Election 2015: Group of local politicians throw weight behind NDP

It’s been a while since a group of local politicians has come forward to publicly endorse a federal candidate.

A handful of local politicians have officially endorsed NDP candidate Alistair MacGregor as their choice for the community’s representative in Ottawa.

Among those backing the orange are: directors Matteus Clement, Lori Iannidinardo and Ian Morrison of the Cowichan Valley Regional District; councillors Tom Duncan, Sharon Jackson, Michelle Bell, and Michelle Staples of the City of Duncan, Lake Cowichan councillor Tim McGonigle, and North Cowichan councillor Rob Douglas.

It’s been a while since a group of local politicians has come forward to publicly endorse a federal candidate.

“Hopefully it means something on election day,” Douglas said. “There were a few reasons we all came together. One of them is a desire to unite the anti-Harper vote and make sure we get a progressive candidate elected and I think it’s pretty clear that the NDP is the one party that can do that locally.

“We are local government representatives and as we’ve seen in this election, some of the parties have really spoken to local issues and the NDP’s put forward some policies with regard to local government and that could be a real boost, especially here in the Cowichan Valley,” Douglas added.

From the NDP’s promise to tackle the problems in the Cowichan watershed, to address affordable housing and infrastructure needs, to what they believe is the Harper government’s dismantling of important environmental legislation and reluctance to deal with derelict vessels, there are no shortage of reasons the group supports MacGregor and party leader Tom Mulcair.

A longtime advocate for improved waterway legislation, Iannidinardo is clear about her support for MacGregor.

“One of the last straws for me was the gutting of the Fisheries Act then not supporting the Derelict Vessel Bill,” Dir. Iannidinardo said. “That is why I will be supporting Alistair MacGregor and the NDP.”

All stressed the positive impact an NDP government could have on the local level, especially in tackling key issues in the Cowichan Valley.

For Coun. Duncan, the party’s childcare plan is important.

“I support Alistair MacGregor and the NDP because they have a plan for $15 a day childcare,” Duncan said. “I know there is a great need for affordable childcare in our community and the NDP will deliver on this promise.”

Multiple reasons have Coun. Bell voting orange.

“I am voting for Alistair MacGregor and the NDP because politics directly shape our culture and community as Canadians,” she said. “The NDP are the only party that represent my values of equality, caring for children, youth, a healthy environment, and families and seniors.”

For other local politicians it wasn’t as much about the party platform as it was about the person.

“[MacGregor] is thoughtful and informed, he is reasoned and calm,” Coun. Jackson said. “Above all he is honest and committed to the kinds of positive change that our Canada so desperately needs before it is too late.”