CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Michael McMahon running in Prince Edward—Hastings
Friday, September 26, 2008
On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party candidate Michael McMahon is standing for election in the riding of Prince Edward—Hastings. McMahon moved to Windsor in 1951, getting a degree in education, teaching locally and in Papua New Guinea. He served as Branch President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), served on multiple of their major committees, and recently retired from the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.
Wikinews contacted Michael McMahon, 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.
Since being redefined in 2003, the riding includes the County of Prince Edward and the County of Hastings (except the City of Quinte West). Conservative Party member Daryl Kramp currently represents the riding, after beating a Liberal in 2004. Ken Cole of the Liberals and Alan Coxwell of the Greens are also running in the riding.
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?
- My political involvement grew from seeing the disparity between rich and poor in our wealthy country, and concern for our people who are not getting their fair share. I was attracted to the New Democratic Party because of the importance placed on the social issues, such as poverty, health care, education, housing and health of the environment. I joined the NDP when I decided to do something about the way things were going for average Canadians, and the Canada we all share. Our people, our Country, and our environment must always come before the interests of big corporations.
- Only the Federal level can address these issues.
Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved? How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?
- This is my second campaign for MP. I have been involved with my union, OSSTF, for many years in various roles, including branch president.
- I was a high school teacher for 30 years. This has given me a real insight into the people and families in our riding. I taught Science. I am a trained critical thinker with a good understanding of the realities of energy, environment, technology, and the economy. I am well suited to play a part in our shift from fossil fuels to a new sustainable energy currency. And I will be able to explain it.
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?
- Health Care:
- We have too few doctors. Our hospitals are over-crowded. Emergency rooms and clinics require long waits. New Democrats will invest in our health care system. By creating training spaces for doctors and nurses, all of us will have access to proper care, and wait times for treatment will be shortened. By building long term care facilities, hospital overcrowding will be relieved, and we will be able to treat our growing number of seniors with dignity.
- The New Democrats are not proposing a carbon tax because it will not motivate the person who can afford a Cadillac SUV to use less fuel, but it will impact the ordinary family trying to keep their own car on the road. The NDP transportation strategy will invest in Canadian production of "green" cars. We will provide incentives to those who purchase more efficient vehicles. We will bring in mandatory vehicle emissions standards. And we will increase support for rail and other transport so that dependence on cars can be reduced.
- The New Democrats will help large companies audit their energy use, and offer incentives to help them reduce consumption. Allowable emissions by industries will be firmly capped, and this cap will be lowered year by year. Subsidies and tax breaks currently handed out to the petroleum industry will be stopped.
- Owners of homes and commercial buildings will be encouraged to improve their efficiency by grants and tax incentives. The building code will be amended to insure lower energy use (as well as fuel bills). The NDP will re-instate the EnerGuide for Houses Retrofit Incentive Program, one of the many programs cut by Harper's Conservatives.
- New Democrats will see that an east-west energy grid is built to reliably connect the clean hydro power from Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador with the areas currently burning coal. We will target 10 000 megawatts of wind generation capacity by 2010, and place a priority on manufacturing wind turbines and solar panels in Canada. There is a big opportunity here for our manufacturing sector, and the good jobs that would result.
- The Economy:
- Fuel prices are hurting people. Good jobs are leaving the country. We need to have alternatives to gasoline and fuel oil. The price is only going to increase. Stephen Harper and the Calgary Petroleum Club will do nothing about it, since that's how oil companies make their fat profits.
- The New Democrats will stop the tax breaks and subsidies given away to Big Oil and other large corporations. We will use that money to invest in a "green" economy. We should be making our own no-gas cars, wind turbines, solar arrays, energy storage, electric railways... There is plenty of room here for us be world-leaders in the new way of doing things. There are profits to be made, and plenty of good jobs.
Is there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?
- There is the misconception that an NDP government would run a deficit, and/or raise taxes. That's not true. Look at the Provincial NDP governments. Their budgets are exemplary. Bob Rae's problem was that he came to power in a big economic downturn, with huge losses due to the NAFTA dislocations. Ontario was a small part of a major North American problem. What turned people against him were the cuts he made to try to balance the books and avoid a huge deficit. New Democrats understand perfectly well the importance of living within our means. Federal money needs to be spent efficiently to serve us all, not just the big corporations and the wealthy.
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?
- We like radio ads. They get comments. People have the radio on most of the time. We also have a web site, and to the usual signage, flyers, and print media advertising.