An interview with David Lundy, Leeds-Grenville Provincial NDP Candidate

October 3, 2011

It must be an exciting time to be an NDP.

I met Stephen Harper once on Parliament Hill while I was lobbying for Working Families.  He came across as arrogant and dismissive.  I shook his hand.  As soon as I identified myself as a labour activist he said, “Oh, you’re one of those.”  He ripped his hand from mine, spun on his heel and turned away.

What have you learned campaigning in Leeds-Grenville?

People here are hard-working and they are really struggling to get by.

The NDP this time seems to be running on pocketbook issues, rather than ideals.

I kind of disagree with that question.  I don’t think it’s idealistic to put families first.  We have always advocated for the services families need to live a good life.  That is what the NDP has historically tried to do.

Andrea Horwath gave a good account of herself in the debate.

Absolutely.  In terms of a popular summer movie, Andrea has magic, and the other two are Muggles.  She is the most down-to-earth and likeable of the three major candidates.  She has real leadership qualities and has put forth the most financially responsible platform.

In the September 13th issue of the CCPA Monitor, economist Jim Stanford pointed out that there is a $10 billion hole in the Conservative platform.  And not one graphic in the Change Book is to scale.

Now you slag the Liberal platform.

No need.  The Liberals are not a factor in Leeds-Grenville.

Which is the more powerful influence on the campaign?  Jack Layton or the memory of Bob Rae’s NDP government?

Definitely Jack Layton.  People are longing to vote for something positive.  At the door I get a lot of:  “Are you running a negative campaign?  No?  Ok we’ll vote for you.”

Jack’s life and especially his letter spoke to Canadians, encouraging them to make a positive choice.  Working together we can do better.  He gave Canadians the opportunity to make a positive choice.

Campaigning on slurs like “The Tax Man” isn’t educating the public, it’s scaring them.  If your platform has real worth, then you should be able to run on it.   I’m running on mine.

As of this morning, an aggregation of the polls has the NDP with the support of 25.2% of Ontario residents over the age of 18.  Can you get these Ontarians to polls?

That’s always the challenge.  The third or fourth most often-heard statement at the door has been, “I don’t vote because things never change and my vote won’t make a difference.  These guys all say one thing and do something else.”  My response to that has been that by not voting, you are accepting the status quo, and has that worked for you?

If you want things to change, you have to take a chance, get off the couch, go to the polls and have your say.  That is the only way we can ever change.  Ten years ago in Florida it took less than 700 votes to elect a President.  Your vote counts.

With Steve Clark shooting to beat the 67% he got last time?

As we walked out of the meeting with the Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board, Steve turned to me and remarked,  “Well, I guess I won’t be mailing this one in.”

On Sunday John Ivison of the National Post called your leader, Andrea Horwath, “the most dangerous woman in Ontario.”

She’s determined, resourceful, capable and likeable.  Those are all great attributes which any woman would be pleased to claim as her own, and any man would be pleased to associate with.

I don’t think that’s what he meant.  She looks as though she will be holding the balance of power come Friday, October 7th, and that causes Ivison some worry because of her lack of experience at governance.

We are running to win, and we have formed government before.

The Rae crew meant well but were inexperienced.

But when we look at fiscal responsibility across the board at the provincial level, NDP provincial parties have been the most fiscally responsible, while meeting the social needs of the constituents.

What happened to the NDP’s green platform?

We do support green energy as a way to bring jobs, opportunity and money back into rural Ontario.  Andrea Horwach is on record as supporting that, as am I.

At a meeting in Crosby last week a Sun Energy representative said that Crosby is about to become the solar panel capital of Canada.

I think it’s great.  It will bring jobs, money and opportunities to rural Leeds-Grenville and reverse two decades of zombie economics as practiced by the Liberals and Conservatives which has drained away our youth, our opportunity, and the money that makes our local economy healthy.

How about trees?

Harris dismantled the reforestation program which had served Ontario since 1919.  McGuinty replaced it with a privatized shadow of itself which produces approximately a quarter of the seedlings formerly produced.

This is a similar story in far too many government services.  Just today we hear on the radio that Hudak is going to dismantle the LHINs and shift responsibility for administration back to the Ministry of Health.  But under the Harris Government of which Hudak was a part, Ministry of Health staffing was slashed by more than half.  They no longer have the expertise nor the staffing to be able to do that job.  Staff went from just over 5000 to less than 2500 now.  It’s irresponsible.

Is the welfare state dead in Canada?

If Harper has anything to do with it, yes.  I believe, the NDP believes, that everyone should have an opportunity to succeed and to live a life that is as fulfilling and rewarding as possible.

Did Stephen Harper drive a stake through Tim Hudak’s chances when he made his trifecta comment last summer at Rob Ford’s barbecue?

A little bit of the arrogance slipped out.  I think he did.  Harper is taking Ontario voters for granted.

But this time in Leeds-Grenville they are worried:  Tim Hudak has been here twice to prop up Steve’s campaign.  Seeing our NDP surge, Andrea Howath has been here to speak to Leeds-Grenville twice.  Dalton McGuinty, recognizing the trend, has stayed away.

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