This morning the Ottawa Citizen published their analysis of the candidates in the Ottawa South by-election taking place on August 1. They also issued their endorsement of the PC candidate Matt Young. Their primary reasons for this endorsement is that he has no baggage of government and he will not shrink into the backbenches.
I disagree with the logic of their endorsement. In my eyes they are arguing that we in Ottawa South should cut off our noses to spite our face. They would have us vote against an effective commmunity advocate to express displeasure at the government over decisions made about the GTA.
As I have previously indicated I am a supporter of Liberal candidate John Fraser. There have been several developments since I wrote my previous post that have only strengthened my support. The Tim Hudak conservatives would have us make a decision with an eye to punishing the Liberal government for past misdeeds as opposed to making a decision based on who will make the best representative for the riding. In support of their candidate, the PC’s have engaged in a campaign of drive-by smears suggesting that John Fraser somehow bears responsibility for decisions made about the Toronto area or by the government. On Thursday Matt Young held a press conference to announce that back-up tapes of John Fraser’s government email account had been found – suggesting that this somehow meant he was involved in the GTA gas plant decisions. This is a ridiculous assertion.
Yes John Fraser worked for Dalton McGuinty. Yes he worked for him for a long time. His role was to manage the community office and deal with constituent issues in Ottawa South while our previous MPP was busy serving as Premier of the province. He also had a larger role in working with provincially-funded programs across the city and bringing people together to resolve local issues. Even though the GTA covers a large swath of territory and Ottawa is a large municipality, they are not actually neighbouring communities. There is no logical reason why John Fraser would have anything to do with that decision.
This by-election will not influence who is in government. We could certainly send a message to the government about how we feel about decisions that were made under the previous premier. We could also make a decision about who we think will be our best representative as a riding.
We could choose Matt Young, a man who by his own admission has not been involved in the community in anyway other than to have a job doing sales for multinational company. He argues that this means he has helped to keep jobs in the city. That may very well be true, but he has not been actively engaged in the community. He has a young family and being in this boat myself I understand the challenges involved in making time to volunteer time outside of work and family. He has demonstrated his character by holding a press conference to allege (with no evidence) that Fraser is guilty of some kind of cover up related to the gas plants.
Or we could choose John Fraser who has been working to support people in the community for the past 14 years. He has worked to secure funding for programs in Ottawa like youth mental health and addictions, CHEO, the Ottawa Hospital, Montfort, St. Pat’s Home. He has been a tireless advocate for our riding for the past 14 years and he will continue to do so if we choose to elect him on the 1st.
This is not a provincial election. We are not electing a government or a premier. We are electing the best person to help us to access government programs and resources. We are electing the best person to secure funding for programs and supports in Ottawa. This election is about Ottawa South, not Toronto.