CanadaVOTES: Liberal Andrew Lang running in Toronto—Danforth
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Raised with Liberal values, Andrew attended his first Liberal rally at age 6. He has worked 18 elections since that introduction to the political sphere, but this is his first time as a candidate. A University of Toronto graduate (and player for the Varsity Blues), his career highlights include managing Bill Graham's constituency office. (A now-retired MP, Graham's career included serving as Minister of National Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as interim Leader of the Liberals and Leader of the Opposition.) He is currently with the Ontario Chiropractic Association.
Wikinews contacted Andrew, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.
The incumbent in this riding is National Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton. Other than Lang, trying for the riding are Sharon Howarth (Green), and Christina Perreault (Conservative). Minor party candidates Marie Crawford (Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada), Marcell Rodden (Marxist-Leninist), and Bahman Yazdanfar (Canadian Action Party) are also running, as is independent John Richardson. The riding has existed federally since 1979, and has the seat has been occupied by Bob Rae (NDP, 1979–1982), Lynn McDonald (NDP, 1982–1988), Dennis Mills (Liberal, 1988–2004), and Layton (NDP, 2004 to present).
For more information, visit the campaign's official website, listed below.
Why are you running for political office, why at the federal level, why this party, and why in this riding?
- I was brought up in the glow of the Trudeau government, and came to believe in Canada as a country of equality, of economic prosperity, and of deep commitment to community and to the world.
- The country that I see Stephen Harper trying to direct us towards takes us away from that Canada. Only a Liberal government can replace Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and restore the Canada that my father, Otto Lang, and my step-father, Donald Macdonald, worked so hard to build.
- My wife and I live in this riding. I care deeply about what happens to it. And I think it’s time for us a Toronto-Danforth Member of Parliament who puts this riding at the top of their priority list.
Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved? How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?
- I have been fortunate enough to spend time working in the office of Dalton McGuinty and running the constituency office for the Hon. Bill Graham in the riding of Toronto-Centre. Working for Bill in particular inspired me to understand the powerful impact that a political representative can have on a community - and that’s the kind of representative I hope to be for this community.
- I am also proud to follow in the footsteps of my father, the Hon. Otto Lang, and my step-father, the Hon. Donald McDonald. These are two men who put themselves before their countries time and time again, and who I hope to emulate as the Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth.
As you campaign around your riding, it's likely that some issues are mentioned more often by voters, than other issues. What would you say are the three hottest topics this election, in your riding? What would you and your party do to address these issues?
- The economy. Jim Flaherty and the Conservatives have led Canada to its worst economic performance since 1991. Canadians need a government that is going to stick by them and work with them every day to find long-term solutions A Liberal government will invest in partnership with Canadians by cutting taxes for families, investing in the manufacturing sector and building strong, green, jobs.
- The environment. The Liberal Green Shift plan will cut income taxes, put a price on pollution, fight poverty and position Canada to be a leader in the 21st century sustainable global economy. We will cut taxes on those things we all want more of such as income, investment and innovation, and we will shift those taxes to what we all want less of: pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. It’s an extremely simple, and extremely powerful proposal.
- Local representation. The people of Toronto-Danforth are ready for a Member of Parliament that puts this riding at the top of their priority lists – one that lives here, and will work hard for the people of this community.
Is there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?
- The Conservatives have spent a lot of money and energy trying to paint a picture of Stéphane Dion that is simply not accurate. Stéphane Dion is a man of great integrity, great strength and great vision for our country. He’s a man who has done great work for our country, time and time again. I look forward to seeing him elected Prime Minister, and to working with him in the House of Commons.
There's a more ways than ever to get your message out, from the traditional campaign fliers and lawn signs, to new media like websites, Facebook, and YouTube. The tried-and-true routes get the message out to the masses much easier, but digital alternatives are much more measurable in how many are seeing or interacting with your campaign. What seems to be the most effective, from your experience?
- There is simply nothing more effective than walking the streets, knocking on doors and meeting people in the riding. No new technology can replace that, and it never will.
- But we want to reach as many people as possible in as many ways as possible. So new media certainly plays an important role. On our campaign, we use YouTube, we use Facebook, we use the web to get out to as many people as possible. And we use online tools to communicate with supporters, donors and volunteers on a regular basis.