CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Anne Lagacé Dowson in Westmount—Ville-Marie
Friday, October 10, 2008
In an attempt to speak with as many candidates as possible during the 2008 Canadian federal election, Wikinews has talked via email with Anne Lagacé Dowson. Dowson is a candidate in Quebec's Westmount—Ville-Marie riding, running under the New Democratic Party (NDP) banner.
There is no incumbent in Dowson's riding, as the area's Liberal MP resigned earlier this year. A by-election was scheduled, but cancelled at the last minute, once Prime Minister Stephen Harper called a national election. Candidates in the riding are Dowson (NDP), former astronaut Marc Garneau (Liberal), Charles Larivée (Bloc Québécois), Guy Dufort (Conservative), and co-deputy party leader for the Greens Claude William Genest. Judith Vienneau of the joke party Neorhino.ca is also on the ballot.
The riding includes the City of Westmount, parts of Old Montreal, the Borough of Ville-Marie, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and The Plateau.
The following is an interview with Ms. Dowson, conducted via email. The interview is published unedited, as sent to Wikinews.
Why are you running for political office, why at the federal level, why this party, and why in this riding? Incumbents: Why did you choose to run for office, and why do you wish to continue as an MP?
- Anne decided it was time to take a more active role in doing something about the issues facing Montrealers. She joined Jack Layton’s team to help fight for better education and health care. Anne wants Canada to return to its role as the world’s greatest peacekeeper. And she wants a return of civility to the House of Commons, so it’s no longer a shouting reality show.
- But the real tipping point that made Anne realize she had to do something more? When her 7 year-old daughter, Emma, asked her “Mummy, what do we do when there are no fish left in the oceans”?
Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved? How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?
- Anne has been a journalist on CBC and Radio-Canada for close to 20 years. She hosted a call-in radio show for years. Her strength will be to listen to her constituents' concerns and be a strong voice
for those concerns in Ottawa.
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 environment is certainly a big concern for everyone. The NDP's cap-and-trade proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions gets a great reception at the doorsteps. People in Westmount--Ville-Maire are really supportive of environmental initiatives like this, especially because it sets absolute limits to the emissions of big polluters and gives real incentives to produce environmentally friendly products.
- Our riding is also a very demographically mixed one. Fairly wealthy houses and extreme poverty; English, French and New Canadians side by side. Anne would definitely work on mediating some of the most blatant disparaties, for example, by extending the national homelessness partnership.
- Finally, our riding is home to three large university campuses. Having paid off her student debt over a lengthy period, Anne knows how difficult it is for students to make ends meet. Anne will stand up for better grants, more affordable student loans and reinstating the full summer student employment programme.
There are 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?
- Check out some of the videos on our website, www.annelagacedowson.ca We've really made an effort to use internet-based communications as much as we can. We are also leading all other candidates in Westmount—Ville-Marie in Facebook friends. Facebook has become a great events organising and mobilisation tool.