The federal election in Kitchener Centre looks to again be a very close contest. In a race this tight, the local candidate can mean the difference between winning and losing.
I have written about both Karen Redman and Peter Thurley but I have not had much to say about Stephen Woodworth who is the local representative of the Harper government. Perhaps that is because as my mother taught me, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I would probably stick to that advice if I didn’t think that the next MP for Kitchener Centre will again be decided by 1000 votes or less. I think it is important that some facts are on the table for voters to consider who is the best person to represent them–and Kitchener–in Parliament.
I find it interesting that Stephen Woodworth says that he was a school trustee from 1997 to 2003 but doesn’t say it was with the Catholic school board. Could it be because he doesn’t want people to remember that he lost in 2003? With four trustees to be elected, he came in sixth. After two terms where he frequently made the news for his socially conservative views, did Catholic voters decide enough was enough? That was certainly the consensus for my circle of family and friends.
But his views on issues such as abortion and gay marriage did make him some friends. In fact, a group called Defend Traditional Marriage and Family supported his 2008 election bid because they liked his positions. They even took credit for his victory as reported in The Record and The Cambridge Times.
Yet this week when directly asked if he supported a woman’s right to choose in a debate televised on Rogers TV, Woodworth refused to give a direct answer. Instead he called for a dialogue on abortion, something that Stephen Harper lead us to believe was off the table. Mike Farwell who moderated the debate picked up on this discrepancy and wrote about it on his blog.
There is no doubt about where he stands on the issue. He tweeted it earlier this year.
My principles incline me to favour preservation and enhancemt of human life in all end of life issues.
Stephen Woodworth on Twitter as preserved by Tweetcommons
His position is also on the public record thanks to Campaign Life which recommended its supporters vote for him due to his social conservative views. In the quote section, he supports the traditional definition of a family and in the questionaire section he promises to strive to introduce and pass laws to protect unborn children from the time of conception (fertilization) onward.
Supporters of his pro-life position must be concerned about his answer this week. Should they continue to support him if he isn’t going to deliver on his commitment? Or do they know something we don’t. Has Stephen Harper asked him to refrain from talking about this issue? Have Woodworth or another Tory MP been promised they can introduce the issue as a private member’s bill after they win a majority government? That is how they tried to kill the long gun registry.
An incident earlier in the campaign gives us additional cause for concern. Woodworth made an insensitive joke on Twitter as reported in The Waterloo Region Record. His lack of judgement forced him to flee from Twitter–at least until after the election. An interesting decision considering he was one of the most prolific MPs on Twitter. Now suddenly when we care most about what he thinks, he has gone silent on his favourite social media platform.
Do you want Stephen Woodworth to represent you in Ottawa?
Is this someone that we can trust to represent Kitchener Centre? Do we want Stephen Woodworth to be Kitchener Centre’s face on the national stage? Or do we want an MP that represents what is widely acknowledged to be one of the most progressive regions in the country? Ask yourself these questions before you mark your ballot and then vote for the candidate who has the best chance of beating Stephen Woodworth and being our progressive voice on Parliament Hill.