Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Bob Innes, Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Monday, October 1, 2007
Robert (Bob) Innes is running for the Family Coalition Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Hamilton East—Stoney Creek riding. Wikinews' Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.
Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.
Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process? Why did you choose to run in this constituency?
- I have lived in east Hamilton for the past seven years or three floods worth which may explain why I'm running. Since 911, I've been disgusted by 1) political correctness and bias in media and political dialog 2) inability of parties to address fundamental problems 3) political encouragement of a smug and selfish attitudes on the part of Canadians.
What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?
- My working life was as a Professional Engineer in the field of recycling and waste management where I came to understand how our political system operates in dysfunctional ways, wasting resources AND wasting people because bureaucracies are not co-operating, how the taxpayer is the last person considered. My ability to think laterally enables me to connect dots others do not see or care about. As an engineer, I prefer to solve problems rather than building long term bandaid solutions such as food banks.
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why?
- The FCP is the only social conservative choice Hamilton voters have. All other parties are now on the left of the political spectrum, indistinguishable, musical chair changers. I have sympathy with the other small (Green) party, having spent a lot of time conserving and developing economical solar heating for my home, however we differ on to two important issues: the cause of global warming which we believe is more likely to be a hotter sun (until proven otherwise) and the use of subsidies to achieve green objectives. We believe that taxes are way too high already and I am incensed to think that my solar savings (from building a cheap collector) would be taxed away so greens can hand out expensive/uneconomic solar collectors to their friends. McGuinty actually did this with air conditioners.
What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
- I would not be a back bencher who would have to toe the line. Other than our core beliefs, the FCP is a coalition party, wanting to work with others on specific issues. That is how democracy should really work and it is important for voters to approve the MMP system. As it is now, our democracy is unable to deal with difficult issues until a crisis occurs which can be a very dangerous approach. This is because independent voices are not heard, and not being heard, important long term or minority problems are simply not discussed.
What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues that are most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?
- I am utterly opposed to poll driven politics (sort of a mob rule) and want to chide voters for thinking politicians are there to do their bidding rather than acting in the interest of both your area and the whole province and nation. I'd guess that Hamilton voters want more doctors, more benefits and to follow the herd on global warming even if it wrecks our economy without solving the problem. I believe its like we are on the Titanic, oblivious to the "icebergs" of demographic change, dangerous (historical) reactions to overtaxation, gathering storm clouds of conflict, ongoing economic dislocation to emerging economies, and deterioration of the pillars of Canadian society. Canada, while seemingly in good shape,has altered a once strong political system so as to follow failed states into the dustbin of history without having contributed anything meaningful.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- Put the MMP system in place.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- No. Hamilton taxes are so high that they have crushed property values, ruined business districts, whipped industry to death and still there is no relief. Do voters know that industrial taxes are about 11% which means that a business must "buy" itself back from the city every 7 years or so? This is nonsense that has insidious repercussions. As noted, having developer based politicians, it is impossible to re-balance tax burdens properly onto the appropriate base. Shopping malls for instance have killed main street businesses but should be paying far higher tax based on the huge parking areas required and roads required as feeders. You won't hear this from your Chamber of Commerce.
- It was fun though listening to Toronto's Mayor holding his citizens to ransom to get a tax increase without doing a comparison between taxtakers and taxpayers. Somehow, the media (CBC Radio in this case) cannot seem to ever discover the game in order to let voters in on the secret. They seem to be in cahoots.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- Lower taxes and over-regulation. Think Ireland. In Canada, government is 40% of the economy, meaning producers must fork over 2/3 of their sector to "gummerment". In turn, this doubles the price of everything, which explains why the NDP has it backwards and is the cause, not the solution to poverty. They do not realize that a poor person is just as happy with lower costs as with higher wages. But lower costs would follow a reduction of gummerment which by regulation, often stands in the way of the poor trying to get ahead. I watched as a young couple tried to make a go selling hot dogs but were crushed by the onerous burden of meeting all the regulations (cart cost over ten grand, license fee over CA$300, nasty inspectors). A friend, driven out of Canada by the magnitude of gummerment hassles and prospered mightily in Costa Rica, priced a certain item at $200 in Canada, $125 in the US and $75 locally. No wonder Canadians are again flocking over the border to shop. This time, its not currency, which is at par. If you want people to work, get gummerment out of the way, out of peoples pockets, and reduce disincentives to work.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- I agree that MMP works to make democracy more sensitive to voters' ideas and would have rectified things like the Residential School debacle much more quickly. Initially, I was concerned that the list could be a source of problems but was convinced that if it did occur, could be corrected later. I myself and many people criticizing the concept on the basis of the Italian experience but then I realized that we should give Italy a bit more credit. For a small country with few resources it seems they are doing quite well thank you. The coalition idea is to create temporary alliances in order to deal with one problem and then if needed shuffle things around to deal with a different problem. At present, we just sweep problems under the carpet and hope they go away.
What role, if any, does "new media" play in your campaign, and the campaign of your party? (websites, blogs, Facebook, YouTube videos, etc) Do you view it as beneficial, or a challenge?
- At present, this is almost all we have. Big contributors smell money in power and will never support a small party. Please visit my Facebook page, and the Family Coalition Page is at www.familycoalitionparty.com
Of the decisions made by Ontario's 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your riding? To the province as a whole?
- The province continues to crush Hamilton under the weight of welfare and educational budgets and unfair property assessments, without enabling cities to actually solve the problem. Urban sprawl is the major problem the province has done nothing about and which undermines global ability to survive the decline of oil fields worldwide (never mind global warming.) Cities (offspring of provincial legislation) continue to be run by developers and their money which makes it impossible to deal with inner city problems. Amalgamation didn't help either.
- For a small population in a huge country with an inadequate birth rate, high divorce rate and too many untended kids, to undermine the traditional family even more (gay marriage, no income splitting, promoting unhealthy lifestyles in schools) is to contribute to the serious long term consequences we are starting to experience as demographics change and kids shoot each other with impunity and the health system collapses for lack of young workers.
- On the bright side, Hamilton got a new Marine Display and a pork barrel handout just before the writ was dropped. Whoop--dee-doo. When will voters learn?