5 Questions With… MP. Gary Vidal.

5 Questions With… MP. Gary Vidal.

1.Who were your political role model(s) growing up?

George McLeod was my junior high vice-principal who when I was in Grade 8 was elected as my local member in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. Stockwell Day was the leader of the Canadian Alliance when I first got involved in federal politics and was instrumental in my decision to seek the CPC nomination in 2018. Brad Wall was the Premier of Saskatchewan for 10 years and led our province in a remarkable transformation of our politics.

2.When did you become active in Conservative politics and why?

I first became involved in federal politics in the runup to the 2000 federal election. I volunteered for a nomination contestant in my local riding. For many years after that I was actually much more involved in provincial politics in Saskatchewan. After the 2015 federal election I became very frustrated with the direction our country was taking under the Liberal government. In the fall of 2018 I felt compelled to seek the Conservative Party nomination in order to become part of the solution to many of the problems I observed. I determined that if I could play even a small part in improving the lives of the people of northern Saskatchewan, I needed to do that.

3.What is the most important/useful book(s) a young Conservative should read and why?

Prime Minister Harper’s Right Here Right Now.

4.What do you see as the most important current and future issues for young Canadians?

The Liberals like to use the term investing in Canadians to justify their huge deficits. I think young Canadians should be very concerned that this is nothing other than debt and today’s debt will fall on our children and grandchildren to repay. I think young Canadians should be worried about balanced budgets and reducing debt. We must ensure we operate in a competitive environment that attracts investment, creates good jobs, and creates prosperity so we can support good social programs for those who really need our help. I also believe restoring credibility and integrity to government in Ottawa is something we all should be very concerned about.

5.What is the best way for a young person to get involved in the Conservative Party?

I think the best way to get involved is to volunteer for your local Conservative MP or candidate. Last fall I had a number of young people who were key members of my campaign team and it was very enjoyable to see them become engaged and grow through the process.

It’s Time To Stop Allowing Others To Define Conservatives: Focusing on Young Canadians and Rebranding the Party.

It has become glaringly obvious from the last elections data that the Conservative Party of Canada has a disconnect within the Canadian electorate, and, if this is not corrected will continue to exist relegating the party to a continual official opposition status at the very best. The party can no longer rely on the apathy of a certain voter group in order to win elections and needs to begin to actively participate in crafting policies that will allow for these certain demographics to not just vote for the party as a protest vote. Our party beat the LPC in every age demographic except one the 18-30 voters (the CPC took 23% compared with the NDP at 26% and the LPC at 34%). It is no coincidence that this demographic would be made up of mainly Urban/suburban voters. I posit that if we can create policy and do a better job of getting our message out ourselves we can close this gap and in time even be competing to win it. If we can show that our social views and the environment are much more in line with young Canadians than they realize, whilst our policy on the economy and security and provincial relations (which I would argue is in line with most Canadians) is something they would vote for I feel that we can turn this current negative into a positive. It is time to dispel the myth that the LPC and NDP have a monopoly on young voters and make this competitive again.

Young voters and urban ridings have become the Conservative Parties kryptonite. We seem to have great difficulty in connecting with these two groups and within these larger groups female voters under the age of 30 and we need to ask ourselves what has to be done in order to gain a foothold in these groups. I would posit that the first thing that needs to happen is that the party needs to begin to put forth a more modern image that allows us to define our party rather than letting the Liberals and the NDP do this for us. We need to begin to display that we not only understand youth culture that young voters consume but, also embrace it.

The CPC has, in my opinion, done a poor job across the entire board with regards to its utilization of social media and if one wants proof they need to look no further than the home page of the party. If a voter under the age of 35 were to go to the home pages of all of the official parties it is quite obvious that the image that was put forward is one of simplicity and staleness. We do not utilize social media tools nor the ability to make our website more millennial savvy. We need to be utilizing social media and have our MPS (and especially our young MPs) constantly creating content (mainly video and podcast but anything will due at the moment). This is going to be a major way in which we can begin to craft our party’s image. Talking about things that the party stands for is an absolute must and needs to be done in a manner that will be consumed by young voters. A middle-age MP on a political talk show saying “Conservatives are for marriage equality…” or “Conservatives will never allow abortion rights to be re-litigated and potentially changed” is not the same as a group of our MPs holding a web-in discussion that deftly crafts our position and allows for millennials to interact and see where we truly stand. We need to constantly have content coming out in all formats.

Next, we need to display to voters what we actually believe when it comes to social issues and the environment (this involves crafting policy on the environment that a good majority of Canadians can if not fully embrace allow us to not come off as ignorant, and or, enemies of the environment).  The CPC believes in marriage equality and has for a while now, but, if you followed the last election closely you would notice that we allowed our self to be defined by other parties which persuaded voters (and especially young voters) that a shadow of doubt exists in our party’s beliefs. This is poison for a political party. During a campaign confusion and doubt are the mother’s milk for our opponents and if they can create enough of this we immediately being the campaign on the defensive rather than putting forth a vision that all Canadians can embrace. We also need to put forwards a unified and concrete stance on abortion rights and the environment that can be campaigned on well before the next election so that this is not a quill that the Trudeau campaign can continually run too whenever he gets into trouble.

Lastly, our party needs to be unified in our vision for Canada. I know that not all CPC members are going to share my vision for LGBTQ2 and abortion rights, however, if we agree on 90% of our platform are we not better off as a united big tent party rather than many factions continually splitting votes. Elections are hard enough to win as it is and we cannot go into the next election with anything other than a strong united party. I realize that leadership races are inevitably messy, but, this one is especially so. The candidates have seemingly split themselves into the exact wedge that has existed in our party since its inception and the next leader will need to begin immediately bringing the more social wing of the party together with the more centrist conservatives in order to come close to standing a chance of not only being seen as a legitimate leader of our party but also as a natural successor to Justin Trudeau.  Unity behind whoever wins is an absolute must.

As Conservatives, we are definitely not opposed to looking back in our party history in order to learn lessons for our party’s future and this ideology applies no more so than with our current leader and his role going forwards.  During the Harper leadership bid up until 2017, we had a philosophy as a party of creating a constant environment of campaigning and turning our leader into a metonym of the party and I think it’s time to return to this practice. We need a feeling of immediacy that we seem to have lost, and there is no better time to do this than with a new leader at the front of every event and message allowing us to regain control over our political philosophy. If we can return to a constant campaign mentality hyper-focused on these voters and these issues we can not only chip away at the Liberal majority, we can take back the house.

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5 Questions With… MP. Eric Duncan

1)Who were your political role model(s) growing up?duncan

 I would have to say a key role model for me growing up as my predecessor as Member of Parliament in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Guy Lauzon. I was lucky to work both on the Hill and in the constituency for nine years (2007-2016). It was a great experience and was the perfect hands-on training.

Guy’s work ethic has second to none. Most of our riding had been Liberal-held federally and provincially for decades. He changed that and absolutely set the bar for community presence, customer service, and outreach efforts. I’ve learned so much from him, and I don’t believe I would be serving as MP today if it weren’t for his 15 years of leadership.


2) When did you become active in politics and why?

 I got into politics because I was invited to get involved. It was as simple as that. My family and I have always been active in the community and my parents have been Conservative supporters. They would take lawns and make donations come election time.

A good family friend of mine knew that I was interested in politics as a teenager and invited me to a local provincial Progressive Conservative Board meeting back in 2003. I met a woman named Judy Bobka, an icon in Eastern Ontario Conservative politics. She mentored many young Conservatives in our area, and she never let me get away after that first meeting.

I joined the Board, volunteered during campaigns, and the next thing I knew it, I was serving as Campaign Managers in our federal and provincial races. It was a fantastic experience to get the ‘behind the scenes’ of politics and campaigning.
3)What is the most important/useful book(s) a young Conservative should read and why?

 One of my favourite books is Steve Paikin’s biography Bill Davis: Nation Builder, and Not So Bland After All. I have always admired Bill Davis’ personality and leadership style. He was a fantastic Premier and his style and legacy is

I highly recommend reading biographies of political leaders from all stripes. Myself, I’ve read biographies of every Prime Minister back to Lester B. Pearson, every President dating back to JFK, and numerous Cabinet Ministers, Premiers, Mayors, and other political leaders.

History repeats itself, so I have learned a lot from their successes, their admitted failures, and their effective styles of communication and leadership skills.

4)What do you see as the most important current and future issues for young Canadians?

 Two things come to mind: our debt and government’s ability to react timely to change. The debt part is obvious and is a fundamental concern for any young conservative. The more we borrow, the tougher it makes it for our futures and sustainability.

The second issue is a very technocratic one: I am seeing a growing problem in government’s ability to adapt to change. Whether it be technology, economic trends, building public transit in cities, or just finding more effective ways for government to operate, we are nowhere near the quality and level we should be at.

As a former Mayor, I have seen it first hand at the municipal level how government can be improved, done better and more cost-effectively. In my limited time in Ottawa as a MP, I see it tenfold.

Young people can see trends develop easily, and are willingness to try new things and adapt. It should frustrate them that their tax dollars and government services are not keeping up with their expectations.

5)What is the best way for a young person to get involved in politics and the Conservative party?

Join the Party. Volunteer on your local EDA Board. Take the free training offered by the Party. Don’t be afraid to get involved. There are many ways to get involved at a local level.

When considering post-secondary options, I’d suggest picking Ottawa or a provincial capital. Volunteer for a MP/MPP/MLA and learn from the inside and gain experience. It can turn into part-time work and eventually full-time.

I also recommend applying for the Conservative internship program. I have seen many future MPs, staffers, and key leaders come from that program. You will open many doors in politics that will help get you involved and be able to make a difference.

5 Questions With… MP. Philip Lawrence.

1)Who was your political role model(s) growing up? lawre

Stephen Harper, Ronald Reagan, Preston Manning

2)When did you become active in politics and why?

When I was around 14 or 15. I was inspired by a belief that individuals, not Government were the driver of Canada’s greatness.

3)What is the most important/useful book(s) a young Conservative should read and why?

Anything by noted economist Thomas Sowell. Also, I recommend some classics like “common sense” by Thomas Paine, John Locke or the “Republic” by Plato

4)What do you see as the most important current and future issues for young Canadians?

We need to improve the productivity of our economy by reducing the burden on our job and wealth creators.

5)What is the best way for a young person to get involved in politics and the Conservative party?

5 Questions With… MP. Steven Blaney

  1. Quels étaient vos modèles politiques grandissant?blaney

J’ai toujours admiré Daniel Johnson qui a été premier ministre du Québec dans une période tumultueuse, ayant su se réinventer et affirmer l’identité québécoise tout en contribuant à bâtir un état moderne.

 

1)Who were your political role model(s) growing up?

I have always admired Daniel Johnson, who was Premier of Quebec in a tumultuous period, having known how to reinvent himself and assert Quebec identity while helping to build a modern state.

  1. Quand êtes-vous devenu actif en politique et pourquoi?

Je me suis d’abord impliqué en politique provinciale pour promouvoir l’équité intergénérationnelle (…)

 

2.When did you become active in Conservative politics and why?

I first got involved in provincial politics to promote intergenerational equity.

  1. Quel est le livre le plus important qu’un jeune conservateur devrait lire et pourquoi?

Je recommande le livre “Fights of Our Lives: Elections, Leadership and the Making of Canada” écrit par John Duffy qui explique les enjeux et les stratégies des acteurs politiques de toutes les grandes campagnes électorales canadiennes.

 

3.What is the most important/useful book(s) a young Conservative should read and why?

I recommend the book “Fights of Our Lives: Elections, Leadership and the Making of Canada” written by John Duffy which explains the issues and strategies of political actors in all major Canadian electoral campaigns.

  1. Selon vous, quels sont les problèmes actuels et futurs les plus importants pour les jeunes Canadiens?

De nombreuses opportunités se présentent  pour les jeunes Canadiens, améliorer leur qualité de vie tout en affrontant les changements démographiques, climatiques et sociaux sera leur plus grand défi.

 

4.What do you see as the most important current and future issues for young Canadians?

There are many opportunities for young Canadians, improving their quality of life while facing demographic, climatic and social changes will be their greatest challenge.

  1. Quel est le meilleur moyen pour un jeune de s’impliquer en politique?

Le meilleur moyen de s’engager en politique est de militer avec un leader ayant une vision claire ou au sein d’une formation politique qui nous inspire et nous motive.

 

5.What is the best way for a young person to get involved in the Conservative Party?

The best way to get involved in politics is to engage with a leader with a clear vision or within a political party that inspires and motivates us.

 

# Translation provided by google translate.

5 Questions With… MP. Damien C. Kurek

1. Who were your political role model(s) growing up?damien

Great question. I would count a few people as political role models but also have role models like my father and two late grandfathers who have demonstrated character and how to serve my community well. In terms of political mentors, Kevin Sorenson was my MP growing up and encouraged me to get involved at a young age and provided tremendous opportunities to be able to get involved in the Conservative movement and allowed me to help serve the people of Battle River-Crowfoot. Brad Wall, who I had the honour to work with and see how he was able to inspire a province that had been held back by left-leaning ideologies.

2. When did you become active in Conservative politics and why?

I have been passionate about politics for as long as I can remember. I first got involved in 2006 at age 15 after having the opportunity to meet then PM Stephen Harper. It was early 2007 that I was first elected to a local Conservative EDA and have been involved, volunteered, studied, and worked in politics since. When Kevin Sorenson announced he was going to be retiring, many people reached out and encouraged me to run to succeed him. When my wife and I decided that I would put my name forward we got to work, assembled a team, and worked hard to connect with the people of Battle River-Crowfoot. It is an honour to now have the opportunity to serve those people in Parliament with a strong mandate.

3. What is the most important/useful book(s) a young Conservative should read and why?

I love reading biographies to understand the lives, decisions, and legacy of those in the past. One of my favourites is the Last Lion trilogy by William Manchester. I would also suggest that people take advantage of audiobooks so that even in the midst of busy lives, you can still get through books.

4. What do you see as the most important current and future issues for young Canadians?

The young people I speak to want to see leadership that empowers them. They have seen left-wing movements leech the hope of their future, diminish freedom, and tell them their voice is not relevant unless they subscribe to a narrow understanding of the world. Many young people want to make a difference, and Conservatives have, do, and should ensure they do just that.

5. What is the best way for a young person to get involved in the Conservative Party?

Get involved, decisions are made by those who show up and young people have a lot to offer the Conservative movement. Show up at a local EDA meeting, call and book a meeting with your MP, and volunteer during an election. Plus, make sure you spend time caring about your community, that is the basis of political involvement.

5 Questions With… MP. Eric Melillo

1) Who were your political role model(s) growing up? eric meillo

My political role model and mentor has been current Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford. In his previous capacity as the MP for Kenora, Mr. Rickford was instrumental in sparking my interest in politics at a young age – by placing trust in me to take on important roles within his campaign and the local riding association. He continues to be a great friend and I’m excited to work with him now that we are political counterparts.

 

2) When did you become active in Conservative politics and why? 

I first became formally active in Conservative politics during the 2015 federal election campaign. I did so because I believe future generations need a government that will take a responsible spending approach to protect critical services and provide more opportunities for all.

3) What is the most important/useful book(s) a young Conservative should read and why?

Perhaps an obvious choice – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Right Here Right Now is a must-read for young Conservatives. This book provides incredibly important analysis into global political trends, the impact on everyday people, and how Conservatives can respond.

4) What do you see as the most important current and future issues for young Canadians?

I believe one of the largest issues facing young Canadians is the increasing amount of government debt that is threatening the sustainability of our social systems. It is so important that we elect governments that will be fiscally responsible as a means to creating a brighter future for the next generation.

5)What is the best way for a young person to get involved in the Conservative Party?

There is no better way to get involved than to take out a membership and/or volunteer with the party. This is a great way to make your voice heard, build your network, gain experience, and help elect Conservatives across the country.

5 Questions With… MP(elect) Michael Kram

1.) Who were your political role model(s) growing up?kram

Sir John A MacDonald.

2.) When did you become active in politics and why?

I first became active in Conservative politics in late 2003. At that time I had finished my first university degree and was working full-time, and that was also when the old Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties were merging into one. There was also a federal election campaign on the horizon. So all of these circumstances aligned at the right time for me to get involved.

3.) What is the most important/useful book(s) a young Conservative should read and why?

I would recommend The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Politics is all about working well with others, even with those with whom you disagree. This book is a good guide to help you do exactly that.

4.) What do you see as the most important current and future issues for young Canadians?

I don’t like to distinguish between issues that face young Canadians and issues that face everyone else. I find that most issues tend to affect everyone in one way or another. When it comes to my riding of Regina-Wascana, I would have to say the recent slow-down in the resource sector has to be the biggest issue, and so getting pipelines built and getting the resource sector moving in the right direction is a priority for me.

5.) What is the best way for a young person to get involved in Politics and the Conservative party?

The best way for anyone to get involved is to become a member of the party and find out what is going on with the local riding association. So show up to the local annual general meeting. If there are vacancies on the board of directors, then let your name stand to be a director. If they are planning a fundraising event, volunteer to be on the committee. If they are not planning a fundraising event, then volunteer to chair the committee yourself. The biggest problem I find is that people think there is nothing to do between elections, but if you are always organizing fundraising and other activities then when it’s time for an election campaign much of the groundwork is already done.

Getting to Know… Ghada Melek

Why did you decide to run for the Conservative nomination in your riding?melek

Maybe the first question should be about the most important issue in the upcoming election because this is exactly why I decided to run.

I have lived in Mississauga Streetsville, a community that is rich with history, culture, and diversity, for the past 15 years.

Whether people grew up here or immigrated from different parts of the world, most share the same goals and dreams. They want to be able to afford to buy a home, caring for their children and aging parents, and saving for retirement. Many are entrepreneurs who want to work hard but expect to enjoy the fruit of their labour. However, under the failing economic policies of the Liberal government, and in just four years, these dreams became out of reach for many. Many Canadian families are struggling to make ends meet, and the spirit of entrepreneurship is being extinguished.

 

What do you feel is the most important issue in the upcoming election?

I decided to run in this election because I want to bring prosperity back to Canada and my community of Mississauga-Streetsville. I want life to become once again more affordable, and under a Conservative government, to put money back in Canadians’ pockets.

 

What is the best way for a person to get involved in your campaign?

Today we are only a few days away from the most critical election in Canadian history, and our campaign is working hard to secure victory. There are never enough volunteers in a campaign, so we welcome more help.

You can support my campaign by liking and sharing my news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as by volunteering with us through the campaign office