Mike Strange, running as an Independent, says “the Liberal Party has had four years to make a difference.”
But given some of the promises made, and some of the actions of the prime minister, “accountability is a big thing for me.”
He says if a member of parliament speaks out against his or her own government, “you get kicked out of caucus. As an Independent, I can bring up any issue I want. I can bring my constituents’ issues to Ottawa.”
He considers retiring Conservative MP Rob Nicholson a mentor, the politician he voted for the year he was first able to vote.
“But politics have changed since then. People can’t speak up against their own party.”
He believes this coming election is “a perfect storm,” with a minority government all but guaranteed, and in that situation, the balance of power will lie with the Independents. “They will have to come to the Independents to get anything passed,” he says. “We will have a vote, and we will have way more power than the opposition party.”
Strange attempted to win the nomination to run in the last provincial election as a Conservative, but the party rejected him as a candidate.
“I thank God I wasn’t allowed, or I would be a member of the provincial government now.”
There was no way he would have run against Nicholson, for whom he has the greatest respect, but when the MP announced his retirement, Strange, serving his second term as a Niagara Falls councillor, decided this was his time.
“It’s 100 per cent the perfect time. I’m the smart vote. I can have the power to represent my riding.”
He compares running as an Independent to his experience on city council, “where we are all independents, but we know how to work together and get things done. I think that needs to be done more in the House of Commons.”
Climate change is a good example of what that could accomplish, he says.
“Every MP, across all party lines, should be united on that issue. We owe it to our future generations.”
In addition to being a second-term city councillor in Niagara Falls and a real estate agent for the last 12 years, Strange also runs the BoxRun Charitable foundation, which raises funds for childhood cancer research and Ronald McDonald House.
Strange’s top priorities include:
• Helping seniors in the riding. The Niagara Falls riding has the oldest population per capita in this country, says Strange. “We definitely need a plan for free pharmacare for our seniors as we are beginning to see the strain on our health care system.” Seniors have paid into the system and deserve better “than to line up in this new hallway medical care system.” He would also support free transit for seniors across Canada.
• Climate change needs to be taken seriously, Strange says, and all MPs across all party lines should be united in the fight against it. In Niagara-on-the-Lake and in Fort Erie, high water levels have damaged shorelines and local marinas. “The current government should be calling a state of emergency and should be taking every step possible for protecting residents of NOTL and Fort Erie and our shoreline from rising waters, which will not change unless this is addressed immediately.”
• Immigration: The Niagara Falls riding has four international borders and there is a current crisis with the number of people coming over, claiming refugee status when there is no refuge from the state of New York, says Strange. “We need to process immigrants and refugees responsibly and with medical screening.” The number of people crossing borders is causing hallway medical health care, Strange says. “The process at our borders for refugees and immigration has to be done responsibly and with proper steps. We have seen too many recent gun incidents and crime close to us that security has to be the number one step at our borders.”
Contact Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-353-1731.