Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Candidates Speak!

After a busy couple of weeks covering some anonymous film festival in Toronto, I finally got down to the real process of politicking by interviewing the candidates running for Member of Provincial Parliament of Guelph. Of our riding’s seven declared candidates, here are some words from three who are looking for your vote on October 6th.

You Don’t Know Dyck

Green Party candidate Steve Dyck faces a similar dilemma as he campaigns for Guelph MPP that his Federal counterpart John Lawson did in this past spring’s election. Like Lawson, Dyck follows a candidate with two elections under their belt and a wave of popular support. But unlike Lawson, Dyck hopes to break though and build on Ben Polley’s third place finish in 2007, and he hopes to do that by tackling his party’s core issue, and doing so more thoroughly than the other parties.

“I’m so passionate about the issues,” says Dyck who officially kicked off his political career as the Green Party of Ontario’s energy critic on The Agenda with Steve Paikin. “I feel like the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP really have abandoned the environment.”

The environment doesn’t get a lot of air in these difficult economic times when jobs and budgets are more worrisome, so how does the Green Party candidate reach voters? “I often don’t speak about the environment, what I mostly talk about is the economy and building an economy that makes sense, and works for people,” explains Dyck. “The Liberals have imported the Green Energy Act from Germany, and when they did that I wanted to applaud. But they imported the technology and left the community out. Renewable energy in Germany is overwhelmingly community-financed, community-based, which allows rate-payers the ability to gain the benefit.”

Fourth Time Around for Garvie

By running again for the Communist Party of Canada in Guelph, Drew Garvie holds up a proud Royal City tradition as the Canadian face of the revolution began here in 1921. Garvie is running for the fourth time for political office in Guelph, his second attempt at the MPP seat after two Federal runs.

Amongst his campaign promises, Garvie, and the Communists, are pledging to do something that, surprisingly, no other party has said that they’ll do: completely eliminate the HST from Ontario’s bookkeeping. “I think what the HST basically is, and the voters of B.C. obviously understood it, the majority of voters see it as placing the burden on them rather than the people who actually have the ability to pay,” explains Garvie.

Garvie also wants to bring attention to another issue that’s not being discussed a lot in the campaign: the demand for an inquiry into police action during the G20 protests in the summer of 2010. “It was the largest crackdown, the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, and it was facilitated by the McGuinty Liberals and the Federal Tories,” Garvie says emphatically. “[They] gave police sweeping powers that they need to go in bust heads, arrest 1,100 people and ended up not charging a lot of them. People were in terrible conditions in ‘Guantanamo North,’ as they called it, and AndrĂ© Marin, the Ontario Ombudsman, has said that this was the biggest compromise of civil rights in Canadian history.”

Schirk is Lovin’ the Campaign Trail

Greg Schirk talks about missing his morning coffee, but he doesn’t seem like it. The Progressive Conservative candidate was the last of the major party candidates to be acclaimed by his riding association, but Schirk says it’s been an easy transition to full-on campaign mode, and he’s ready to help PC leader Tim Hudak form the next government of the Province of Ontario. But first things first: the issues.

For one thing, Schirk maybe campaigning on eliminating Smart Meters and undoing some of the McGuinty government’s deals to create Green energy, but Schirk doesn’t want you to think he’s not environmentally friendly. “Guelph has a reputation for being a green community, and that happened long before the Green Energy Act,” he explains. “It was grassroots driven, it wasn’t top down. You look at this community and I just can’t see us shutting that desire to be a community and contribute to a better environment. When you look at this push from the community, I think it’s going to continue regardless of what legislation is in place.”

Schirk has been busy campaigning and attending events and debates, and says that he wouldn’t mind campaigning full-time. “I’ve got to tell you how much I love doing this,” Schirk says with obvious joy. “This is so much fun. I get to meet so many people, I’ve always liked talking politics, and I’m learning so much, that’s the great thing. And I’m not only learning fro the PC caucus, but from the average person that answers the door.”

To listen to the complete candidate interviews, go to my blog at where you can listen the complete podcast of my candidate interviews, as well as get all the latest election scoop.

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