Youth put some pretty direct question to federal election candidates

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 1, 21015


It wasn’t a debate – but it got pretty freewheeling a couple of times and it was a more than decent opportunity to hear what the candidates thought about specific issues and to get a sense of where they were coming from in terms of why they were in politics.

Election poll

The national picture – tight – some of the Conservative seats are going to have a different seats are going to be a different colour – |Is Burlington one of them? Too early to tell.

3 things for BurlingtonThe event was sponsored by 3Things for Burlington – and was an event intended for youth. There were as many adults as there were youth in Centennial Hall at the public library but the young people brought the energy to the room. Some adults had questions they wanted to ask – there was no time – the young people had good direct questions – it was a pleasure to see them involved.

3 things - Randy Minaker

Randi Minaker introduces the panel:   Laird, Best, Gould, Damoff, Shabaz, Clement and |Wallace. They each set out the position and their main arguments quite well. Some had to use notes – why? – while others wandered off the topic – Wallace.

Attending were David Laird, New Democrat candidate for Burlington, Janice Best for the NDP in Oakville North Burlington, Karina Gould, the Liberal for Burlington; Pam Damoff the Liberal for Oakville North Burlington.

Adnan Shabaz the Green candidate for Oakville North Burlington, David Clement the Libertarian candidate and Mike Wallace.Member of Parliament for Burlington

David Laird is a long time New Democrat with some pretty hard boiled views on the economy and the role the banks play – he sees the money system as one that is a private thing run by the banks – he seems to have forgotten that the Bank of Canada is in the game and that the federal government regulates the banking industry.

Laird has the government in the pockets of the bankers.  He referred to an Oxfam report that had 85 people owning 50% of the wealth in the world – which is a stretch.

Laird commented that he had never seen youth involved in an election before.

Karina Gould the Liberal candidate for Burlington reminded Laird that he once spoke at a civics class at MM Robinson – she was in the class – she went on to explain that it was those high school days that were the beginning of her political career.

Gould told the audience that most young people saw politicians as older men in suits. Gould said she found younger people don’t think they will ever have the lifestyle their parents have and that student debt and the environment were key issues – most seemed to feel they would never be able to own a home.

Mike Wallace, Burlington MP, takes a closer look at art work at the Burlington Art centre.

Mike Wallace, Burlington MP, takes a closer look at art work at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Mike Wallace, the current Member of Parliament for Burlington has been an MP since 2006 and a politician for 26 years. Wallace commented on the audience having as many adults as youth – he wasn’t wrong. His advice for the young people: do your research and decide who has the competency to do the job.

David Clement is the Libertarian candidate for Oakville Burlington North. That political party. Which Clement described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, has yet to actually elect a member to the House of Commons. Clement said he didn’t see politics as either left or right – what he wanted to see was a political process that empowered people.

Adnan Shabaz is the Green Party candidate in Oakville North Burlington. That party’s leader is a hero in Shabaz’s eyes – “She stands up and speaks her mind” and Shabaz certainly came across as very well informed with not much nonsense in his comments and answers to the questions he was asked.
He told the audience that a politician’s job is to represent the people; that their views are why a Member of the House of Commons is in Ottawa.

That is not what party politics is about. Several references were made to “whipped” votes – but no one explained to the young audience just what a “whipped” vote is.

Every political party has a person known as the “whip” whose job is to make sure the members of the political party are in the House and casting their vote in favour of the party’s policy.

The practice is referred to as “party discipline – without that discipline it would be very difficult to get anything done. However, it is when party discipline is overdone that democracy suffers; many feel that this is where politics in Canada has gotten to under the Harper government.

Damoff with LiberaL sign

Pam Damoff – Liberal candidate for Oakville North Burlington

Pam Damoff, the Liberal candidate for Oakville Burlington North never tires of telling people that it is the young people that change the world – and she wants to be around as many young people as she can. The room at the Central Library certainly had more than her share of kids in red T shirts.
Damoff wants to see young people at the table – based on what was heard at the meeting Monday evening – those young people deserve a seat at the table – they had good questions and handled the meeting very well.

Damoff told the audience that the federal government is not doing enough at the municipal level – a point that Regional Chair Gary Carr would agree with that statement.  The pie chart shows where the tax dollars go – that isn’t where the spending goes.

Region - average tax bill all 3 levels

Janice Best, the New Democratic candidate for Oakville North Burlington commented that she would certainly like some of those young people on her campaign team.

She delivered one of the toughest comments to the young people. “You are going to become part of what is called the “precarious work force” – part time, low wages and no benefits. And if you did get to university” she added “you will leave with a degree and a debt load of about $26,000.
She pointed out that the student loan legislation has not been upgraded since 1971.

What was disappointing was that both Damoff and Best had to read from notes – one would have hoped that these two women would have had more than enough of a grasp on what they and their party stood for to be able to speak extemporaneously.

However – the two women were in the room – the same could not be said for Effie Triantafilopoulos, the Conservative candidate in Oakville Burlington North. She was a no show.

Oakville North Burlington

Oakville Burlington North is a new federal riding.

3 things - Randy and Stephanie

Stephanie Bye and Randi Minaker made sure the event went smoothly – expect to hear more about Bye – WOW – she ran the event with an iron fist.

Handling the speakers was left to Stephanie Bye – what a stick of dynamite this young woman was. Awesome she would say when a speaker had finished. Cool she would add. And when a speaker was getting off topic Stephanie was in there like a little Bull Terrier getting them back on track.

After each speaker had explained why they were there the questions came from the audience – here is where the audience got to see what they felt on an issue by issue basis.

Immigration was the base of a question from a young man who asked why a close friend had been waiting more than 11 years to get landed status. Mike Wallace did his best to explain what the issues work – but his colleagues were not buying it. It was almost a pile on.

Both Shabaz and Gould explained that if their parents had been in a Canada that has a Bill C 24 when they came to Canada– they would have been described as citizens with “second-class status”

Burlington - federal boundaries

The boundaries for the federal constituency were changed – not by much but they were changed

Bill C 24 is seen as a controversial piece of legislation that recently came into effect, allowing the government to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism, high treason and several other serious offences.

As a result of the new provisions that came into effect a few months ago, many people warn that dual citizens, including those who were born in Canada, now have “second-class status” and that their Canadian citizenship can be “stripped arbitrarily.”

Added to that mix was the amount of information the government now collects on people. Both Shabaz and Clement felt this was a very serious problem. “No government should have that amount of information on any citizen” he said. The only person at the table who wasn’t comfortable with collecting of the data was Wallace – he seemed to buy into the government policy that this was necessary to catch the terrorists. Shabaz, Damoff, Gould and Clement saw this as fear mongering and believed that this approach to problem resolution was hurting the country.

3 things - Gould with adult

Karina Gould listens to a senior who had decided to take part in the Youth led event.

Gould wanted to know “what has happened to Canada on the world stage” the reputation the country had twenty years ago is not the reputation we have today. The admiration and respect we used to have is no longer there, said Gould.

Damoff set out the environment, the economy, health issues and changing behavior as the issues that she wanted to hear about from people,
Clement wanted lower taxes “leave more money in my pocket” was his war cry.

Wallace, understanding what he has in the way of a political base, brought up the Old Age Supplement – he wanted to see the formula used to increase that monthly payment to seniors given an index that was considerably different than that used for the consumer price index.

His comments were well out of the ball park and Stephanie Bye shut him down pretty quickly.

3 things Den Mother CDH

Richia Burke explains to members of 3Things for Burlington how she expects the meeting to go – and hands out the work assignments.

The event was run by 3Things for Burlington, a youth group formed by Community Development Halton – they were great but no one said a word about that organization which is often struggling for funding to stay alive.

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