Andrea Kaiser is hoping to win the nomination to represent the Liberal Party in the upcoming federal election, with a decision to be made Aug. 12.
The Liberals are the only party in the Niagara Falls riding that have not yet chosen a candidate for the Oct. 21 federal election.
While waiting for a nomination meeting for the riding, which includes Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie, Kaiser has been going door-to-door through NOTL signing up local Liberals, hoping they will support her at the “Team Trudeau 2019” nomination meeting, which will be held Monday, Aug. 12. Joyce Morocco, one of two Niagara Falls incumbents who lost their municipal seat in last fall’s election, is also vying to win the nomination.
Speeches from the two women will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the vote at 6 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 479, 5603 Spring St. in Niagara Falls.
Also vying to become the next Niagara Falls riding MP is Tony Baldinelli, the senior manager of communications with the Niagara Parks Commission. He is hoping to take Conservative Rob Nicholson’s place.
Nicholson told The Local in April he planned to retire from federal politics at the end of this term, but will continue to serve his community as a volunteer rather than a politician. He has publicly endorsed Baldinelli, who moved to Ottawa to work for Nicholson in his first term as MP. After five years in Ottawa, Baldinelli took a job at Queens Park working for the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture, and Recreation as a Policy Assistant for the Minister’s legislative agenda, where he stayed for two years. He has been with the parks commission for the past 18 years, and says he wants to continue in Nicholson’s footsteps — he considers him his mentor.
Baldinelli and his wife Carole have a 13-year-old son, and he says he wants to make Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, and Niagara-on-the Lake “the best they can be” for families like his “to live, work, and enjoy the place they call home.”
His policies include a sound economy with lower taxes, a balanced budget, and creating opportunities for business.
In May, the New Democratic Party nominated teacher and volunteer Brian Barker to represent the orange party. His party’s platform was released mid-June.
“We have a mental health crisis in Niagara, we have seniors struggling to pay for prescription medicine, we have people in our community going without dental care because they can’t afford it, and young people drowning in debt with no idea how they’ll pay it off, let alone buy a house. This platform provides relief for all of them,” says Barker.
It would allow prescription drug, dental, and mental health care coverage for every Canadian, he says.
The NDP platform also includes an affordable housing strategy to create thousands of rental units, smaller mortgage payments for first-time home buyers, and double the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit, along with student loan relief and a guarantee to create more than 300,000 jobs in clean energy.
“It’s time for something new. We’re going to bring some fairness to Ottawa. We’re going to end offshore tax havens and ask those at the top to pay their fair share so we can get those in the working and middle class back on track,” says Barker.
Niagara Falls city councillor and former Olympic boxer Mike Strange announced recently he will run as an independent.
“People are looking for a change from the same old party politics,” he says. “I think this is the right time.”
The election could usher in a minority government, and a small number of independents could end up representing the opposition, he says.
“I could bring up new ideas, ideas that people want to hear and that are good for Niagara, that would get me kicked out of caucus in one of the other parties.”
As examples, he says, he would like to advocate for environmental changes that benefit Niagara but would go against Conservative policies, and “responsible change” to immigration policies that would go against the Liberals.
He has raised money to help children with cancer, and wants to see positive changes to health care that would help children and seniors.
He wants to see an end to hallway medicine, and one way to do that, he says, is to cut down on allowing immigration without medical screening, a policy that is clogging the health care system.
He has helped Conservatives such as Bart Maves and George Lepp on elections in the past, and considers himself “fiscally conservative, but socially a liberal.”
Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Sandra O’Connor will represent the Green Party, which she too sees as a timely alternative to mainstream party politics. She says her career, which included working for conservation authorities and other environmental agencies, has provided a strong background in environmental issues. Since retiring from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, she has advocated as a volunteer on protection of agricultural lands and the Greenbelt, and as a member of the NOTL Conservancy, for the urban tree bylaw. Her belief that a strong economy can go hand-in-hand with environmental protection aligns with the Green Party, she says. She supports its democratic style of governance and has great respect for Green Party head Elizabeth May as “the most ethical and smartest of all the leaders.”
“I think they have the most common-sense approach to address growing our economy, while turning it into a green economy,” says O’Connor.
In addition to the environment and the economy, “the party looks at social issues, democracy and governing issues. They have positions on all major issues,” she says.