All candidates debate confirms one voter’s decision

Thank-you to ASH for co-sponsoring the all-candidates debate at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre on Sunday, March 26. It was a very interesting event. As one of the candidates at this meeting–all women!–said, this will be the first time ever that Ottawa-Vanier will be represented in Parliament by a woman. So much for Mr. Papara, the Conservative candidate, who was a no-show.

I am hoping that this will also be the first time that our riding will be represented by a member not of the Liberal Party. For my liking, Mr. Trudeau has not followed through on too many promises he rashly made during the campaign, and has lately been entirely too willing to ram through his own agenda on the basis not of consensus but of the Liberals’ majority.

Mauril Bélanger did a superb job for Ottawa-Vanier and will be a very hard act to follow, but I don’t think Mona Fortier, a 20-year veteran of the local Liberal Party, has what it takes. She can–and did–repeat the party’s by now hackneyed line very well, if not convincingly. Unfortunately she added nothing of substance to it. Nor could she, when I asked her during the coffee hour, recall any details about how the Government might make Bill C-51 less damaging to Canadians’ civil rights, all the while assuring me she would strongly fight for everything that had been promised.

Nira Dookeran did the Green Party proud. She is an eloquent and passionate defender of the disadvantaged and of immigrants, wherever they may come from, of job training, and of subsidized housing. What’s more, she has a sense of humour; she does not speak French, but she promised smilingly that, as soon as she was elected, she would learn it (which brought a round of applause and sympathetic laughs). At a less critical time I would love to vote for her.

However, I think this is a critical time. More and more does the Liberal Party act in an absolutist fashion. It needs a viable opposition who can rein it in. To this end, I will vote for Emilie Taman of the NDP. She appears to share my concerns, and she persuaded me that she is principled, has thought things through, and will stand up for what she believes in, not for what is expedient. I hope I’m right.


Dodi Newman

Laurier Avenue East