This is candidate week here at the V3H! There is a by-election happening in the federal riding of New Westminster-Coquitlam on November 9, and we want to keep you informed. So this week we will be posting interviews from four candidates vying for election as MP. Each candidate answered the same 5 questions from us, and we are printing their responses verbatim, in the order in which we received them. The second one is from Fin Donnelly, candidate for the NDP.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and why you would like to represent New Westminster-Coquitlam?
I was born and raised in this community â€“ literally.
I was born at St Maryâ€™s Hospital in New Westminster, raised in Port Moody and currently live and work in Coquitlam. As a Coquitlam City Councillor for the past seven years, I have worked hard to increase transit, protect streams, reduce pollution and promote affordable housing. It feels like a natural step for me to run for Member of Parliament so I can take your concerns to Ottawa.
I know and love this community. I look forward to serving you as your MP.
What do you see as the most important issue currently facing New Westminster-Coquitlam?
I have talked to thousands of people since the summer and the number one issue people are raising is the negative impact the Harper/Campbell HST will have on families, students, seniors and small businesses.
It is wrong to shift almost $2 billion in taxes onto average British Columbians, especially in these tough economic times. Our local economy is struggling and the HST will only make things worse.
Also, people are upset that they were not consulted and had no voice on this new tax. Many people have told me that they see this by-election as a chance to express their views on this issue.
How does your party serve the needs and concerns of local residents?
My party has a proud tradition of bringing the voice of everyday people to Parliament, and providing top quality service to constituents who need assistance with federal agencies.
As your Member of Parliament I will continue that tradition. I will fight hard for the Evergreen Line and improved transit. I will work for affordable housing, better health care, and quality home care for our seniors.
My community office will be open and available to every constituent, to help you address concerns in your neighborhood and provide assistance in your interactions with federal agencies.
I care deeply about this community. I will listen to your concerns, and I am committed to ensuring that your voice is clearly heard in Ottawa.
Transportation has been on the minds of many local residents, with the damage to the Murray St. overpass this summer and the uncertainty over the Evergreen Line. What are your views on how to best meet the area’s transportation needs?
The Evergreen Line is the number one transportation concern I have heard on the doorstep.
The Conservative record is one of stalls, delays and uncertainty. For me it will be a top priority to ensure we get the job done. We need the Evergreen Line, and improved transit throughout the region, to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
The gridlock caused by the damage to the Murray Street overpass highlighted the need to provide transit alternatives. Expanded transit is the fastest, most cost-effective way to improve traffic and reduce gridlock.
In the last federal election voter turnout dropped to an all-time low. How will you engage with voters and involve them in the electoral process?
It is crucial to offer people hope.
I think people have been alienated from politics, in part because they see politics as nothing but negative bickering. What alarms me the most is the fact that so many young people are opting out of the political process.
Thatâ€™s why I am making a particular effort to reach out to young people during this campaign. Iâ€™m spending a great deal of time at our campuses, I use social media such as Facebook to spread my message, and I have placed emphasis on recruiting younger volunteers to help in my campaign.
I also think people are frustrated by our electoral system â€“ way too many people feel their vote doesnâ€™t count. As a Member of Parliament, I will work hard for to bring in proportional representation so that everyoneâ€™s vote matters.
I think direct personal contact is very important for making voters feel more connected to the political process. During this campaign I am knocking on doors and attending events in every neighborhood of this riding. I hope to get the chance to talk to you in person during the campaign, and if I donâ€™t get to your door when youâ€™re at home please feel free to call or e-mail: 604-526-3346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much to Fin, for taking the time to speak with us. Please check back this week to read the rest of the candidate interviews. And, of course, if you live in New Westminster-Coquitlam, take the time to vote on November 9!