Last night I went to the All Candidates meeting here in Port Alberni. I am in the riding of Nanaimo-Alberni on Vancouver Island.
I already intended on voting this Saturday in the advance polls (voting on the weekend is alot easier than after a days work and commute home)…
So, I went to the ACM to figure out exactly who I was going to vote for. NDP, Liberal, or Green.
These are my conclusions of the Candidates in my riding.
Jen Fisher-Bradley – Canadian Action Party: Passionate. But one trick pony. Corporations/Capitalism bad… People good. Sorry… too out there.
Barbara Biley – Christian Heritage Party: Again, Passionate, knows the issues and speaks well… but it would be a wasted vote.
Jim Stewart – Liberal Party of Canada: Probably a decent guy… but under the wrong banner… and he did little to instill any confidence in his party.
Dusty Miller – Independent: EXCELLENT speaker, very persuasive, I think if he could convince a critical mass of people to support him he could easily win the riding. People responded to him, and even though he was obviously a little more conservative in his views than I would normally support I do believe he would have represented the views of the riding as much as he could.
David Wright – Green Party: He did a very good job of presenting his party as a viable option. Unfortunately I just don’t think he has the support in the riding as a whole to make the statement that it deserves. If it were a different election, where a majority government was likely to form government, then I would probably vote for him. Also, he himself is an older man and while I think he has a very good grasp of the issues, I don’t think he would be able to stand up to the pressure of being an MP, let alone the ONLY MP for the Green Party. I will wait for a different election with a younger candidate to vote Green.
Dr. James Lunney – Conservative Party of Canada: I had never heard Dr. Lunney speak before this meeting. Before the meeting, he made his rounds and took the time to introduce himself to my mother and I. Very nice.
However, as the meeting got underway, his own convictions and opinions on things became very clear… if he had done so in an honest, up front way, I could have let it pass, unfortunately, he didn’t. He jumped around issues and painted very broad strokes on his party’s platform, and at the same time betrayed what the true agenda of the party was.
In response to a question on keeping our Water resources a publicly owned resource… where all others simply said “yes”… he said, “government should be responsible for regulation”… In other words, government regulate, private owners… not good.
On Healthcare, he simply didn’t address or mention anything to do with a “two tier” system… you would think he would have a lot to say, considering he’s a doctor.
On massive layoffs in the public sector…. as the NDP candidate caught him on, Lunney made the same sounds about “refocusing” jobs from public to private sector as BC Premier Gordon Campbell did right before he announced massive layoffs.
On Aboriginals… he wanted to set up a “framework”. No. Sorry Dr. Lunney, there is already a well established Treaty process in place. You have no right to set up a “framework” that will dictate the terms of a treaty before any negotiation has taken place… the First Nations should be on an equal footing with the Federal Government. Their rights should be determined by the Charter and Supreme Court, not by some “framework” drawn up by one political party.
He made a lot of big promises…. an easy thing to do in an election year. Basically, he confirmed everything I already feared about the Reform a.k.a Conservative Party.
Manjeet Uppaal – New Democratic Party: Mr. Uppaal was a good speaker. He is, I think, a little inexperienced politically, but he grasped the issues well, and he was definitely on the attack against Mr. Lunney. Which I liked. I like to know that people will be able to attack as well as defend… and Uppaal showed that. Aside from the attacks he had on Dr. Lunney… he also made some very strong points. He drew often from his prior community service, which I think is valuable. He pointed out the NDP position without sounding like a Jack Layton puppet. In all, I was pleasantly surprised by his performance, and he made my decision to vote for him very easy.
So there you have it. I’ll be voting NDP. Yes, partly it’s a negative vote… it’s a vote against Liberal corruption and against Conservative backhandedness. But it is also a vote for the only non-governing party that managed to push it’s own agenda through Parliament. It’s a vote for a party that stands up for it’s ideals and doesn’t back down from them. It’s a vote for a candidate that has a strong community background and who I feel understands and values the youth, working class, and aboriginals in this riding just as much as the business and senior communities.
If you are in the Nanaimo-Alberni riding, I would recommend that you vote for Manjeet Uppall. He strikes me as an honest guy. He has roots in the community and is an active participant in the development of our community. I think he will make an excellent NDP Member of Parliament in the next Parliament of Canada.