CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Katy Austin running in Simcoe—Grey

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

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.

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party candidate Katy Austin is standing for election in the riding of Simcoe—Grey. Born in St. Catherines and raised in Barrie, Austin has a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education from the University of Windsor. Teaching in various Ontario schools, she has been active in the Simcoe NDP riding association since 1975. Austin rode her bike, solo, from Victoria, British Columbia to Elmvale, Ontario (a total of 4 500 km) in 40 days during the summer of 1996, camping along the way.

Wikinews contacted Katy Austin, 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 riding is currently held by Helena Guergis (Conservative), the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Sport. Also challenging Guergis are Peter Ellis (Green), Andrea Matrosovs (Liberal), Caley McKibbin (Libertarian), and Peter Vander Zaag (Christian Heritage).

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 in this campaign as the New Democrat candidate because I believe that the strength of a democracy depends on the active involvement of all its citizens in the issues that are most important to the country, and because I want to be the spokesperson for those who agree with the fundamental values and policies of the New Democrat Party of Canada.

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

I have been involved with the New Democrats in all federal and provincial elections since 1974, first as a canvasser, then election day organizer, campaign office manager, campaign manager, and finally candidate. I have also been on the executive of the riding association for 10 years and am currently the president.

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?

The three most important issues people in my riding seem to be discussing are:
  1. The environment, especially the need to deal with global warming. Our party is committed to making big polluters pay, meeting promised emissions reduction targets, moving away from dependence on oil and gas, and moving towards a green energy economy with green collar jobs.
  2. Help for small farmers to make a decent living. Our party is committed to fighting to end export subsidies and dumping that have caused worldwide price distortions and have devastated rural economies around the world.
  3. Job losses. Our party is committed to investing $100 million a year in skills training and the manufacturing sector and reforming employment insurance for workers and tradespeople to provide greater access to full- and part-time training.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

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?

All methods of getting the message out to people are effective. The important thing is for people to study these messages with a critical eye and to make an informed and wise decision which benefits all Canadians.