ELECTION 2015: What do your candidates think of their own party’s leader?

North Island–Powell River candidates tout their leaders' virtues

The North Island–Powell River candidates in the upcoming federal election were recently asked at a public forum why we, as an electorate, should trust and support their party’s leader.

“It’s actually very easy for me to support my leader,” replied Liberal candidate Peter Schwarzhoff, “because of his leadership style. On everything that he’s proposing to do, it’s a team effort. He’s proposing to bring people together and discuss things and find solutions together.”

Schwarzhoff said that Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, “doesn’t pretend he’s going to carry us on his back. He’s not going to go into the U.S. and tell them how to do things, he’s going to call up the President and work on it together.”

NDP candidate Rachel Blaney had similar praise for her party’s leader, Tom Mulcair.

“Tom is a leader of strong principle, and he’s collaborative,” Blaney said. “He wants to work with people. He gets his MPs to go out, do their work, get the information and bring that information back (to consider it),” she said, rather than making decisions on the people’s behalf and sending his MPs out to tell the people about those decisions after they’ve already been made.

“I’m excited to work with Tom. He’s very open and really friendly, and he will stand on his principles. I trust him 100 per cent, because he’s proven that again and again.”

Conservative candidate Laura Smith didn’t actually comment on why people should trust her party’s leader, Stephen Harper, instead stressing that the public should be wary of promises for change that seem too good to be true.

“What we’re having in this campaign is parties trying to make a case for change, but not really offering us much to change to – aside from, ‘We’ll do all these things, but it’s coming out of your pocket.’”

She says the promises being made by the other parties are placing the “burden of your (current) comfort on future generations. What we’re offering is very modest, achievable promises that we know we can do within a fiscal framework.”

Green Party candidate Brenda Sayers agreed with Smith that there are a lot of promises are being made during the campaign, “and one thing I would ask people is that after the election, hold your MP accountable for the promises that were made.”

She also agreed with Smith that it’s unfair to place excessive burden on future generations, but in the Green Party’s view, the burden that needs to be dealt with now instead of later is an environmental one.

“One of the reasons I chose the Green Party is because of their environmental policy,” Sayers said. “We’re heading into times of climate change – which hasn’t been talked about enough during this election.”

She said the Green Party has a plan in place to address those environmental concerns, “because we need to think about upcoming generations.”

She also said her party’s leader has shown how she would govern the country, echoing Blaney and Schwarzhoff’s praise of their own leaders’ views that good governance is collaborative rather than authoritative.

“Elizabeth May has always been the first one out of the gate to raise the alarm to Canadians about policies that are coming down the pipeline,” Sayers said, and she does that because she wants Canadians to actually engage and be a part of how they are governed, not being dictated to by those in power.