Brian Barker grew up in a working class family, with parents who both worked hard to make a “modest” living and raise a family, but that is becoming more and more difficult for families today, he says.
He has chosen to run as a candidate for the NDP because it’s a party that works for everyone, says Barker, referring to Tommy Douglas and the creation of universal health care as representing a philosophy that everyone is cared for.
Barker grew up in Welland, where the late Peter Kormos was a popular MPP for many years who fought for everybody. “He was the salt of the earth, beloved by everybody in the constituency,” says Barker.
In the Niagara Falls riding, MPP Wayne Gates has also worked hard on behalf of the constituency, and Barker says he considers both his mentors.
“That’s the ideology I’ve always felt strongly about — a government that works for people. That’s what has driven me to the NDP. It represents the values I feel strongly about.”
The father of two young children, Barker worries about what the future holds for them. He is concerned about climate change and the environment, about the affordability of homes, of young people being saddled with post-secondary school debt, and about the cost of drugs and dental care for those who don’t have private insurance, including seniors.
The middle class is slowly being eliminated, he says, leaving those who are well off and those who aren’t.
“Life is becoming more and more of a struggle for those families who aren’t well off,” says Barker, who is hoping, as a high school teacher, to help make this country a better place for the young people who represent the future.
“That’s what excites me about the NDP and this election. It’s an opportunity to fight for fairness for everyone.”
Barker was born and raised in the Niagara region and lives in Niagara Falls with his two children, Claire and Lennon. He has been a teacher for more than two decades in Niagara, and has taught a wide variety of students.
For the last few years, he has also served as vice-president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Niagara Local, where he has represented and advocated on behalf of 1,500 teachers across Niagara.
If elected, Barker’s three main priorities for the riding would be:
• Making life more affordable for working families in Niagara by ensuring universal dental and prescription drug coverage; building 500,000 units of affordable housing and doubling the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit; and eliminating interest on student loan debt.
• Preserving what makes Niagara-on-the-Lake, Fort Erie, and Niagara Falls special by advocating for tourism and viticulture sectors, standing up for responsible development that protects cultural heritage, and preserving the environment, which includes $2.5 billion in funding for municipalities to deal with extreme weather events.
• Working in tandem with all levels of government and community stakeholders to bring good jobs back to Niagara.
Contact Barker at: 905-933-2358, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit ndp.ca.