Thursday, October 2, 2008

Meet The Other Candidates

One of the late comers to this election cycle is Drew Garvie, who’s running again as the Communist Party nominee following his bid in the 2007 Provincial Election. The recent University of Guelph grad has a very specific goal in running for Federal office. “I hope to really shed light on how important this election is and what it means to the future of Canada, especially if we’re facing a Harper majority,” Garvie says. “People need to know what their real agenda is and how far down the road of no return that can really take us with their regressive policies.”

More specifically, Garvie says that he wants to return Canada to a place of leadership in the environment and international action in peacekeeping. He adds that the issue of our country’s involvement in Afghanistan has been seriously downplayed in this election and he wants to bring it back to the foreground. He also has harsh words for the tenor of this election, which Garvie says have involved issues that have no bearing on the lives of Canadians, like the Maxine Bernier affair. “You hope to kind of shift the debate from the inane, media coverage and issues that aren’t really important,” he adds.

It’s not often we get a Libertarian Party candidate here in Guelph, but Philip Bender intends to bring his unique point of view, in terms of what kind of government we need, to the forefront in this election. “I have no pretense of winning,” he says. “I put my name forward to try and stimulate some thought about our political process, to give an alternative viewpoint and not just from a single issue, our issue is governance.”

This is Bender’s third campaign after running in the last two provincial elections. He explains that one of the reasons he runs is to provide libertarians, who have hard time finding someone to vote for, a focal point for politically like-minded people to come together. Bender notes that current approaches to various issues prove that the solution is less government, not more. Trade barriers, which create blocks on prosperity, are one issue that needs a more libertarian overhaul and he argues that healthcare, as it is now, constitutes a monopoly.

“People are concerned about their jobs, their livelihood, and they’ve unfortunately put their faith in government,” Bender explains, “I’m still hard pressed, in many endeavours, to find an example where a government solution has provided a good answer to a problem.”

If you haven’t heard of the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party, that’s okay, seeing as how they’re brand new. According to their local candidate, Karen Levenson, under Federal law, political groups can’t lobby during an election, so if the AAEVP wanted to keep animal rights issues in the limelight, they had to become a formal political party. “Why is it that no politician can feel enough compassion to do something about the horrible conditions that the majority of animals in our country live?” Levenson asks.

Levenson says that’s matter of politics, especially in the case of the annual seal hunt. “They know that any party, any politician, that goes against the seal hunt they will lose votes and lose their seats in the sealing provinces.” More locally, trapping is a big issue for Levenson and the AAEVP, and they’re pushing hard for an outright ban on trapping because of the ease in which pets and people, even children, can get caught in a trap. “Fifty per cent of the homes in Guelph have companion animals, and yet people don’t seem to realize that the Federal policies that are created do not protect their animals,” she says, adding that she includes farm animals in that statement. “Animal issues are human issues; we need animals to survive.”

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