CanadaVOTES: Animal Alliance (AAEVPC) candidate Marie Crawford running in Toronto—Danforth

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

Calgary Southwest: CHP
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Toronto—Danforth: LIB, AAEV
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Westmount—Ville-Marie: NDP

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On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada candidate Marie Crawford is standing for election in the riding of Toronto—Centre.

Marie is a Director of Animal Alliance of Canada, a separate but related organization. She volunteers her time for Animal Alliance, but unlike party leader Liz White, does not work out of their office.

Wikinews contacted Marie, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

The incumbent in this riding is National Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton. Other than Crawford, trying for the riding are Liberal Andrew Lang, Sharon Howarth (Green), and Christina Perreault (Conservative), Marcell Rodden (Marxist-Leninist), and Bahman Yazdanfar (Canadian Action Party), and independent John Richardson. The riding has existed federally since 1979, and has the seat has been occupied by Bob Rae (NDP, 1979–1982), Lynn McDonald (NDP, 1982–1988), Dennis Mills (Liberal, 1988–2004), and Layton (NDP, 2004 to present).

For more information, visit the campaign's official website, listed below.


Why are you running for political office, why at the federal level, why this party, and why in this riding?

I am running for political office because I am confident that I can represent the positive ideals that many people in this riding share. I have lived in Toronto-Danforth for 16 years, and have owned and operated a restaurant in the area for 9 years. There are many people here that appreciate and respect other animals and and [sic] to see more done to reduce humans' impact on the environemt [sic] and have a safe, respectful future for their children. Things like banning plastic bags and eliminating takeout cups and packaging would be welcome ways to help people reduce their impact on the environment.
Running at a Federal Level cannot address all of those issues mentioned above, but other issues can, like amending the Criminal Code to increase penalties for animal abusers, ending the Canadian seal hunt and shedding light on the fact that animal factory farming practices are the number one contributing factor to climate change - a fact that is repeatedly swept under the rug.
I have been a part of Animal Alliance - the founder of the AAEVPC - for 15 years. The manner in which we have been trying to change laws to protect animals (years and years of lobbying and empty promises from politicians) has not been effective, so I was eager to be a candidate once the party was formed so I could make real change for animals if elected, and certainly raise awareness in the meantime.

Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved? How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?

I have worked on several election campaigns for a couple of noteable [sic] politicians, and Aimal Alliance in itself is a legislative organization that I have been a part of for many years. I firmly believe that government reps are not "us or them", but people who should ultimately care about what is best for the people who have elected and put their faith in them to do what is best for all. These days, government has become more about greed, and many politicians have compromised their own ethics to simply get votes. I believe I am capable of leading by positive example and truly bringing a compassionate and respectful type of representation in this riding.

As you campaign around your riding, it's likely that some issues are mentioned more often by voters, than other issues. What would you say are the three hottest topics this election, in your riding? What would you and your party do to address these issues?

Part of my campaigning is to ultimately embrace positive activities and foster a greater sense of compassion in people. By doing so, compassion for other animals and respect for eachother [sic] and the environment will surely follow. Ultimately, this form of representation has no boundaries. In this riding we have many people opposed to the "big "box" stores moving in to the area, of which I would actively attempt to allow only smaller family or entrepreneur-owned businessed [sic] to move in to the area. We also have the Leslie Spit, which includes a bird sanctuary that must continue to be protected.

Is there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?

Strangely, some people still react to the "Animal Protection" platform like it's a scary term. - I even get suggestions that we should change the name so that the "Animal" part gets dropped. But once I continue to speak further with people, and they largely agree that the current Criminal Code is too weak when it comes to animal abusers, and agree that animals used for food must be treated humanely, and their own cat or dog is twirling around their feet and I can remind them that they probably care about other animals just as much as our party does and that we're just trying to work on their behalf, well, they become interested listeners and agree that animals are largely forgotten on a government level

There are more ways than ever to get your message out, from the traditional campaign fliers and lawn signs, to new media like websites, Facebook, and YouTube. The tried-and-true routes get the message out to the masses much easier, but digital alternatives are much more measurable in how many are seeing or interacting with your campaign. What seems to be the most effective, from your experience?

With such little time to really get media and material going in this election, I can't say for sure at this time. Perhaps we will see what's been most effective after the election!


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.