CanadaVOTES: Liberal Dr. Eric Hoskins running in Haldimand—Norfolk

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. Liberal candidate Dr. Eric Hoskins is standing for election in the riding of Haldimand—Norfolk.

Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

Calgary Southwest: CHP
Edmonton—Leduc: NDP
Yellowhead: CHP

Langley: CHP*
Vancouver Kingsway: NDP

Brandon—Souris: CHP

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour: CHP

Cambridge: NDP
Carleton—Mississippi Mills: NDP
Don Valley West: NDP
Elgin—Middlesex—London: NDP
Haldimand—Norfolk: LIB, CHP
Hamilton Centre: NDP i
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek: NDP i
Lanark-Front.-Lennox & Addin.: LIB
Parry Sound—Muskoka: NDP
Perth—Wellington: LIB
Prince Edward—Hastings: NDP
Simcoe—Grey: NDP
Thornhill: LIB i
Toronto Centre: AAEV*
Toronto—Danforth: LIB, AAEV
York—Simcoe: CHP

Louis-Hébert: CHP
Westmount—Ville-Marie: NDP

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar: Lbtn

* Asterisks designate riding incumbents or registered political party leaders.
The letter "i" after a party abbreviation signifies an incumbent MP response.

Wikinews contacted Dr. Eric Hoskins, 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.

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 feel that it is time to change the way we do politics at the federal level. We need a bold, courageous vision for the future of our country, one that rises above party politics and speaks to all Canadians.
I am running in Haldimand-Norfolk because my family's roots in this riding go back five generations and nearly 150 years. I grew up here, and continue to call Simcoe my home. I have spent the last twenty years giving a voice to people, families and communities facing challenges, helping them take hold of opportunities and grow strong.
Now I want to stand up for Haldimand-Norfolk in Ottawa and represent its priorities. We need leadership in Haldimand-Norfolk that works for all citizens, finding common ground and seizing every opportunity for advancement of our families, communities and our economy.

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

Political involvement has been an important part of my professional career. After completing my studies at McMaster and Oxford universities I found myself drawn to humanitarian work as a doctor in some of the world's most troubled war zones. Upon returning to Canada I spent three years in federal government as the Senior Advisor to Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy. I now practice medicine and serve as President of War Child, a leading Canadian charity helping children in war zones. I have spent the last twenty years advocating for people, families and communities. This experience has prepared me to give a voice to the people of Haldimand-Norfolk in Ottawa.

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?

In Haldimand-Norfolk, the three hottest topics in this election are the impasse over land claims in Caledonia, the state of agriculture and food policy, and health care.
Land Claims
I will make the impasse in Caledonia a cabinet priority. This dispute is a federal problem that requires a federal response. Negotiations must happen with frequency, and I will ensure that interim targets are established and met within a timeline. I will do more to ensure this dispute is resolved, and ensure that the Federal, Provincial and local governments work together with Police Services to resolve this impasse in a timely manner.
Agriculture and Food Policy
We need a food policy that puts Canadian farmers first. I will fight for a national food strategy that prioritizes Canadian farming by promoting local agriculture, food safety and food security. Canadians should be encouraged to buy local food stuffs, however, we have to ensure they are protected from food-born illnesses. The government must do more to support farmers and to keep our food supply safe.
I believe in the wheat board and support supply management. Farm programs should be simplified and made transparent. The Conservative government has marginalized the farming communities it claims to represent. We need concrete support for our farmers and a real solution for tobacco producers, not more politics and posturing.
Health Care
Families in Haldimand-Norfolk deserve quality health care. As a medical doctor, I understand the challenges facing our communities, including a lack of physicians, long wait times and spiraling drug costs. The size of your bank account should not be the determinant of the quality of care you receive. We will continue to fight to ensure that the future of health care does not follow this course. Our health care system should remain publicly-funded and properly funded.
All patients have a fundamental right to receive access to timely care for necessary medical services. It is unacceptable that too many Canadians are without a family physician. Wait times in emergency rooms or for important diagnoses are too long because there aren't enough nurses or other medical professionals to keep up with the increasing needs. With an aging population we need a plan to ensure greater access to health care professionals. I will work hard to attract new doctors and bring better health services to our communities. I will support the Liberal Doctors and Nurses Fund, which will invest $420 million to ensure all Canadians have access to a medical professional. I will also work to ensure that the goals of the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy are achieved, namely catastrophic drug coverage.
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.

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

I think there are several misconceptions about Stéphane Dion. He is a strong, thoughtful leader who is genuine in his desire to serve the best interests of Canadians. Throughout the Liberal leadership campaign, his integrity was never questioned.
This is a man who stood up to Lucien Bouchard during the height of the separatist debate in Quebec. He took criticism because of his stance in his home province, yet he continued to fight for national unity. This strong vision of Canada remains evident today; his innovative ideas promise to deliver prosperity to Canadians.
The Green Shift plan is poorly understood. This marriage of the economy to the environment is an innovative step that will provide Canada with the opportunity to reinvigorate the economy and resume its place as a global leader in fighting climate change effectively.
The Green Shift is designed to tax less the things we want more of (like income, investment, and jobs), and tax more the things we want less of (like pollution and greenhouse gas emissions). It is revenue neutral; the Auditor General will certify that every dollar collected from the carbon tax will be returned to Canadians. I support the Green Shift, and I support Stéphane Dion.

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?

New media like websites and Facebook are very effective at getting out the message to the masses. They allow candidates to explain their position on numerous issues and also provide a venue to explain policy options. While these applications are useful, going out and talking to voters remains may favourite way to campaign and spread my message. Nothing is more effective than discussing the issues with voters and answering their questions in person.