Federal candidates stake out issues at Esprit

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Gaetan Forgues
& Allyson Beauregard


Gaetan Forgues
& Allyson Beauregard

DAVIDSON – October’s federal election wasn’t officially announced when Jim Coffey, owner of Espirt Rafting, organized a “Meet the Candidates” dinner and discussion evening with four of the Pontiac’s five federal candidates at Esprit Rafting, July 29. After an informal period, each candidate presented his party’s platform, followed by critiques and responses from the other candidates.
Participating were Collin Griffiths (Green), William Amos (Liberal), Mathieu Ravignat (NDP), and Benjamin Woodman (Conservative).  
Collin Griffith –
Green Party
Mr Griffiths, a computing specialist, entrepreneur, researcher and environmentalist, has been a soccer coach and involved in a solar power cooperative and a disabled-adult charity. He helped found the Innis Point Bird Observatory and works to protect threatened wildlife.
The Green party is concerned with climate injustices and climate change, and creating new jobs in these areas. The party wants an
all-party national strategy on climate change. Greens favour restoring home Ecoenergy incentives,
completely abolishing C-51, support for small business, and training
programs for good jobs in sustainable
industries.
William Amos – Liberal
Mr. Amos is a director of a national environmental law charity and teaches law at the University of Ottawa. Amos says his major goal is economic prosperity in the Pontiac – by attracting investors and by encouraging larger Federal investment to help Pontiac municipalities with the costs of inadequate infrastructure.
The Liberal Party will promote job-creation, collaboration with the provinces and territories to set national objectives for emissions reductions, with federal financing and the flexibility to design their own policies to meet these
standards, including carbon-pricing policies, and will phase out subsidies to the oil and coal industries to
fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment.
Mathieu Ravignat – NDP
Mr. Ravignat defeated Lawrence Cannon to become Pontiac’s MP in 2011. As NDP critic for the Treasury Board, he is on the Commons’ Government Operations and Estimates permanent committee, a member of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association and founder of the Canada-Belgium Parliamentary Group. He has worked for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, focusing on aboriginal and environmental issues.  A founding member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 2626, he was a member of the Public Service Alliance Canada for 10 years.
If re-elected, Ravignat promises aid for local small businesses which will
create local jobs, will invest in the forestry industry and ease employment insurance laws for forestry workers.  The NDP will limit credit card interest rates to 5%, bring back the Hiring Credit for Small Businesses (cut by Harper in 2014), and cut small
business taxes from
11 to 9%.
Benjamin Woodman – Conservative
Mr Woodman, a Pontiac native, has worked in the Prime Minister’s and an MP’s office, and  has “served under” two Ministers of Veterans Affairs. He is a Corporal in the Reserves.
Woodman’s priority is the Pontiac economy and job creation.  He believes in keeping federal taxes low and increasing tax rates
for anyone making over $200,000 per year.
He said his party
supports universal health care, and an expanded
global trade regime to
stimulate exports and jobs. The Conservatives support
family tax cuts and increased Universal Child Care Benefits.
Issue:  Marchand
bridge closure
Mathieu Ravignat has made the red covered bridge a priority with both Ottawa and Quebec, and believes labelling it as an official heritage bridge will speed its re-opening. 
Will Amos is aware of the bridge’s tourism importance and will work closely with Pontiac MNA André Fortin (Liberal) for its
re-opening.
Benjamin Woodman will ask Parks Canada to
designate the bridge as a national heritage monument which could secure funds for its reopening.
Colin Griffiths promised to support residents in local plans to reopen the
covered bridge.
Other candidates
Although the Bloc Quebecois – and other
parties – have not yet
chosen their candidates for the Pontiac, Pascal Médieu will represent the new “Forces et Democratie” party in the Pontiac.
Pascal Medieu –
Forces et Democratie
Mr Medieu, a former diplomat, worked for the Canadian International Development Agency, now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, in the international development field. He is a volunteer with the l’Association des résidents de l’île de Hull.  He did not attend this public meeting.
The new Forces et Democratie party wants to work with all parties and eliminate the excessive partisanship that undermines progress.  The party stresses the importance of regions, and wants more citizen participation in government decisions. Protecting the environment and global progress from excessive profiteering are primary goals.
Voting day is October 19th, and this 78-day
campaign is one of the longest and most costly in Canada’s history. Advance polls are October 9, 10, 11, and 12. The Journal will present in-depth interviews of the candidates beginning in the next issue.