CanadaVOTES: NDP incumbent Wayne Marston running in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

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

Langley: CHP*
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Cambridge: NDP
Carleton—Mississippi Mills: NDP
Don Valley West: NDP
Elgin—Middlesex—London: NDP
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Hamilton East—Stoney Creek: NDP i
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On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party incumbent Wayne Marston is standing for re-election in the riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek.

Marston ran in the former federal riding Hamilton East three times, in 1993 and 1997 election and 1996 by-election, losing to prominent Liberal Shelia Copps. Prior to his winning election campaign in 2006, Marston was President of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, serving for 11 years. He was also a School Board Trustee (Ward 5) for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board from 2000 to 2006.

Wikinews contacted Wayne, 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.

This riding consists of the part of the Hamilton lying north of the Niagara Escarpment and east of Ottawa Street. It was formed in 2003 from parts of the old ridings Hamilton East and Stoney Creek. Wanting to take Marston's seat from his are Liberal Larry Di Ianni, Green David William Hart Dyke, and Conservative Frank Rukavina. A candidate from the newly formed Progressive Canadian party, Gord Hill, as well as independent Sam Cino are also running.

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?

Forty years ago, I moved to Hamilton. I've lived and worked there ever since. I quickly became involved in the union and held many positions over the years. In 1995 I retired from Bell Canada and served as the President of the Hamilton and District Labour Council for 11 years.
During this time, we saw growth and then we saw the loss of good paying manufacturing jobs. This scarred our community. Hamilton is a city that has so much potential. Unfortunately, we saw the loss of thousands of good paying that could have supported a family; and no one stepped up to help us.
I wanted to give something back to this amazing community which has helped me raise my children and grandchildren, so in 2000, I decided to get involved in politics. I realized that our families needed more than empty promises from their elected representatives.
This led me to run in 2006 as the NDP's candidate in the federal election.
I have strived to ensure that my office works for its community, cares and brings fairness and honesty to Canadians.
In 2006, I didn't run to become the typical politician who leaves for Ottawa and forgets about the people and organizations that elected them; or the politician who uses this position for their own gain; that's not what this community needs or deserves.
As an MP, I will continue to fight for the issues that are important to Canadian families, to ensure that my neighbours are getting the help they need from their government.

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

I am proud of the issues that I have been able to address in the House of Commons and in my community. I seconded Jack Layton's Environmental Protection Bill which tackles climate change and sets measurable targets to reduce carbon emissions every year. I introduced a bill on Amateur Sport Financing to give athletes a helping hand and worked on the Subcommittee on International Human Rights to address abuses such as the case of Omar Khadr, Huseyincan Celil and Japanese Comfort Women.
In Hamilton, I have worked to help families with CPP, EI, Immigration and Revenue Canada issues, had funding restored to local youth programmes through Canada Summer Jobs, helped eligible constituents collect over $750,000 through the Disability Tax Credit and hosted seminars to help people apply, co-hosted a public forum to raise awareness for Turtle Ponds, the environmentally sensitive wetlands, started a petition and postcard campaign in support of Billy Mason's family and demanded that the Conservative Government establish a National DNA Databank for Missing Persons, ensured that the entire Pakistan Team could attend the 2008 World Kabaddi Tournament held in Hamilton this August
The biggest disappointment? It is difficult to be in opposition and watch the Conservative Government and the supporting Liberal Opposition push through legislation that actively works against ordinary Canadians. People elect a representative to help them, not hurt them.

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?

I have heard from a lot of people that their big concerns are the economy, health care and the environment.
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?

I think the biggest wall the NDP comes up against is that people are disenfranchised from politics because Conservatives and Liberals claim "The NDP has no chance of forming a government, so don't waste your vote on them." However, in the last two elections, 1.5 million more Canadians voted NDP - more than doubling the NDP's representation in the House of Commons. Liberals on the other hand, have lost almost 800,000 votes and over 40% of their caucus. A vote for the NDP elects an NDP MP. People said the NDP could never win in a Liberal stronghold in Montreal, but in September 2007, that's exactly what we did with Thomas Mulcair in Outremont.

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 so pleased that these new and accessible forms of media are making waves in the traditional campaign strategies. They provide information to so many more people than we could reach by phone or foot and it reaches out to a greater number of young voters. We have a website, a Facebook page, I've just finished taping a video that we will be putting up on YouTube and of course the NDP has launched a new multimedia site called the "Orange Room" which features the NDP's videos, pictures from the campaign trail, applications for facebook pages, blogging tools and links to the latest news about the NDP. It is definitely a medium that we are plugged into.