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My choice for MPP in Kitchener-Waterloo Riding


The provincial riding of Kitchener-Waterloo is in a unique position. Its voters get a chance to provide some stability back to governing Ontario.

We have seen that the opposition parties are more interested in playing political games for their own benefit than what is in the best interests of the people of Ontario. The NDP felt it more important to push for a popular tax on high incomes rather than push for an unpopular increase to social assistance. The Progressive Conservatives voted for NDP budget amendments to put the Liberals into tricky political waters rather than voting by its principles.

An additional Liberal seat at Queen’s Park does not give Dalton McGuinty an absolute majority where he has complete control. But it does give the government a bit of breathing room so that it can govern in the best interests of the people without getting drawn into political games.

Fortunately, the Ontario Liberals have three quality individuals you are interested in being the party’s candidate in the upcoming by-election. Eric Davis would make a good candidate as he demonstrated last fall. Raj Sharma, a respected, experienced police officer, would also make a good candidate. Karen Scian, an experienced city councillor in Waterloo is also seeking the nomination. All three would be solid additions to Dalton McGuinty’s team and better MPPs than either of the opposition candidates.

A quick look at Tracey Weiler

Here’s an excerpt from a column about Weiler.

She immigrated here with her family from England in the 1980s, because they believed that this province was a place of opportunity. “Today, as I look at the future for my own children and grandchildren, it’s not the same,” she said.

Really? I’m sure it’s all Dalton McGunity’s fault too Tracey! Weiler would never blame Mike Harris, Brian Mulroney or Stephen Harper for the dismal future she sees for her children and grandchildren.

I wonder how Weiler will sell that line in Kitchener-Waterloo which under the provincial Liberals has seen investments in Kitchener’s downtown core through the addition of a pharmacy school and a medical school to the University of Waterloo and the Communitech Hub. How will she sell that line to all the investments in new infrastructure at the University of Waterloo and Laurier? What about the opportunities created by supporting the tech sector such as Agfa’s new research and development centre that the government made possible? What about making post-secondary education more affordable to students from lower and middle income families by reducing tuition by 30%? Or the opportunities young children have to get off to the best possible start in life thanks to full day kindergarten?

Will voters buy the dismal picture Weiler paints? I don’t think so.

A quick look at Catherine Fife

The NDP is set to make Catherine Fife their candidate. I’m surprised that they would so warmly embrace a politician who demonstrated she does not care what voters think and lacks accountability to them.

In the debate about the extended day for kindergarten students, Fife showed that she uses power to implement her vision. Then she hides behind staff and takes no accountability for voting on a significant policy matter. Her counterparts in Ottawa-Carleton put her to shame. Not only did they hold true public consultations with fighting tooth and nail to avoid them, they voted on how they would implement their extended day policy. Fife on the other hand did everything possible to at first avoid public input, then stifle it and then when she had no choice held public meetings where she still tried to control the agenda. How will Catherine Fife prove to voters in Kitchener-Waterloo that she will ever listen to what they have to say?

My choice is Karen Scian

Karen Scian with voters and premier

When I heard about the by-election, I immediately thought that the Liberal candidate needed to be the best possible candidate. Karen Scian was at the top of my list. I’m thrilled that she is running. If I could vote for the Liberal candidate in the riding of Kitchener-Waterloo, I would vote for Karen Scian. She’s an excellent candidate and has what it takes to be a top-notch MPP.

Proven relationship-builder

I’ve come to learn a lot about Karen from getting to know her on Twitter. She’s one of a very few local politicians that uses this social media platform well. She knows it is not to broadcast her key messages. She knows its real power is to build relationships and develop community. Her use of Twitter shows me that she cares about the people that she serves and wants to know what they think. I also find it important that she embraces the use of technology to reach out in a high tech hub that is the home of Research in Motion.

Proven interest in public engagement

Karen is an innovative politician that seeks ways to enhance public engagement. As finance chair she got the City of Waterloo to take input and questions into its budget via Twitter. She’s also the first municipal politician to hold a Twitter townhall. Karen also blogs as a way to connect with voters and discuss their concerns and the issues she faces.

If Kitchener-Waterloo wants an MPP who has proven she truly listens and looks to improve how she interacts with voters, Karen is clearly the best choice.

Proven leadership experience to make tough decisions

Karen understands how politics works. Compared to school boards, municipal government still makes many decisions that affect your day to day life. Karen’s experience as a city councillor means that she has voted many times to make tough decisions that are closely scrutinized by citizens. As noted in her new release announcing her candidacy, “Under Scian’s guidance, Waterloo worked to deliver the lowest tax rate increases in the Region, while successfully planning for the future by lowering debt levels and increasing reserve fund levels.”

She also has a proven track record of accomplishment for making Waterloo a better place to live. For example, the creation of an uptown skate park and meeting a need for west side residents for a public library branch and a family-friendly recreation facility.

Proven desire to make her community better

Karen realizes that to get things done that you need to be able to reach out and connect with a variety of people. She understands how different issues require different people to be at the table with relevant point of views. She’s a pragmatic politician driven by a desire to make her community better rather than one driven by narrow ideologies with a predictable cast of supporters.

Karen is not afraid to take a look at a good project and find ways to make it better.

I know that Karen shares my progressive perspective to making Ontario a better place to live. I won’t claim she supports everything that I advocate but she does look at issues from a similar place and based upon her personal experience and knowledge makes decisions that make Waterloo a better place for everyone that lives there.

Karen is the face Kitchener-Waterloo–today and tomorrow

Karen is an example of the type of person that makes Waterloo Region such an awesome place to live in work. She came to Waterloo from Saskatchewan to go to university but fell in love with the area and chose to stay and raise her family here. When we talk about attracting and retaining the creative class, we’re talking about people like Karen Scian. Waterloo Region attracts the best and the brightest. Let’s send one of them to represent it at Queen’s Park.

From her time on Council, Karen has been directly responsible for the success of Waterloo today. She also has a clear vision of where the city and the region are headed. Based on her experience and her extensive, diverse network, she can hit the ground running as an MPP and make an immediate impact on helping our area in a way that no opposition MPP can do.

Support Karen in the nomination race

Karen Scian has proven she has the qualities required to excel as an MPP but first she needs your help to get the Liberal nomination.

If you live in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding, you can do that by buying a membership.

While you can buy memberships online, her team prefers to personally sign you up so that they know you are a part of her team and can stay in touch with you as  her campaign continues. Contact me or her campaign directly to get your membership.

If you are not in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding, you can help spread the word to family and friends that do live there. One way is by joining her Facebook page.

Act quickly since the nomination meeting could be called at any time and you need a membership to vote for the candidate.

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43 comments on “My choice for MPP in Kitchener-Waterloo Riding

  1. Do you have any thoughts on Stacey Danckert, the Green Party Candidate?

    • I don’t have any comment on Stacey. I don’t expect the Green Party to be a factor in this by-election. It is not likely to come from so far back in the pack that it is likely to win. If the Green Party wins a substantial number of new votes, it’s more likely to come at the expense of the Liberals with the result of electing another PC MPP dedicated to destroying advances made in green energy by the government. Green Party supporters should stay true to their preferred party but any other voter that believes the environment must be a priority is better served by a stronger Liberal government with a proven green track record.

      • I’m sorry, “proven green track record”? All the McGuinty government has proven with respect to their green track record is that they are back tracking.
        – offshore wind, not in Ontario
        – start and stop FIT programs lack clarity & consistency, businesses are giving up due to market manipulation, red tape & ever changing rules
        – Ontario’s environment commissioner asks “What happened to Ontario’s culture of conservation?”

        Meanwhile McGuinty has declared war on teachers, doctors & students (with unchecked increases on tuition). He penalized us $180m to move a generation station out of Mississauga to retain ONE seat.

        There is no more opportunistic, self preservationist option than another entitled Liberal MPP. Now is the time to vote strategically, there is nothing to loose but the opportunity to show how progressive our region is by electing a Green candidate to be a king maker championing the sustainable economy of the future over entrenched, ideological & wrong options of the past.

        Vote Green… finally.

      • Thanks for sharing your perspectives Patrick. I disagree but from past experience I know we won’t find any common ground so I won’t try again to highlight the positives of the Liberals environmental record.

        I hope you demonstrate your support of the Green party on the streets of Kitchener-Waterloo. If they are to have any chance of finishing in the top three, the support of people like you will be critical.

  2. Great post I really like your overview of the potential candidates. as you Know I have intimate knowledge of Ms Fife’s methods and I am sure that if the NDP wanted or foresaw some kind of win in KW they are choosing the wrong person. I believe there will be a huge push back from the parents of Waterloo region against Fife, and frankly it all came from her own doing. Had she simply sat down and really listened to the parent a great deal of the problems then and now could have been avoided. Imagine how she would represent KW in any situation that required public input!

    • Thanks for your input Mark. Your group of parents had to fight long and hard to have their voices heard by the public school board and its trustees. When so many parents have concerns about such a major change in their children’s care, it should not be so difficult to be heard even if the decision-makers decide to disagree.

  3. As an advocate for the parents in this region who actively worked to help save the third-party child care providers, I totally agree with your “take’ on Catherine Fife. Throughout the entire issue, Catherine Fife did not demonstrate any respect for the democratic process – right down to the bitter end when there was no vote by the trustees, even though at least 6 out of 10 trustees thought they would be.

    Since the child care debate cooled down in March of this year, I personally approached Catherine Fife in June 2012 regarding another important issue. Her response was to simply slough me off and simply refuse to speak to me about it.

    In my opinion, someone who refuses to talk to constituents at the municipal level because she doesn’t like what she hears (or has a belief she has some sort of god-like powers that she can do whatever she wants), certainly isn’t someone I would want representing my interests a a provincial level.

    • Thank you for your input Natalie. You were certainly on the front lines trying to ensure parents had a voice. I’m disappointed to hear that by making your voice heard on the extended day issue, Ms. Fife decided not to hear what you thought about any other issue. If anything, I would have thought she would have seized the opportunity to build bridges to the community in the best interests of the children.

  4. ‘The NDP felt it more important to push for a popular tax on high incomes rather than push for an unpopular increase to social assistance.’

    Yes, the NDP did push for a popular tax on high incomes. So popular, in fact, that the Liberal campaign literature that arrived in my mailbox takes credit for the tax. But, the NDP also pushed from what you call ‘an unpopular increase to social assistance’ and they won that too. I’m not sure where you got the idea that the NDP didn’t include both on its list of budget demands.

    I’ll leave it to you and Mark to congratulate each other for agreeing with one another on the extended day issue. The fact is that the Liberals created a program and then gave virtually no support to boards to implement it. It’s not surprising that this would cause some problems along the way.

    • Scott, You can rewrite history all you want but the increase in social assistance was a last minute addition to the demands and people like myself and Syd Ryan made a fuss about it. The key demands were announced with great fanfare. The inclusion of any increase in social assistance in the “agreement” came as a surprise since it was not announced as a condition of support.

      On the extended day issue, the government had decided at first that school boards needed to offer the programs. But child care organizations such as the YMCA and the YWCA let the government know what the impact would be on child care. The government listened and responded by giving school boards the option of keeping third party operators. The Waterloo Region District School Board was the only major English public school board to insist that it needed to run the extended day program. Ottawa-Carleton had considered doing the same but decided to hold consultations with parents and other stakeholders chose a hybrid model. Their process was in stark contrast to the brick wall approach locally lead by Ms Fife.

      • The fact is that the wealthiest Ontarians are paying more tax because of the NDP’s demands and the poorest Ontarians are receiving more each month thanks to the NDP’s demands. That’s not rewriting anything… except a badly flawed Liberal budget.

      • You mean the never ending process of rewriting the budget? The NDPs approach to amending the budget left much to be desired and is an argument why a stronger Liberal government is needed. The game playing did not even stop when it came time to vote. The NDP did not vote to support the budget nor did they vote against it. They sat on their hands and left their constituents without a voice. If the NDP wants a minority government, it needs to prove that it can help make one work.

    • Actually Scott, the Liberals did create the program, but quickly realized through public consultation that they made some errors in the legislation. They then amended the legislation, based on parent and community feedback collected throughout the entire province. These amendments also gave the boards both flexibility and support to make implementation easier and more cost effective.

      But it was this school board that ignored the amendments to the legislation and chose to go full-steam ahead without stopping to consider the amendments to the legislation and the options that these changes brought. So the ‘problems along the way’ rightfully needs to be laid at the feet of the board, not by the province. If it were the province’s fault, then all the other boards in the province would have had the same implementation problems along the way. And clearly, with the exception of the Ottawa board, these problems did not exist elsewhere.

      • You know what’s good? Evidence. I like evidence. It helps justify an argument.

        Sadly, there’s none here.

        The Liberals have had their time and, as always, they’ve let Ontarians down.

      • Evidence? You want evidence? Come to my office sometime, I have binders full of evidence of wrong-doing, including independent legal opinions.

      • Did you follow my link to my post called “Democracy inaction at local school boards?” Plenty of evidence there and it’s only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

  5. The Liberal echo chamber in this city is ridiculous. James, Mark and Natalie: your buddy-buddy attempt to build up your party by attacking Catherine Fife is transparent and pathetic.

    McGuinty continues to drop files at Queen’s Park and expect middle-income Ontarians to foot the bill. And then has the audacity to try to sneak into a majority position by offering a plum job to the sitting member.

    For shame.

    • Catherine Fife is responsible for her actions and decisions as board chair especially the way that she attempted to push through her extended day plan. There’s plenty of documentation of that debate (or lack of it) in the Waterloo Region Record, the Kitchener Post, CTV Kitchener etc. I never saw that debate as being a partisan issue. But if months later, Catherine Fife is running to be an MPP she must be accountable for her track record. I’m just putting a spotlight on it.

      • I think you’re just another spinning Liberal, trying to dog the NDP before they even elect their candidate.

        You all will say anything to stay in power and do nothing but rack up the scandals.

        More proof of why McGuinty and his cronies have to go.

      • You should read more of my posts Steve. I’m always willing to speak truth to power–even Catherine Fife.

      • … but not to Dalton McGuinty. He apparently can do no wrong.

      • You’ve followed me long enough Scott that you should know that’s not true. I called for an increase in social assistance equal to or greater than the inflation rate when Andrea Howarth was silent on the issue. I also disliked how the G20 protests in Toronto were handled though I think the Harper government deserve the vast majority of the blame there. I also don’t share all of my thoughts on my blog. I’ve said that no government is perfect and that there is room for improvement. Having said that, I firmly believe that the best option in front of Ontario today.

        Have you ever publicly criticized the NDP?

      • I sure have. Use the Google if you don’t believe me.

        BTW, I still do appreciate the municipal endorsement that you wrote for me in 2010.

      • I believe you Scott! I just don’t remember ever seeing it.

        And thanks for the BTW, I know that we’re both interested in a better world starting with a better Waterloo Region even if we don’t always agree on which party is best able to deliver the improvements needed.

      • I cannot speak for all the other people who have responded to this blog post, but I can speak for myself. My speaking out against Catherine has nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with the pending provincial by-election.

        My personal opinion entirely has to do with my belief that the WRDSB is dysfunctional when it comes to governance. Catherine just happens to be the captain of that ship right now.

        I hold strong to my comments on my personal experiences with Catherine; they were not favorable. But I am no different than someone sharing glowing recommendations for her based on their own personal experiences. The thing with politics is that people remember. Some choose to remember the good. Some remember the bad. There are two sides to every coin, and the same rings true with opinions of politicians. And what politicians do in the past will naturally follow them wherever they go.

        I don’t believe there are any ‘scandals’ posted here. But…if there were to be a ‘scandal’ in the future, it is my opinion it would be about the dysfunction of the WRDSB, and not a personal affront on Catherine in attempts to discredit her. It would probably have started months ago, long before Catherine announced her seeking nomination. Catherine would – unfortunately for her – only be involved because of her association with the board and her responsibility to uphold the accountability and transparency of its operation.

      • Thanks for your added comments Natalie. I won’t attempt to comment on your WRDSB comments since I lack enough knowledge to do so. I also don’t see a connection to the subject of this blog post. I do believe that the extended day issue could have played out entirely differently if Catherine Fife as board chair made different choices.

      • Sorry for confusion James. My comments were in response to Steve Russell’s comment “You all will say anything to stay in power and do nothing but rack up the scandals.”

  6. James writes: “An additional Liberal seat at Queen’s Park does not give Dalton McGuinty an absolute majority where he has complete control.”

    A Liberal win in this byelection will give them 54 seats in a legislature of 107 seats. That’s a majority. All the other parties voting against the Liberals would not be able to carry a motion.

    James, your rhetoric would carry a lot more weight if it contained some facts.

    –Bob.

    • Do the math again Bob! Last I looked, the Speaker was a Liberal. That fact means the government has 53 votes at most or exactly the same as the opposition. A technical majority yes but not a practical majority and far from a comfortable majority like Stephen Harper enjoys. In addition, it’s nearly impossible except on rare occasions to have every MPP in the Legislature for a vote so anything can happen. Yet, I believe that a more stable government with less game playing by the opposition would emerge if the government had a stronger position.

  7. As an NDP voter in previous elections, I am saddened that the current representative has fallen short of any true NDP visions I have carried. I witnessed Ms. Fife disregard parents who asked for consultations to keep daycare for infants to school agers affordable – the result: my daycare fees went from $17/day to $25/day – that’s an added $1600/year for families with 1 child using before and after school care. I have 2 children so my household hit is $3200.

    How would the average taxpayer respond to a $1600/year household tax increase? Not favourably I’d assume. I would imagine we’d hear an outcry.

    This doesn’t sound like a politician that is listening to her constituents, rather this is a politician that leveraged her role to intimidate a Board of Trustees with “universal daycare for all”. When her Board colleague states, “We did not fully appreciate the relationship with parents and third-party providers” – I cannot help to think, how on earth did this Board led by Ms Fife expect to move forward without appreciating the parents who need child care and the existing child care providers? Is this a politician who knows how to engage stakeholders? I think not!

    With Ms. Fife, you quickly learn that she is not about her constituents but about her ego. So sad, that the Board decision under her direction has left too many families unable to afford licensed daycare and women are leaving the workforce as a result. Now it is time for me to decide which party will win my vote – Ms. Fife – you lost me when your ego got the best of you.

    Now should I wear the blue jeans or the red dress?

    • Thank you for sharing your story and demonstrating that my comments are not just empty partisan rhetoric as NDP commenters like to complain. I’m surprised that they can defend her.

  8. I do not consider myself a big partisan, having voted for all 3 parties at different times in the past. I was also involved with the Extended Day battle earlier this year. I had two brief interactions with Ms. Fife, and my expreasions were not positive. She was notconfrontational, but she conveyed to me she did have much time for me or my concerns. I’ve seen posts elsewhere expressing what a warm, caring, engaging person she is. Maybe she is, if you agree with her. Personally, after sitting in a number of board meetings, I don’t see it. Regardless of party affiliation, she is not a person I would trust to balance her own ambitions with the needs of her constituents.

  9. Ms. Fife and her band of Trustees (save a few) have tried to convince the general public that their plan for Before/After school care run by the Board, is a fair and equitable solution for parents. They have taken credit (undo) for being flexible in “letting” current providers remain in certain schools.
    What they have not done, is to be forthright and fair to the parents and students they represent.
    They have lead the general public to believe that all daycare centres were spared – not so! Any centres run by Conestoga College will no longer provide service for 4 – 7 yr old.
    They have led the general public to believe that their program provides quality care for all in need of care – not so! They have forgotten about the parents who work 12 months of the year (unlike them), as they will not be providing care during the summer months.
    They have led the general public to believe that their program provides a safe environment for all children – not so! They have forgotten about children with special needs who require a supervision ratio better than 1:15.
    It’s time for Ms. Fife to open her eyes and recognize that her performance as Chair of the WRDSB will continue to haunt her throughout her political career.

    • Thank you for raising some of the issues that parents have been trying to make heard from the beginning of the local debate on the WRDSB’s extended day plans. Lack of summer care and considering the special needs children are both issues that deserved to be heard without fighting for that chance. The fact that they still haven’t been addressed indicates to me that a collaborative approach to meeting the needs of the community is still lacking. Keep making your voice heard!

  10. I found ms fife to be condescending and uncaring when parents were standing up to her and the Waterloo Regional District School Board. WRDSB wanted to make major changes to daycare in the schools which was going to cause many problems for many parents and dire consequences for special needs parents. Firstly this was kept a secret from the parents ( who would pay for this service) and then when we contested Ms Fife and her group tried to change the WRDSB delegation process to limit how often we could speak, and what we could wear! They held “consultation” meetings where we were told we could express our concerns and ask our questions. Then, WRDSB told us we could answer THEIR three questions! Foolishness, and all this to the cost of $50000 to taxpayers! Ms Fife’s recent actions as the chair of the trustees shows she had her own agenda then …. To make a name for herself as a trail blazer, (however detrimental it was to our children) so she could run for a bigger office. Ms Fife has her own agenda now and she won’t listen to voters. fife won’t get my vote!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. You’ve demonstrated that Catherine Fife is too interested in her own agenda than to even try to appear to listen to stakeholders. A characteristic of a good MPP? I think not.

  11. I think it’s hilarious that a group of people that worked so hard to get Catherine Fife to switch parties and run for them is now attacking her.

    • If that’s true (and I have absolutely no idea if it is), don’t lump me in with “that group of people.” Trust me if Catherine Fife was running as the Liberal candidate in Kitchener-Waterloo, I’d be sitting on my hands and watching from the sidelines. I need to believe in the candidate that I help–which is why I’m so strongly in support of Karen Scian.

      • “Trust me.”

        Trusting a Liberal isn’t something most Canadians are into these days.

      • If you think that there’s any chance that I’d be out there pushing hard for Catherine Fife as the Liberal candidate, you clearly don’t know me very well.

  12. I know you well enough to know that Catherine Fife has too much integrity to ever run as a Liberal.

    She’s too good for you, not the other way around.

    • If you think being a Liberal is all you need to know about me, you don’t know me at all. And most sadly, you don’t care to anything outside of your partisan worldview. No wonder you’re not embarrassed by a candidate that doesn’t care what voters think.

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