CanadaVOTES: NDP incumbent David Christopherson running in Hamilton Centre

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

Calgary Southwest: CHP
Edmonton—Leduc: NDP
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On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party incumbent David Christopherson is standing for re-election in the riding of Hamilton Centre.

From 1985-1990, he served as a Hamilton City Councillor for Ward Four. He was elected to Ontario legislature in 1990, defeating a Liberal cabinet minister. Under Bob Rae, Christopherson served as Minister of Correctional Services and Solicitor-General. He did not seek re-election to legislature in 2003, opting to run for mayor of Hamilton. Considered a frontrunner, he lost to Larry Di Ianni.

He returned to politics just months later, changing his focus to federal politics. Christopherson beat Liberal cabinet minister Stan Keyes, the incumbent, serving as NDP critic for cities, community infrastructure, labour and steel policy. He has served as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts, and Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Steel Caucus.

Wikinews contacted David Christopherson, 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.

First elected in 2004, David Christopherson is the only MP to have represented Hamilton Centre, which was created in 2003 from parts of three other ridings. Only 38 km², small versus other area ridings, its located on the south side of Hamilton Harbour. Alphabetically, Christopherson's challengers are Anthony Giles (Libertarian), John Livingstone (Green), Lisa Nussey (Marxist-Leninist), Leon O'Connor (Conservative), Ryan Sparrow (Communist), and Helen M. Wilson (Liberal).

For more information, visit the campaign's official website, listed below.


Why did you choose to run for office, and why do you wish to continue as an MP?

I first ran for office in 1984 because I felt that the government at that time was too focused on its own re-election and on the needs of big corporations, which were already making billions of dollars, and not focusing enough on workers, the poor, and their families.
I'm running now, for re-election, for those same reasons. The Conservative government, with the full cooperation of the Liberal Official Opposition, has dramatically cut Canada's ability to respond to the economic downturn. They've pumped millions of dollars into corporate tax cuts (for oil companies and banks, especially) and into military spending. And they've refused to invest in infrastructure and communities, in social programs, and in environmental efforts.
People in Hamilton Centre need good, long-term jobs. They need clean air and water. They need support for social programs, health care and education. They're not getting any of those things. That's why I'm running again.

Are you satisfied with your time as MP? What would be the biggest highlights of the roughly two years since the last election? The biggest disappointment?

I am very satisfied with my time as MP, and especially with the accomplishments of the NDP team under Leader Jack Layton. We have forced the minority Conservatives and Liberals to adopt strong environmental legislation; secured money for the clean-up of Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour; got the government to reverse cuts to women's health programs; and much more.
My biggest disappointment is that the Liberals, given every chance to fight against this government, chose to do nothing. Worse, they either skipped votes or voted with the Conservatives.

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?

Only three? That's hard! Jobs is the biggest issue here in Hamilton Centre. We've lost hundreds of good, well-paying industrial jobs and the Conservatives have nothing to offer unemployed workers. We want to create new "green collar" jobs through environmental initiatives, such as refurbishing public buildings.
The environment is mentioned every day, too. Hamiltonians are sick of regular smog days throughout the summer, of a polluted Harbour, and of course they're concerned about global warming and the fact that, under successive Liberal and Conservative governments, Canada is now producing more greenhouse gases than ever. The NDP government will introduce a strict cap and trade program to reverse this trend.
Finally, social programs, including Canada's national health care program, post-secondary education, and welfare and training programs, are all under threat by the Conservatives. The NDP would reinvest in these programs.
And fourth - can I have a number four? - Canada's crumbling infrastructure (a big word of safe drinking water, dependable transit, etc) is causing huge problems for Canada's cities. And it means higher property taxes for homeowners. The NDP will invest in infrastructure and increase the gas-tax transfer, which we created through the 2006 NDP budget.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

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


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?

Well, obviously there's room for both. Digital communications tools are great - they can be interactive, instantly updated, and used to reach a given audience quickly. But in Hamilton Centre, we have many people who can't afford Internet services or computers, and many older people who aren't comfortable with technology. Traditional methods reach everyone, but are limited in terms of content and can be costly. An effective campaign needs to use every available means of communicating with our voters.