Election Questions For Local Halton MP Candidates (2008)

Back in 2004 I wrote an email to all my Halton MPs and asked them 4 questions, this election I felt compelled to do it again! As with last time I will write each response below the question as I recieve them, here is the legend so you can easily follow who said what. I'm using the responses to help sway me in one direction vs another... I'm on the fence this time and I hope the responses will put me in one camp over another.

Legend (alphabetical):

  • Amy COLLARD - Green site
  • Lisa RAITT - Conservative site
  • Garth TURNER - Libral site
  • Robert WAGNER - NDP site
* If I missed a party, please comment below with name and contact so I can send them the questions.
  1. There has been a lot of talk of a Canadian version of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Would you support this? and why? if not would you be in favor of any changes to our existing copyright laws?

The Conservative government's proposed copyright reform act is totally unacceptable, and does a horrible job of balancing the rights of teh creator and those of teh user. As a blogger and consumer of intellectual property, I believe passionately in the liberty of online information, but support protection of commercial and creative material which is meant for demand access only. In addition, however, our libel, slander and nuisance laws need to be toughened to ban the use of the Internet as a weapon of character assassintion, anther topic I am intimately familial with.

In short, freedom must pervail, unless there is a public interest otherwise.

The Green Party of Canada's platform "opposes the ratification of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaties (WCT), recognizing both the imprecise definition of obligations and the incongruence with fair dealing. We would establish a copyright registry to facilitate tracking and protecting of copyrights where registration is optional for the original author, but mandatory upon the transfer of ownership or death of the author and remove the levy on blank audio recording media and replace it with private copying exemptions."

First, on the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act, I’m aware of that law and the European Union equivalent legislation. But I have to be honest and tell you that I have not yet spent time reviewing the issue from a Canadian perspective. I know that may sound like a political hedge, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving you an offhand response to what is an important issue in today’s digital economy.

I can tell you this: I do believe in protecting the rights of artists and other creators of content, in whatever form, digital or not. At the same time, I do not want to see Internet Service Providers and others unfairly punished for innocent behaviour, and I do want to see fair access to certain kinds of digital content for organizations working in the public interest. What’s more, I think you’ve put your finger on an important question of public policy regarding copyright law in the 21st century, and I will study the issue in more detail. Does that sound reasonable?

  1. What would you do to as our MP to make Halton a better place to live?

The times are uncertain and volatile, and we need people in Ottawa who understand the economy, the markets and our endangered middle class.

We also need politicians unafraid to say they represent the people first, and political parties and leaders second.

Sadly, we're further out on the edge of trouble than Canadians appreciate, and certainly more at risk than we're being told. There's no protective bubble over this country. It's delusional to believe we will not be living out the drama we've all been watching on CNN.

And while we can't much change the events that may take place, we can do one thing. We can prepare. We can keep democracy alive.

We can elect men and women who have pledged accountability to the people. We can ensure Parliament does not become the rubber stamp for one man's clouded and questionable judgment. We can make sure if a storm hits, new laws and strong measures will receive full debate, proper consideration and reflect the will of the voters.

I know I've been a controversial MP. Stephen Harper kicked me out for refusing to be just another silent Conservative caucus member. I have made choices I thought were in the best interests of the people I serve, and that will not stop.

In this election, you can vote for a candidate who promises to represent a party. Or you can vote for one who will represent you. However you vote, I thank you for the honour you bestowed upon me.

We need to ensure a sustainable economy for the families living in Halton. I would start by supporting investment in Halton-area companies that are creating green-collar jobs! Halton needs to replace the jobs that have been lost in the automotive industry, with sustainable, good-paying jobs. We need to lead the way and move forward to a Green economy based on sound environmental policy. The residents of Halton need to know that their jobs are secure. The only way to do that is to move away from an oil-based economy, and move toward a green economy.

We also need a sustainable health care system. The growth we have had in Halton over the past 10 years in unprecedented! Our
health care system has not been able to keep up. People are being denied access to essential services. I also believe that funding must be commensurate with need. Halton's need has grown substantively over the past decade. Ontario continues to fund other
provinces, while our own social safety net erodes. The federal government must stop taking from Ontario.

A sustainable growth plan that provides an in depth fiscal analysis of the impacts of growth in Halton, works toward infill
development first and asks the question 'is this new house sustainable' before building it, is essential to healthy communities.

A sustainable environment is fundamental to the future health and well-being of all Canadians. We can readily see the effects of
polluted air, water and land. Look up and see the smog, look around and see people drinking bottled water, look down and see litter strewn about. We are the custodians of the earth; if we don't take care of it, it won't take care of us.

Second, how would I work to make Halton a better place to live? Mr. Slakinski, I have a long list – longer than I can get to in this note. But I’ll tell you what I’d put at the top of the list today: the economy and infrastructure. The economy affects all of us. I am very concerned about the effect of the US economic crisis on Halton (we can see it in things such as Ford eliminating a third shift at the Oakville plant). I’m very worried about the carbon tax some of the opposition parties have proposed. I want to make sure that Canada’s government makes smart, sound decisions, reducing our taxes, and investing in helpful, efficient programs that support families, seniors, students and businesses.

Infrastructure – especially transportation infrastructure – is something else that’s a priority for people in Halton. You can understand why. Traffic is getting worse, as Halton grows so quickly, and we need forward-looking ideas for our roads. More people are relying on GO Transit for commuting, so the Conservative government’s credits for GO users are very welcome (essentially providing two free months on annual transit costs), but we need to do more. And I’ll fight for more, together with our mayors, the Halton Region and the province of Ontario.

  1. How will you make sure that your voice is the voice of Halton while you are MP?

I've had no trouble so far.

Halton has been my home for over 10 years. I was actually born here and went to high school here. When our first child was born, my husband and I decided to return to Halton because we wanted our children to grow up in a community-based neighbourhood, where they would have the opportunity to participate and the freedom to grow. I think it was one of the best decisions we have ever made!

I am passionate about Halton. I am an active member of several community-based organizations, and I have been the voice of
North-East Burlington regarding school accommodation issues for several years. I am a born leader, and I know how to get results. Thinking "outside the box", and coming up with creative solutions that meet the needs of all involved parties, is second nature to me.

The Green Party does not dictate how a Green MP will vote. We are not the puppets of our leader. Our leader, Elizabeth May respects her candidates, and expects us to vote according to our conscience.

My voice will be heard, and for the right reasons; I will represent the needs of the people of Halton honestly, fairly and with integrity.

Third, how will I make sure Halton’s voice is heard? I don’t even need to think about that one, and here’s why. My job, if I’m elected, is to put the people of Halton first - always. I chose to run with the Conservative party, and I respect this party very much, for excellent reasons. I will always work respectfully with my Conservative colleagues, as well as with colleagues from other parties. But under our system of government, I will be responsible to the people of Halton and I will promote and defend their interests and needs above all

  1. This one is just for fun, If you were able to vote in the US presidential election, who would you vote for? Obama or McCain?

John McCain does not stand a chance, since he is part of the Washington-Wall Street establishment problem which has helped cause the meltdown of America. President Obama, however, will not have a happy time in the White House, since the empire's best days are now in the rear view mirror.


Now, as to whom I would vote for in the US, either Senator Obama or Senator McCain… nice try! I’m chuckling, because I imagine it could make big news if Canadian politicians stated preferences in the US election. But it wouldn’t be responsible, or fair. Americans have the right to make their political choices without undue intervention from outsiders – just as we have here in Canada. I’m actually glad American politicians haven’t been trying to influence our own election. That’s a sign of respect for a neighbour, I think.

Even more important, it’s vital that Canadian elected officials stay out of the American elections, because we’ll have to work closely and in cooperation with whomever wins. But as someone who’s running for election for the first time, I have to tell you – I have a new perspective on what candidates both in Canada and the US are experiencing. And I wish them all the best of luck!