2011 Federal Election: Survey of Davenport Candidates

The following survey, with ten questions from residents of the Junction Triangle neighbourhood on the west side of Davenport, was sent to the four main candidates in this riding: Andrew Cash (NDP), Theresa Rodrigues (Conservative), Wayne Scott (Green), and Mario Silva (Liberal). Theresa Rodrigues, Conservative, did not reply. Their answers are posted here, unedited except for some minor web formatting.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and of course, thank you to all of the candidates who took the time out of their busy campaigns to answer our questions. We encourage you to share this survey with everyone else in the Junction Triangle, Davenport, and beyond.

We also encourage everyone to discuss these answers, post followup questions, etc. in the comments section below. Further discussion about the 2011 federal election can also be found it at this link.

1) Many people feel completely left out of the federal political process, except for what gets filtered through the media. How will you personally stay engaged with the community and keep residents updated with important information?

Wayne Scott (Green):
I would hold monthly meetings in the riding to not only inform our neighbours about the goings-on in OTTAWA, but also to hear the about latest concerns of local residents and businessfolk. l'd also maintain a DAVENPORT website dedicated to the same purpose.

Andrew Cash (NDP):
I think this is one of the most important issues in this election. When our politicians are not speaking out on the issues that matter to us, and to our City, it’s hard to feel like they are working for us. That has to change. I am committed to working full time as your MP, speaking out and advocating for the issues that matter to Toronto and Davenport, like funding for transit, daycare and senior’s services. I’m also concerned that too often our elected representatives disappear from our streets and our doorsteps after Election Day. That’s why, in addition to holding regular office hours, I will continue with the work I have been doing for the last year and a half, visiting the good folks of Davenport at the doorstep, holding regular community meetings in different parts of the riding and participating in the many community organizations that are mobilized around issues that matter to Davenport. I’ll also use social media, like Facebook, to get information out to residents and to enable the community to engage in discussions about issues and priorities.

Mario Silva (Liberal):

As the Member of Parliament for Davenport I have used a variety of means to stay very closely in touch with my constituents and I will continue to do so if re-elected. These include public meetings and regular newsletters keeping residents up to date on my work for them both in Ottawa and here in the community. Residents of the Junction Triangle will be very familiar with my regular contact with them both through mailed newsletters and in person on a number of issues but in particular with respect to the Union Station/Airport rail link. I have also continued to host meetings dealing with specific issues to assist local residents (many of these are conducted in multiple languages reflecting the fact that we are privileged to live in one the most culturally diverse communities in our city) – an example is my Citizenship Drives at which I assist people to apply for their Canadian citizenship. I have served on the boards of many community agencies including Bloor Information Legal Services, the Working Women Community Center, the West End Y.M.C.A. and the Toronto Arts Council.

2) I feel that lately, MP's at parliament appear to have little power. The federal issues of a country this size makes it difficult for individual communities and interests to be heard. Do you agree with this? If so, what would you like to see change at Parliament so that the big job of running the country happens, but that issues that affect Canadians where they live are dealt with in an appropriate way.

Wayne Scott (Green):
Yes. I would work to see that the power of the Prime Minister - whomever that might be, and from whatever party - would be lessened and again spread out more evenly among all of the elected representatives in the House. As a long time activist I would also look to other ways of getting DAVENPORT's interests before the press and so the public. Being the first federally elected North American GREEN PARTY member would be a great place to start, eh?

Andrew Cash (NDP):
I totally agree. I am concerned that Toronto has become a ‘bad word’ in Ottawa and the House of Commons. We are still the engine of the economy of this country but the issues that matter to our City are ignored again and again. Consistently, the only MPs speaking up for the issues that matter to this City are Olivia Chow and Jack Layton. Just look at what is achieved in those ridings and you will understand why Davenport needs a strong voice, someone willing to speak out for our City.

The NDP is the only Party that will enact a National Public Transit Strategy in order to maintain and expand public transit across the country, with a clear mechanism for sustainable, predictable and long-term funding. Canada is the only G8 country that doesn’t provide stable operation funding for transit. The NDP received praise from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for being the only party willing to make this commitment. We will also immediately allocate another cent of the existing gas tax to public transit funding, something that matters to Davenport residents.

And finally, I firmly believe that Canada needs real electoral reform, in order to ensure more fair representation for individual communities and interests. This has been longstanding party policy for the NDP and is a key plank in our platform.

Mario Silva (Liberal):

I have always worked hard to ensure that the voice of the Davenport community is heard in Ottawa and I am proud of my record in this regard. Individual MPs like myself have made a difference. I have introduced numerous Private Member’s Bills on a variety of issues – a recent one concerned amendments to the Criminal Code to create special protection for older Canadians from fraud. I have always advocated, and will continue to do so if re-elected, for democratic renewal that will help to engage Canadians more directly in the political process. I have always ensured that any concerns brought to me by residents or the community in general are heard in Parliament.

3) A recent interest of mine is the push for "open government" or "open data" - specifically, an encouragement or even legislation for government departments to publish their raw public information for people (app developers, I suppose) to analyze, mash up and present in ways we can all understand. I haven't heard about any support for this initiative from any campaigning Feds - and I'd be curious to know if our riding's candidates have opinions or even knowledge on the subject, where they (and their parties) stand, and how they might support or even legislate an open-data process.

Wayne Scott (Green):
Of course the realities of security issues would be cause for some censorship, but I too lean towards the idea of open government as I feel it would help encourage a new era of engagement and involvement of the electorate. True democracy - even representative democracy - isn't just about elections, is it?

Andrew Cash (NDP):
I do know about this and I’m happy to say that back in October, New Democrats introduced a Parliamentary Motion (M- 587) calling for support for Open Source technologies. The motion called on the government to be more open with online data that can be utilized by the public. We were also careful to point out that support for Open Source and Open Data programs will, of course, need to take into account issues of privacy and national security. You can check out the following press release for more information: http://www.ndp.ca/press/new-democrats-push-open-source-for-innovation

Mario Silva (Liberal):

I believe it is essential that government operate in a more transparent manner in every respect. In this regard, I completely and unequivocally support my Party’s Liberal Open Government Initiative announced last October (2010) which commits a Liberal government to the creation of a truly transparent national open data site.

4) Please provide your own thoughts on immigration, immigrant settlement services, and jobs for immigrants who are educated abroad but whose certifications are not recognized in Canada.

Wayne Scott (Green):
We are not even maintaining our existing numbers as a home-grown population, save for some of our First Nations and more settled immigrant communities. Immigration is necessary as well as desirable to grow our workforce and our evolving culture, especially with our aging population. We must continue to encourage immigration for many reasons not the least of which is to maintain a more active younger population as the average age of our current citizenry climbs. Making it easier for immigrants to transition into their new lives here is paramount to attracting skilled workers. Without lowering our standards, we must do everything we can to recognize existing skills and talents of new Canadians, and to help them more easily hone basic skills to Canadian expectations where and when necessary.

Andrew Cash (NDP):
Again and again, I meet people in this riding who came to Canada with dreams of better lives, and instead struggle to put food on the table, or settle for jobs that aren’t reflective of their skills and training. Immigrant settlement services are critical to those families. And the cuts to these services have disproportionately affected our city and our riding. That’s why I was happy to join Olivia Chow, Jack Layton, Peggy Nash and Mike Sullivan in calling on the Harper Government to reverse this mean-spirited, short-sighted decision. New Democrats stand for a fair, efficient, transparent and accountable immigration system, and our platform commits to immediately reinstating federal funding for the settlement of new Canadians cut by Stephen Harper.

We have also committed to accelerating and streamlining the recognition of foreign credentials, overseas degrees and previous employment experience in conjunction with provinces and licensing authorities. We believe that Canada’s continued failure to recognize the credentials of qualified, skilled and professional foreign-trained immigrants not only hurts new Canadians themselves but our economy as well. I urge you to check out the NDP Platform at   http://www.ndp.ca/platform/leadership-in-canada

Mario Silva (Liberal):

I came to Canada with my family over 30 years ago. Immigration has been and will continue to be one of the most enduring and wonderful aspects of Canada’s identity. Immigration allows newcomers to embrace the opportunities our country has to offer and to build truly meaningful and prosperous lives that in turn enrich our communities and help to build our country. As for newcomer settlement services, I believe they are an integral part of our immigration process to assist newcomers to build the lives to which they are entitled in their new home. I was proud to join with my Liberal colleagues recently in fighting to protect the newcomer services in Toronto that were being cut by the Stephen Harper government and if re-elected by the people of Davenport this fight will remain a major issue for me as their representative. I am also fully supportive of every effort to help qualified newcomers to Canada to participate fully in our society by being able to work fully in the fields in which they have been trained.

5) Regarding electrification of the Georgetown rail corridor: WHY can't the link be electrified from the beginning (ie. identify the problem)? WHAT concrete steps would you take, once in office, to make sure that it is electrified from the onset? Specifically, WHERE will you get the money, WHERE will the power come from, and HOW will you force the province to accept this (ie. provide a solution and detail the implementation)? Note: Vague overtures or appeals to the constitutional division of power will be treated as non-responses.

Wayne Scott (Green):
I would concentrate on the environmental and human health issues to stop the process in it's tracks so to speak. I believe the project as it stands contravenes existing Provincial standards that supposedly guarantee each one of us clean air to breathe. I would push for radical overhaul of the design to use more sustainable technology for energy production and if that could not be accomplished in time for the Pan Am Games, then I would look for more traditional alternative short term ways to move our guests around our city for those two weeks. It seems much better to share that burden with them for a couple weeks than to bear in-town diesel exhaust alone for years afterward just to make a good impression.

Andrew Cash (NDP):
The line CAN be electrified from the beginning. But the Ontario Liberals simply don’t want to. Other countries can and have. And even if we don't have the expertise to do it by 2015 for the Pan Am games, is a 2 week sporting event enough reason to subject us to a decade of diesel and an extra $400 million to build a 4th track so that they can move 300 trains around while they electrify?

There is $385 million in federal dollars in this project. It should be a condition of the federal funding that the trains be electric from the outset. If the province needs help with the extra $400 million to electrify the corridor, the federal government could chip in. Ultimately all funding comes from general tax revenues, after all.

I believe that good electric public transit, with its socioeconomic and health benefits, is a priority. When this project was originally announced by David Collennette it was not to cost a nickel of public money. Given the new total cost estimate of $1.7 billion, a complete revisit of the project is in order.

Power comes from the Ontario grid. It is currently 70 percent non fossil-fuel sourced. Diesel engines are 100% fossil fuel. Ontario currently has more than enough capacity for this project.

Mario Silva (Liberal):

I have been fighting on this issue from the very beginning as the Member of Parliament for this community. In 2009, I demanded that the then Minister of Transport for Ontario heed the demands of our community with respect to this rail line project. I have continued to advocate strongly with all levels of government and arms-length agencies to ensure this line is electrified from the beginning. Quite frankly, as I have pointed out repeatedly to the province and the federal government, similar projects in places like Australia have been electrified from the beginning and well within the timeframes set out by this specific project. While the province has committed to electrify the line in the future, this is quite frankly, not good enough. The notion of division of powers is a reality but it does not preclude the provincial and federal governments funding this project in a manner that is acceptable to us in this community. The funds for electrification including the required sources of power can be made available if the will exists for this to happen (both from the province and the federal government) and I will continue as I have to work both publicly and privately to make this a reality.

6) What infrastructure projects would you like to see in the riding?

Wayne Scott (Green):
Going back to the previous question for a moment, I have heard nothing from the experts about small load rush freight delivery capabilities with regard to our new rail project. Instead of turning Union Station into another shopping mall, why has no-one explored the idea of downtown rail facilities being used to move goods as well as people from the airport and having delivery terminals along this route where smaller more sustainable relay vehicles could be used for first and last kilometer stages of much longer journeys. Such possibilities are part of a wider reaching urban mobility strategy that has been talked about for years but consistently abandoned due to our continent's reliance on antiquated personal motor vehicle design and destructive oil addiction. Of course the way around all this is to redesign our streetspace infrastructure to accommodate walkable, bike-able, transit-focused urban communities that will also more efficiently encourage the use smaller, safer, cleaner personal and service-oriented city-only motor vehicles. This will demand a necessary overhauling of our society's way of thinking about how and why we move that will also serve to improve our own health as individuals and help provide a new and secure foundation for our economy going forward.

Andrew Cash (NDP):
Well first of all I want to see a real investment in transit. That would make the most difference to the residents of Davenport and would facilitate other projects – like housing. As I mentioned above, the NDP is the only Party that will enact a National Public Transit Strategy.

We need strong, dynamic leadership to get things done in Davenport. Just look at what Joe Mihevc has achieved with the Wychwood Barns. Look at the projects that develop when community groups work in partnership with dynamic leaders like Olivia Chow. There is no shortage of creative ideas and opportunities in Davenport, what’s missing is a strong federal advocate. There are many locations where, with remediation, funding, and vision, we can introduce safe and exciting projects to our community.

Mario Silva (Liberal):

Urban renewal must be undertaken both in our community and across the country. Specific to this community I want to see greater investments in public transit initiatives that are developed with the consultation and consent of our community. While we do have numerous recreation and green spaces in our community they need to be protected and improved.

7) I have given up on being able to afford buying property in Toronto on my own. Do you think the federal government should care about this statement? Do you think there are things the federal government could do to make it easier for folks like me to own?

Wayne Scott (Green):
My partner Katherine and I bought our home in DAVENPORT twenty-five years ago and we have yet to pay off our mortgage. I have never taken a vacation in all that time and of course I have also never had to assume the costs of owning and operating a motor vehicle, but still we owe the bank. Nonetheless I see it as the best purchase we have ever made because of the stability and sense of security it has afforded us as we have tried to house at different times, five generations of our family.

Still today our struggles seem minor compared to what young families face. Here I would differ to the expertise of those in the Green Party who have deliberated long and hard on the housing issue. This then from our platform document Vision Green:

The Green Party believes it is the right of every Canadian to have affordable, safe and secure housing. It enhances people's health, dignity and life opportunities. It is an essential prerequisite to an equitable society. The Green Party supports the delivery of social housing dollars to provincial, territorial and municipal governments through the traditional vehicle of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The funding for social housing needs to be dramatically increased. CMHC programs must be directed to the communities most in need, and fast-tracked to provide homes for people at risk. The housing provided must be designed with energy conservation in mind.
Access to housing should be free from discrimination, including, but not limited to, ethnicity, race, cultural background, language, class, income, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, political or other opinion, ability, health, status or other personal characteristic or circumstance.

Universal housing will alleviate poverty. Universal housing provides a basis for employment, schooling, community services and contacts. The development and delivery of adequate universal housing and emergency accommodation must be a high priority.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Advocate the inclusion of a clause in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that specifically states that everyone living in Canada is entitled to safe shelter or affordable housing.
  • Urge the government to appoint a Minister for Housing to oversee development and implementation of a National Affordable Housing Plan.
  • Require the National Affordable Housing Plan to set an annual rate of building affordable housing so that lack of access to affordable housing is no longer a factor in homelessness by 2019.
  • Change the mandate of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to include responsibility, as it once had, for affordable, non-market and co-operative housing.
  • Create a National Affordable Housing Program that provides sufficient funds annually through CMHC to community-based agencies across Canada to:
  • Ensure that an adequate supply of new subsidized affordable homes is built: 20,000 new and 10,000 rehabilitated affordable units per year for the next ten years using capital grants and changes in tax and mortgage insurance regulations.
  • Provide rent supplements or shelter assistance for an additional 40,000 low-income households per year, for ten years.
  • Provide credit and loan guarantees to non-profit housing organizations and cooperatives for the building and restoration of quality, energy-efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs, and low-income families.
  • Subsidize private developers to include a percentage of affordable housing in their housing projects.
  • Change the Income Tax Act to offer tax cuts for affordable housing including incentives to stimulate construction and investment in the building of and maintenance of an ongoing supply of affordable, healthy, energy-efficient, multi-unit rental housing and to include tax credits for gifts of lands, or of land and buildings, to community land trusts to provide affordable housing.
  • Dedicate funding to the co-operative housing sector to enable more new affordable housing projects to proceed.

Andrew Cash (NDP):
Toronto has become unaffordable for most of its residents. I believe this is the central election issue in Davenport. We pay too much for housing and we’ve also seen our bills skyrocketing for everything from home heating, to transit, to internet, to phones. I meet residents of this riding every day who are paying exorbitant rents and unable to imagine ever owning their own home. I also meet older residents who bought their homes many years ago when housing was more affordable, but who now are faced with sky-high property taxes and heating bills, and struggling to get by in their senior years. This is an election issue. It’s an issue the federal government has a role in. And it’s an issue that requires strong local leadership to make that happen.

I believe we must address the dire shortage of affordable housing in Toronto. We will enact the NDP’s legislation to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing, and we’ll also restore funding for the homeowners Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP). In fact, in our platform, we’ve committed to develop an Affordable Housing Initiative to increase the supply of affordable housing, in partnership with the provinces and territories;

You can check it out at    http://www.ndp.ca/platform/give-your-family-a-break  
We’ve also included a host of other measures to make life more affordable in our City, like improving access to child care, capping credit card interest rates, taking the federal sales tax off home heating, and reinstating the federal minimum wage, setting it at the inflation-indexed $12 per hour needed to hold a full-time worker above the poverty line.

Mario Silva (Liberal):

Absolutely, the federal government should care about this statement as should every level of government and public official. There are a great deal of things the federal government can do to encourage affordable home ownership ranging from the manner in which interest rate policies affect affordability to incentive programs for first time homebuyers. Previous Liberal governments have put in place first time homebuyer initiatives to assist people in acquiring their first home and I believe these are essential.

8) There is only one day care centre in our area that offers infant child care, the other one closed last June. With so few affordable options parents have to rely on home care. This is not subsidized. What will you and your party do to fix this?

Wayne Scott (Green):
Again from Vision Green:

The Greens are committed to a high-quality federally-funded child care program in Canada, accessible to any family that wants to place children into early childhood education. Workplace child care has been shown to improve productivity, decrease employee absenteeism, ensure quality care for children (because parents can “drop in” at any time to see their young children), and permits longer breast-feeding of infants. Work-place child care spaces create other benefits, recognizing the emerging literature that children benefit enormously from time with their mothers, especially when very young.

The beneficent spiral of providing workplace child care also includes making it easier for many working Canadians to use mass transit. When parents and children travel to the same destination, the trip can often be made in less time on public transit, enabling parents to spend more time with children.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Restore and revamp the 2005 agreement reached between the federal government, provinces and territories to achieve a universal access child care program in Canada.
  • Create a national Children’s Commissioner, as recommended by UNICEF, to ensure children’s best interests are considered in policy development and that services across the country are better coordinated.
  • Specifically ensure that Canada’s universal child care program provides workplace child care spaces wherever possible.
  • Tax shift to make advertising directed at children ineligible for corporate tax write-offs.
  • Accelerate the creation of workplace child care spaces through a direct tax credit to employers (or groups of employers in small businesses) of $1500 tax credit/child per year.
  • Value the decisions of parents who choose to stay home with children.
  • Promote and facilitate access to the Roots of Empathy Program, an effective, award-winning program developed by a non-profit educational organization, to all Canadian children at some point in their elementary school years.

Andrew Cash (NDP):
The lack of affordable childcare is one of the most pressing issues in our riding. As a parent of small children who lives in the riding, I know first-hand how difficult it is to find childcare -- particularly infant care -- in our community. Jack Layton and the NDP have committed to working working with the provinces and territories to establish and fund a Canada-wide child care and early learning program, enshrined in law, with the following goals: 1) The creation of 25,000 new child care spaces per year for the next four years; 2) Improvements to community infrastructure to support the growth of child care spaces; and 3) The creation of integrated, community-based, child-centred early learning and education centres that provide parents with a “one-stop shop” for family services.
The Liberals will tell you that they are going to create more childcare spaces. But even with record economic growth in Canada, the Chretien/Martin Liberals created no new spaces in the 1990s. Instead, they waited until the dying days of a minority government to actually do anything — 12 years, three majority governments, and seven back-to-back surpluses of over $67 billion later. The reason they are making this promise now is that they failed to do anything when they had an opportunity. They first made this promise in 1993. Why should we believe them now?

Mario Silva (Liberal):

I am proud of the Liberal Party platform that immediately commits as early as this summer $500 million to create more affordable child care spaces. This annual allocation or affordable child care would increase to $1 billion by the fourth year of a Liberal government mandate. This program has been applauded by the Ontario Coalition for Child Care. It was a previous Liberal government in 2005 that had just finished negotiating with all the provinces a $5 billion universal national child care program when the NDP voted to defeat the Liberal government in Parliament. Stephen Harper then axed these agreements. A new Liberal government would be firmly committed to meaningful child care once again in this community and across the country.

9) Do you feel that all citizens should have affordable unlimited access to the internet?

Wayne Scott (Green):

Andrew Cash (NDP):
Absolutely. That’s why I was pleased to be one of the first candidates in the country to sign on to OpenMedia’s “Pro-Internet” campaign, and to say ‘no’ to usage-based Internet billing. I've been out front on this issue, joining NDP Leader Jack Layton at the StopTheMeter.ca and OpenMedia.ca rally in Toronto, and calling on the Harper Government to stop letting the big telecom companies monopolize the web industry and gouge internet consumers. Government can do something about this, it just takes strong leadership. Check out the video of the StopTheMeter rally at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtwDEuF51J0

As a journalist, I've also helped focus attention on these issues. Check out this article in Now Magazine: http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=162439

Mario Silva (Liberal):
The internet, quite frankly, is not a luxury – it is an essential tool for all Canadians to use especially young people and students. I fully support affordable and unlimited high-speed internet access for all Canadians.

10) What will you and your party do to support and enhance democracy in Canada?

Wayne Scott (Green):
One of the main planks of the Green Party of Canada's 2011 platform is entitled True Democracy.

This of course holds extra meaning this election after the past five years that Canada has spent under the ever more restrictive and controlling thumb of the contemptuous minority HARPER GOVERNMENT. I agreed to run for office because before the 2008 election I had vowed to personally do anything legal and or ethical to keep Stephen Harper from getting a majority stranglehold on the throat of the nation I love. I am running again because the threat still exists, and we already had the lawn signs from the last race that I felt as a member of the Greens, it was my duty to re-use. ( :-)

Seriously though, here is what the Green Party has to say on the subject:

Canadian democracy is in trouble.

Power is increasingly centralized. Individual MPs – your voices in Parliament – are becoming more and more irrelevant. Question Period is a daily showcase for behaviour we would not tolerate from our children. It’s time to restore true democracy and put the power where it belongs – in the hands of Canadians.

True democracy means making every vote count. More than votes, it means engaging and debating respectfully. It means working together to find a cooperative and positive way forward. As Canadians, we take pride in a global reputation for civility and cooperation. Our instincts run to generosity and compassion. Let’s embrace that.

While Canada reduces waste in its economy and industry, it should also stop wasting votes. Move to a fairer electoral system that reflects the true will of voters.

True democracy also means true global leadership. In the past, other nations in our global village looked to Canada for leadership – in peace keeping and peace making, in disarmament, and in environmental sustainability. It’s time for Canada to step up and once again play the leadership role it has forsaken in recent years.

True democracy starts with

  • Reform our voting system. Hold a national discussion on the health of our democracy, address the growing and undemocratic power of the Prime Minister’s Office and explore the options for a more meaningful electoral system. Consider the risks of “first past the post” and vote on whether it should be replaced. Consider proportional representation.
  • Access to information. Seek true solutions to the increasing corporate control in Canadian journalism. Whatever is “dumbed down” must be “smartened up.”
  • Ensure that citizenship is equal. Social justice and equity are cornerstones of democracy. Canadian democracy is more secure when human rights are respected – starting with the First Nations and indigenous peoples of this continent, Turtle Island. Canada must move forward in implementing the spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Global action on global problems. Strengthen and enforce decisions made in the 2010 climate negotiations (COP16) to bring in the urgent and aggressive measures required globally to avoid catastrophic climate impacts and adjust and adapt to impacts we can no longer avoid.
  • Contribute to a peaceful solution in Afghanistan. Refocus the Canadian mission in Afghanistan to poverty alleviation and development, strengthening governance and civil society institutions, and supporting the training and development of the Afghan military and police force, particularly in the area of upholding and protecting human rights.
  • Make poverty history. Meet Canada’s commitments and push other nations to meet theirs in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Andrew Cash (NDP):
Voter cynicism and apathy are rampant in Davenport, and for good reason. People have come to expect mediocrity and politicians that only show up at elections. But we have some very serious problems that require political leadership and political solutions. And we can’t afford to give up on political engagement. The truth is we cannot solve the problems that face us alone as individuals. They require political and collective solutions. And we can change how politics and government work. But we need to vote for change.

I’m proud of the example that Jack Layton and the NDP have set in Parliament. We believe we need to set a new tone in Parliament, and are committed to fostering a new, more cooperative approach in Parliament. Stephen Harper refuses to work constructively with other political parties in the House of Commons, preferring confrontation. New Democrats are committed to making Parliament work better.

Perhaps most importantly, we are committed to proposing electoral reform to ensure Parliament reflects the political preferences of Canadians. The NDP is committed to a new, more democratic voting system that preserves the connection between MPs and their constituents, while ensuring parties are represented in Parliament in better proportion to how Canadians voted. Your vote will always count.

Check out our proposal for electoral reform, and also for our plans to abolish the Senate at http://www.ndp.ca/platform/fix-ottawa

Thanks so much again for the opportunity to reply to these questions! I hope I can count on your support in the election!

Mario Silva (Liberal):

As you may know, this election was brought about by the Harper government’s disrespect for our democratic institutions. I support the Liberal Party’s commitment to a more open and respectful government that understands the need to encourage respect and commitment for our democracy and our democratic institutions. That’s why we have committed to issues like open data and the People’s Question Period where Canadians would regularly have the opportunity to directly question their political leaders – people that they have chosen to govern them and representatives that are accountable to them.


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go cash indeed

I take your meaning, but that's not actually what I was saying. It's obvious that in many ways we've got it pretty good in Canada, and I don't deny that, but it's amazing to me how such a chunk of the population doesn't seem to care about Harper's deceit and arrogance. And it runs really deep. How will such a man govern if he gets a majority? What would people who are going through the struggle for democracy think to learn that prime ministers in democratic countries govern the way he does? And that we let him get away with it?

CORRECTION: Question #7 - 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

"Defer" not "differ", sorry for any confusion. ( :-) Thanks again to JUNCTION TRIANGLE for the most uniquely probing questions of the campaign, so far. May the most votes in DAVENPORT be registered for the candidate who will prove the best servant of the common good, both locally and beyond. And let's all pledge to work with that individual, regardless of party, to achieve our common goals for our neighbourhood.

The problem for Silva

The problem for Silva is that he actually has a record in power to run on and it shows that we have been waiting for a national Day Care initiative for years despite promises from the Chretien and Martin governments; we have been waiting for Ottawa to get back into the social housing market since Martins' austerity program as Finance Minister; we have been waiting for a national transit program to improve the services in cities and between cities. Mario Silva cant recall why he missed the largest rally in the community in years ( Electrification of Georgetown) which is interesting since environmental issues have dropped off the Liberal radar and in fact his response about electric trains is the the only one that doesn't mention the environment or health, just cost. I add that the federal Liberal government promised this link in 1991 so it goes a long way to understanding the track record of Liberal governments getting things done for Toronto. If you like this record, then you know how to vote.

More recently, blame can be shared with Harper as well and what about his candidate in this riding, Theresa Rodrigues, who doesnt seem to be able to show up anywhere to debate and finally has a website that offers no information about Davenport issues, its like she lives 30 KM away or something. Oh she does....

Absent conservative

I find it odd that our conservative candidate is nowhere to be seen. She hasn't attended any of the All Candidates' meetings, and did not reply to my two emails about this survey. There is hardly a trace of useful information about her on the web, apart from some mentions that she's running in this election (and past elections) and references to her involvement in the In and Out scandal. Her own website is basically just a news feed of generic Conservative Party items, and nothing local. The phone number listed on her website goes to a poor guy who has been fielding wrong number calls (I managed to call her campaign office after finding an alternate number on the CPC website). And so far, the only person to post on this website, apparently from her campaign staff, basically posted anonymously to call another poster names. I've also received one piece of Conservative campaign literature at home, but again, it was all generic CPC stuff with no local content.

I don't think the Conservatives really care about this riding at all, and just put a name in because they want to run a candidate in every riding, and collect the $2 per vote. But then again, it seems to be a trend during this election for the Conservatives to avoid the media and candidates' meetings across the country, sticking to only their scripted lines from party officials. They seem very closed and shut off from the general public. Why would I vote for someone who I have no information about?

This alone narrows down the choices to Silva, Cash, and Scott. In their favour, at least they appear to exist. :)

Conservative Corruption

As demonstrated clearly by their leader, the Conservatives couldn't care less about democracy. Harper gags his own people, won't talk about many topics, only takes 5 questions a day, is afraid to debate Ignatieff one-on-one, blocks freedom of information, has people removed from Conservative events based on their views and facebook photos... and on and on it goes. And he never apologizes, for anything. This is the behaviour of a dictator not a Prime Minister. I can't help but wonder what the people of Egypt or Libya would think of our current government.

Actually, here's a link

Actually, here's a link that's outlines just what I'm talking about!


that's a bit much...

While I don't really want to get into the political discourse, comparing our life in Canada, or our current government to that of Egypt or Libya is certainly a bridge too far. I would think that most of the people would (and in some cases are) dying to attempt to acheive the freedoms that we take for granted here in Canada.

I agree with one's right to complain about the powers that be, and certainly stand by the ability to vote for change, but this comparison is a bit over the top.

Having said all that... go Cash!!!!