Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with independent candidate Charles de Kerckhove, St. Paul's
Monday, October 1, 2007
Charles de Kerckhove is running as an independent in the Ontario provincial election, in the riding of St. Paul's. 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?
- The purpose of this campaign is to address child sexual abuse, an issue affecting at least 1 out of every 10 Canadians (Health Canada), through the promotion of policies advocated by website www.protect-kids.org.
- Every child in Ontario needs to benefit from primary prevention programs addressing all potential sexual offences, accounting for potential offenders either unknown or well-known to a child. While progress has been introduced within our legal system and within our counselling resources to better accommodate child needs, current standards of prevention, support and accountability remain inadequate.
- While this campaign is pleased to offer opinions about other issues only as requested, its mandate is limited to public consideration of www.protect-kids.org, with the hopes that mainstream parties will adopt some or all of the proposals.
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 political experience includes participation in a number of campaigns within mainstream parties. Six years of experience within Ontarian industry as an engineer, a manager and as a marketing representative have provided insights with respect to economic development and environmental restoration. With respect to the issues of this campaign however, my insights derive from research within the current status and implementation of child-specific case law, civil litigation in sexual abuse, interviews of organisations working in prevention initiatives, and visits of provincial victim witness programs and of sexual assault support centres.
Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why? What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?
- There is no competitor to my candidacy per se, as the purpose of this campaign is to persuade St. Paul’s voters to consider “donating their vote”. While the biggest challenge naturally is outreach towards every potential voter within the riding, our team is encouraged by the many friendly receptions going door to door, as well as the general agreement towards better protecting the dignity and safety of every Ontarian child.
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?
- Issues of highest importance naturally differ from one voter to another, and all heard to date have been deserving of consideration and corrective action. Voter concerns have included the need for Toronto’s city revenues to better reflect current provincial and federal taxation levels, specifically an end to the financing of provincially mandated programs through municipal property taxes, also unacceptable accessibility to GPs and to certain medical procedures, questionable standards of leadership in the environment as compared to international initiatives, inadequate community representation within the police force in areas concerned about gun violence, and also basic trust in the accountability of government programs. Voters of all ages have been responsive to this campaign’s proposals to better support and protect children from abuse, I am proud to be advocating positive change on this issue.
What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?
- All Members of Provincial Parliament should support a bill mandating a comprehensive in-school prevention program to be accessed by every child in Ontario, bar none. It would combine the best available age-specific research addressing all potential sexual offences, from offenders unknown or well-known to a child (whether acquaintance, relative, peer, stranger, internet predator, etc.). Organisations with excellent preventive initiatives are currently not receiving any public funding, detracting not only from this outreach but from other programs as well (support of troubled children, teen runaway prevention, community responses to child abuse and family violence, relationship skills for teenage females at risk of violence, etc.). As such an initiative would be promoting children’s well-being, it could be named “Remembering Holly” so as to honour the memory of the much-missed Holly Jones. With the help of the organisations above, social workers, and educational assistants, it could be integrated into current in-school programs such as the Safe Schools Action Team.
Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?
- No. The city of Toronto claims that 32% of its budget is absorbed by provincially mandated / cost shared programs.
How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?
- By investing in the health and well-being of every Ontarian child. The Government of Canada supports a study accounting for the national costs of child physical and sexual abuse as $ 15.5 billion dollars a year, much of which is traced to lost earnings potential comparing formerly abused children to formerly non-abused children from the same socio-economic backgrounds.
- Job creation in the more short-term could be stimulated by supporting the more promising new service industries. Manufacturing companies could be evaluated for support based on due diligence towards the Occupational Health and Safety Act, due diligence towards environmental protections and cogeneration initiatives, viability of the long-term business plans, and re-usability of input materials.
What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?
- Against. The MMP proposes adding new members to the legislature from lists compiled by the main political parties. This rewards the “party hack” sort of individual, and further detracts from personal accountability at voter doorsteps.
- The existing parties have enough control of the process as it is. It’s been said of this campaign: “Charles de Kerckhove has a PLAN that challenges flaws in our social and political systems that will definitely bring attention and positive change towards a safer world for all kids. No child deserves to be hurt, ever”. Along with whatever the candidates from the smaller parties had to say, this PLAN has been shut out of three out of three so-called All-Candidates debates. It’s difficult when one of the hosting organisations that shut out all of the smaller campaigns also actively endorses one of the main three candidates.
- A concerned citizen should have the right to run on an issue of conviction, with at least some token inclusion into the process. Additionally considering the larger ridings under the proposed plan, the option of an independent political campaign could become effectively unavailable.
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?
- New media is the best thing an independent campaign has got! It levels the playing field that much more, and provides voice to people outside the main party lines – new media is keeping the democratic spirit alive more than anything else.
Of the decisions made by Ontario's 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your this electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your this riding? To the province as a whole?
- For the most beneficial decision, that would be a tough choice between the $ 5 million strategy to better support police agencies against child pornography, the creation of the CYBERCOPS program for helping kids against internet offences, and the end of the statute of limitations for fiduciary relationships in civil litigation. That last one is significant, because it means that once a former sexual abuse victim becomes conscious of the effects of the abuse on personal development, he or she no longer is limited to two years for the option of seeking damages. As there is a lot that a defendant can do to discredit and further humiliate a plaintiff – especially if the defendant happens to be something like a powerful religious organisation – the end to the statute of limitations makes the imbalance of power that much less unacceptable.
- As for the least beneficial or even harmful measures, they would be more along the lines of what has not yet been done. For this I would refer to the current government report card, which is posted along with the current government’s response on www.charles-d.com. For all those who share concerns about the shortcomings identified, ask your candidates about www.protect-kids.org!