CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Don Davies running in Vancouver Kingsway
Friday, September 26, 2008
On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party candidate Don Davies is standing for election in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway.
A lawyer, he has spent the last 25 years fighting for human rights. A two-time student government representative, Davies was involved in the anti-apartheid, third world and peace movements. Admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1989, Davies and family moved to Vancouver in 1991, where he became the Director of Legal Resources for Teamsters Canada (Local 31), the next year. He is a long-time volunteer for children's charity Variety, is Chair of the Parent Advisory Council at Mount Pleasant school, and a Director of the Meridian Cultural Society, among other things.
Wikinews contacted Don Davies, 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 riding is vacant, after Conservative Minister of International Trade David Emerson's resignation. Emerson was elected in 2004 as a Liberal, serving as the Minister of Industry. Two weeks after re-election in 2006, he crossed the floor to join then-new Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who had won a minority government. Emerson was the first MP in Canadian history to cross the floor before a new government was sworn in. He has stepped down, after pressure from other parties.
Besides Davies, major party candidates include Liberal Wendy Yuan, Conservative Salomon Rayek, and Green Doug Warkentin. Also putting their hat in the ring are Matt Kadioglu (Libertarian), Kimball Cariou (Communist), and Donna Peterson (Marxist-Leninist).
For more information, visit the campaign's official website, listed below.
This Saturday at 11 am, Davies will host NDP leader Jack Layton in the Commodore Ballroom at "rally4change".
Why are you running for political office, why at the federal level, why this party, and why in this riding?
- I'm running for office as I believe that I have the necessary commitment to my community and country, that I have the integrity to remain true to the ideals and values that I believe in and am presenting to the constituents, and the proven ability to work hard and effectively for what is right.
- I'm running at the federal level, as these are the issues that most interest me, and where I have acquired the most experience from my professional career as a lawyer. I also believe that the federal government plays a critical role in making our community stronger.
- I'm running for the New Democrats as they are the party that represent my values; the party that works for the rest of us and not just the elite, the party that best protects the most marginalized in our society, and the party that will best protect our healthcare system, our environment, our affordable housing, and the many other things that matter most to us.
Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved? How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?
- I first became interested in politics in my university days, where I was heavily involved in student politics. I have been a member of the NDP for over 20 years. I worked in the Alberta legislature as a researcher and then executive assistant to the Leader of the Official Opposition at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, where I gained essential experience in the legal needs of the business community as well as in government, writing legislation, analyzing budgets and developing sound public policy. I am currently the Chair of the Parent Advisory Council at Mount Pleasant school and a Director of the Meridian Cultural Society, a non-profit group that provides community space for daycare, church and refugee respite services.
- My professional career as a labour relations lawyer is directly applicable to serving the needs of the constituents; dealing as it does with human rights, and the safety and security of working people and their families. I have won hundreds of cases, protected thousands of jobs and returned millions of dollars to working people and their families. I have also worked with many businesses to establish positive labour relations and served on many public bodies ranging from transportation policy to regulatory reform. This experience will serve me well as I address constituents' issues such as CPP, EI, visas and other immigration issues, business and community grants, and many others. I am already proven to have the experience and ability to get results for my constituents.
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 three topics that people are raising with me are:
- affordability - the rising costs of living, housing, energy, university tuition, etc coupled with little or no increase in real wages is making it hard for the typical constituent to make ends meet.
- healthcare - particularly around the cost of prescriptions, care of the elderly, increasing privatization, etc
- childcare, education, environment, transit - okay that makes more than three issues in total, but theses are all critical and interrelated. If we want to give people the option of not driving their cars for work and shopping we must provide an affordable and usable transit system. And of course there is no point in addressing any of these issues if we have already destroyed our environment.
- I would be a strong voice in Ottawa for all of these concerns, using the solid NDP platform as the base from which to amplify the voice of the constituency of Vancouver Kingsway.
- The NDP would reverse some of the $50 billion in corporate tax cuts brought in under the Conservative government. Jack Layton's plan to move Canada forward starts with protecting good jobs and fostering new ones in a new energy economy. This is a plan for change that tackles the growing gap between the rich and the rest — with policies that'll help families like ours make ends meet.
- The NDP has already launched a plan to phase in universal prescription drug coverage to protect today's families from soaring costs — including measures to reduce drug costs at source. The NDP have exposed and challenged Harper's failure to stop US-style privatization — calling for reliable federal funding linked to provincial commitments not to subsidize the expansion of for-profit care. Jack Layton has consistently advocated more long-term care spaces and expanded home care coverage — to offer seniors dignity in their later years and take pressure off scarce hospital beds.
- The NDP would invest $1.45 billion in a national child-care network from coast to coast. Jack Layton noted that "[e]very day, families across our country struggle to find good quality child care they can afford. You shouldn't have to worry about whether your child is going to be safe and get good care…" The NDP would offer provinces and territories a binding commitment to stable, long-term funding for post-secondary education through a dedicated transfer, in return for an equally binding commitment to better access and lower tuition fees.
- The NDP would create a cap and trade system to help combat global warming, which would ensure "that big polluters pay their fair share, and it makes it possible for more people to afford green solutions," explained Jack Layton.
- The NDP plan to dedicate one cent a litre of the federal gas tax to transit would mean $100 million for Vancouver transit over four year and Vancouver's share of the transit revenue from our cap-and-trade plan would mean an additional $106 million over four years.
Are there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?
- The single most persistent misconception about our party is that it is fiscally irresponsible. However, a 2005 federal government report shows that NDP governments have the best fiscal track-record among all parties, balancing the books more than twice as often than Liberal governments. Manitoba's NDP government has posed surpluses every year it has been in office and Saskatchewan's NDP government posted 11 consecutive balanced budgets after ending a decade of Conservative mismanagement and corruption.
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?
- Both the "traditional" and the new media approaches are essential in any modern campaign.
- Leafleting and lawn signs are effective at getting out your message, while phoning and knocking on doors is essential if you want to identify your supporters. However, these approaches are costly and/or time consuming relative to the new media.
- A website is absolutely essential to allow people to check out, on their own initiative, your background, your stand on the issues, and how to contact you. It also allows for people easily to ask questions, donate, or get involved in the campaign.
- Other tools, such as YouTube, Facebook, twitter, etc, have also entered the mainstream. They provide a relatively inexpensive method of reaching the digerati and online supporters, and often provide an opportunity for feedback.
- The new media may let you measure how many people are receiving your message, but they do not yet track what impact that actually has on their opinions and voting decisions. Web 3.0, perhaps?