CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate David Sparrow in Don Valley West

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

Calgary Southwest: CHP
Edmonton—Leduc: NDP
Yellowhead: CHP

Langley: CHP*
Vancouver Kingsway: NDP

Brandon—Souris: CHP

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour: CHP

Cambridge: NDP
Carleton—Mississippi Mills: NDP
Don Valley West: NDP
Elgin—Middlesex—London: NDP
Haldimand—Norfolk: LIB, CHP
Hamilton Centre: NDP i
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek: NDP i
Lanark-Front.-Lennox & Addin.: LIB
Parry Sound—Muskoka: NDP
Perth—Wellington: LIB
Prince Edward—Hastings: NDP
Simcoe—Grey: NDP
Thornhill: LIB i
Toronto Centre: AAEV*
Toronto—Danforth: LIB, AAEV
York—Simcoe: CHP

Louis-Hébert: CHP
Westmount—Ville-Marie: NDP

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar: Lbtn

* Asterisks designate riding incumbents or registered political party leaders.
The letter "i" after a party abbreviation signifies an incumbent MP response.

In an attempt to speak with as many candidates as possible during the 2008 Canadian federal election, Wikinews has talked via email with David Sparrow. Sparrow is a candidate in Ontario's Don Valley West riding, running under the New Democratic Party (NDP) banner. The riding was set to vote in a by-election on September 22, 2008, following the resignation of John Godfrey, but Stephen Harper's sudden election call nulled that effort.

Also running in the Toronto riding are Liberal Rob Oliphant, Conservative John Carmichael, Green Georgina Wilcock, and Communist Catherine Holliday.

The following is an interview with Sparrow, 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?

Canada is at risk of losing its identity, economy and place on the international stage. Through changes to foreign ownership rules, big corporate tax cuts, aggressive changes to foreign policy and diminishing Arts budgets, we are seeing an erosion of Canadian control of our broadcasters, our manufacturing sector, our environment and the level of respect we command on the world over. This is why I am running for the NDP in Don Valley West. We must fight for the Canada we deserve. We must demand that government put all of our residents first before big, foreign controlled business and speculator and shareholder profits. Families are suffering and facing uncertainty over real, daily kitchen table issues and we need a responsive government and vocal, fearless representatives to fight for the issues important to them.
I have lived in and around Don Valley West for 19 years. My family and I lived for three years in Flemingdon Park. My children attended Gateway Public School. We now live in Leaside and I feel that my experience in these diverse communities along with my work in both the public and private sectors as an ambulance attendant and as a self-employed actor, writer and film maker will allow me to identify with the many issues facing different areas within our riding.
Jack Layton and the NDP have practical solutions that will address the kitchen table issues facing the people of Don Valley West. I have always felt that only by addressing the needs of residents at the local daily level of their lives can you properly represent this great country we share. The NDP does that.

Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved? How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?

I am currently the Vice President of Member Services for ACTRA Toronto and a national councillor for ACTRA National. I have lobbied on behalf of all cultural workers in Ottawa and at the Ontario Legislature to improve the funding and support of our talented Canadian artists and thereby the projection of Canada's voice to Canadians and the world. I will use this experience to continue our fight for Canada's identity and the reflection of our more established and emerging cultures. And I will use my skills, developed over 18 years in this profession, to fight for the important local issues facing the people of Don Valley West at the national level.

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?

In Don Valley West, whether in a challenged area like Flemingdon Park or a more comfortable area like Lawrence Park, people are concerned about the same things. The economy (jobs), keeping a roof over their head and food on the table and the future. Certainly their perspectives are different. The Flemingdon resident wants a national housing strategy that will lower their rent or give them hope of home ownership. The senior in Lawrence Park wants to know that they won't be forced to leave their home simply because their property tax is rising faster than their fixed income. Immigrants want to know they can have hope of professional certification so they can work in the field they've been trained in. The managers and creative workers in the north of the riding want to avoid having to re-invent themselves and seek new employment at age 40 or 50. People are happiest when they can have confidence in theirs and their family's future. Canada has a proud legacy of addressing potential need. Through public healthcare, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, even social assistance we have created a society that supports its weakest members and offers hope to every resident. Jack Layton and the NDP have practical plans to address these issues and redistribute tax dollars away from subsidies to large foreign companies and the war in Afghanistan to the issues closest to the hearts of hard working families.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Are there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?

The biggest misconception surrounding the NDP is that we can't afford to implement our policies. It couldn't be further from the truth. Right now, the Harper government is spending billions of Canadian tax dollars in Alberta providing tax breaks and subsidies to profitable, multi-national corporations, oil companies, so they can scarify the earth increase Canada's carbon footprint and pollute an entire province. They are also spending billions of tax dollars on a war in Afghanistan that can not be won and in which we are contributing to the death of civilians and supporting US incursions into Pakistan. This money along with the 54 billion dollar EI surplus that they wrote off when the Auditor General said they owed it back to the Canadian people, should be used to meet the social, economic and infrastructure needs of Canadians. The NDP and Jack Layton will redistribute the tax dollars of Canadians to the benefit of all citizens.

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?

We are happy to be using many technologies to get the word out about the NDP's big push here in Don Valley West. We're using mailings, You Tube, Facebook, voice mail broadcasts, and good old fashioned door knocking to reach out to the 150K. Face to face, whether individually or in a group is always the best way to deliver your message.