politics

my favorite three NDP politicians

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One of my cousins commented the other day about the tendency to vote against political leaders instead in favor politicians, and that led to my decision to write this post, about three great NDP politicians running in this upcoming election. If you want incentive to vote NDP in this next election, read about these three and think about how much good they could do if their party was in power.

Charlie Angus

Charlie Angus was one of the two NDP politicians who helped bring Attawapiskat to Canadian’s attention a few years ago when the community declared a state of emergency.

He’s also helped with Shannen’s Dream, the long-term campaign that finally succeeded in getting a new school to Attawapiskat just recently. There’s a cute story about him in the kid’s book about Shannen’s Dream where it describes Charlie Angus coming to talk to the school class in Attawapiskat. It describes him asking if a student and his father went out into a bush in the winter, how long would they survive? The answer is a long time. There is an acknowledgement that the people are incredibly skilled people. Mr. Angus went on to point out that if he went out he wouldn’t survive very long at all. He’d need a guide, but that if the students went to Parliament without a guide, they wouldn’t survive long. So he’s there to help guide them, helping empower them in their struggle.

Supporting the rights of native Canadians has brought Charlie Angus under a lot of fire, since there are still a lot of racist Canadians out there. Canadian’s racism was part of why Mr. Angus left twitter in 2012 (he’s since back on).

Paul Dewar

Paul Dewar has been the NDP foreign affairs critic, and one of the things he did as foreign affairs critic was introduced a bill to try to stop Canadian mineral purchases from funding wars in the Congo. Here’s the official summary of the bill:

This enactment requires Canadian companies to exercise due diligence in respect of the exploitation and trading of designated minerals originating in the Great Lakes Region of Africa in seeking to ensure that no armed rebel organization or criminal entity or public or private security force that is engaged in illegal activities or serious human rights abuses has benefited from any transaction involving such minerals.

The idea of requiring companies to be accountable for their purchasing is not radical. As Mr. Dewar explained in a column in 2013:

The bill was introduced at a time of international action on conflict minerals. In May 2011, the OECD adopted guidelines regarding corporate due diligence. And in August 2012, the American Securities Exchange Commission announced new rules requiring companies to demonstrate due diligence in their use of the 3T+G minerals: tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold.

The bill was defeated in September 2014.

Linda McQuaig

Linda McQuaig is running in Toronto Center so I can’t vote for her, but I can do what I can to try to get her party in power. (Volunteering locally, donating, etc.) I first heard about Ms. McQuaig when I was a teenager, because my mom had copies of some of her books. She is a journalist and an author. One of her books is called Behind Closed Doors, and it goes through and looks at the history of tax changes in Canada. Now a bit outdated, its a fascinating look at how our tax system used to be a lot more progressive than it is today.

Another of her books is called the Trouble with Billionaires, and she looks at the increase in inequality in Canada. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with there being some inequality. There should be some difference depending on how people work and what they do. But the extremes we have gotten to today are a problem. Her book talks also about the mythos we build up, how we try to pretend that those who are wealthy are so because of their own labour and their own choices, rather than recognizing the way in which people benefit from their family circumstances, from the rules our systems set up, and from the contributions of everyone else. No one anywhere ever becomes wealthy “all on his own.”
Linda McQuaig game to speak in Sudbury on the same day a group I was part of was holding a protest, so I emailed her and asked if she’d come speak at our protest to, and to my surprise she did. I was very busy with my children and running around helping people at the event so I didn’t hear all of her speech but I remember what I heard being very inspiring, and talking about the possibilities we should be aiming towards. We can do more. As a collective society we have the resources to make things so much better for everyone. Let’s vote NDP and help get her the ability to make changes!
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