NDP is not anti-business. Far from it. Real entrepreneurs who develop a vision, take a risk, employ Canadians and actually produce something real will have the full support of a Mulcair government to make their dreams a reality. Financial speculators, foreign multinationals and venture capitalists are going to be held accountable. Unlike the double standard under the Liberals and the Conservatives where there's socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest, the NDP will bring back the rule of law for everything and everyone. One set of rules regardless of birth or fortune! Period.
I have seen firsthand that the word 'commerce' means very different things depending on the business model. I worked for six years at Stratford's two radio stations. I watched them go from being owned by visionary local entrepreneurs to being owned by venture capitalists. The workplace that I loved became unrecognizably different. Tom Mulcair and the NDP are not anti-business. We are pro-business when businesses invest, produce, grow and help prosper the communities where they are stationed.
This is what I believe in. This is why I joined the NDP.
For the first time, Canadians have a viable, progressive third option. You are going to see the first ever three way race in federal politics in this country.
Tom Mulcair is ready to be Canada's next Prime Minister. I am ready to be the next Member of Parliament for Perth-Wellington.
Let's make history together!
For more information, go to my website or you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Perth-Wellington NDP nomination meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 4th at 2:00PM in the Kiwanis Centre in Stratford. It's located at 111 Lakeside Drive.
I hope to see you there!
Let's make history!
ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
We keep hearing about scrapping the long-gun registry, but really what we're talking about is scrapping the requirement for people to register their rifles and shotguns - that's what Bill C-19 aims to do by making amendments to the Criminal Code and Firearms Act. Once passed, people will not have to register their non-restricted or non-prohibited firearms. It also provides for the destruction of existing records in the Canadian Firearms Registry for those firearms. With files from CBC
It's a centralized database overseen by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that links firearms with their licensed owners. It contains information about all three types of guns that must be registered - non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. (All firearms must be registered.) To register a firearm, you have to have a licence to possess it.
No. Canadian residents need a licence in order to possess and register a firearm or ammunition and that won't change. There are a couple of different kinds of licences because of various changes to laws and regulations over the years.
There are three types of guns under Canadian law: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited. Most common long guns - rifles and shotguns - are non-restricted but there are a few exceptions. A sawed-off shotgun, for example, is a prohibited firearm. A handgun is an example of a restricted firearm. Different regulations apply to different classifications of firearms.
As of September 2011, there were about 7.8 million registered guns. Of those, 7.1 million are non-restricted firearms.
The government says it is wasteful and ineffective at reducing crime and targets law-abiding gun owners instead of criminals, who don't register their firearms.
Police and victims' groups are big supporters of the registry. Police say the database helps them evaluate a potential safety threat when they pull a vehicle over or are called to a residence. They also say it helps support police investigations because the registry can help determine if a gun was stolen, illegally imported, acquired or manufactured. This year, the RCMP says police agencies accessed it on average more than 17,000 times a day.
The government has passed the legislation and the registry no longer exists. Except for in Quebec, where an ongoing court challenge means the owners must still register their guns in the province.
The government is doing this to ensure that no future non-Conservative government can recreate the registry. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has also made it clear that if any province wants to set up its own registry it would get no help from the federal government. The Conservatives are so fundamentally opposed to the existence of the records, because they say they focus on law-abiding citizens instead of criminals, that they don't want them available for anyone to use.
The registry cost more than $1 billion to set up in 1995 and the cost was the source of much controversy. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said on Oct. 25 that the government's best estimate is that it costs about $22 million a year to operate. That's the entire registry, not just the long-gun portion, but he noted most of the guns in the registry are long guns. He said he didn't know how much money scrapping the requirement to register long guns would save the government. Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner says there are also "hidden costs" that are borne by provincial and municipal police agencies to enforce the registry.
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