Endorsement: Andrew Telegdi, Liberal Party of Canada

Peter Braid wants voters in Kitchener-Waterloo to stay the course – to vote for a “strong, stable Conservative majority.” A government that bailed on Parliament twice, that has refused to disclose information to Parliament, that has wilfully misled Parliament, that wants to throw Canadian’s money around on pet-projects for Conservative strongholds, does not get to turn around and ask for more power. Peter Braid and the Conservatives have not earned a majority.

On April 19, an audience member surprised the candidates at the Kitchener-Waterloo riding debate by asking them what they had disagreed with their party on. Andrew Telegdi – the Liberal Party of Canada’s candidate – unabashedly outlined his displeasure with the Liberal Party’s past support of some of the Conservatives’ law and order measures, noting that the party had eventually come around to his point of view. In his 15 years of service in Ottawa, Telegdi consistently offered an independent voice for this region to stand up for local students and local businesses.

Peter Braid, on the other hand, could not identify a single issue where he differed – even one bit – from his Conservative Party. Clearly, Braid tolls a good party line. Yet, his record stands in sharp contrast to his actions in Parliament. This riding does not need an apparent wannabe minister-in-waiting seeking the favour of Prime Minister Harper instead of the favour of the citizens of Kitchener-Waterloo.

Braid says he stands up for local business. However, in 2009, when the Harper government refused to review the sale of Nortel assets to a company in Sweden, Research in Motion (RIM) – one of the most important employers in this riding – was left in the dark when they most needed the support of Peter Braid and the government of Canada.

Read Peter Braid’s endorsement

Read Bill Brown’s endorsement

Read Julian Ichim’s endorsement

Read Cathy MacLellan’s endorsement

Read Steven Bradley Scott’s endorsement

Read Richard Walsh-Bowers’ endorsement

RIM and this region deserved a MP who would have stood up for us, not sit down on his backbench behind the shadow of Stephen Harper.

Telegdi would have stood up for this region and would not have sat idly by while a major blow was struck to a key component of the Waterloo economy. As Telegdi said “This is an important company in our riding” and “I couldn’t imagine me acting the same way if I was in Parliament.”

Braid says he envisions Kitchener-Waterloo as an “environmentally sustainable strong community.” Really? Braid voted against bill C-311 – the Climate Change Accountability Act – which set out targets for emissions reductions for 2050 and interim targets in between. This bill was based on the targets that were agreed upon by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (And we wonder why we lost the respect of the international community and our seat on the United Nations Security Council…)

When Telegdi was in office, he voted for the exact same bill that Braid voted against when it was introduced in the 39th Parliament. Climate change poses real challenges to the Canadian government and our role on the world stage. I want someone who actually believes in fighting for the environment; not just paying lip service to it.

Braid says he wants to stand against crime, but he voted with 90 per cent of his party to shut down bill C-389 which would have amended the Canadian Criminal Code to protect transgendered Canadians against hate crimes. I want someone who actually believes in human rights for all constituents and fighting hate even when it might be unpopular; not just fighting against the crimes that get you votes.

Andrew Telegdi was on the front-lines of human rights issues – most notably immigration issues – and its time he took back his place to fight for equality once again.

On May 2, Kitchener-Waterloo has a chance to undo the 17 vote upset that sent Peter Braid to Ottawa. We can send a true representative voice in Andrew Telegdi to the House of Commons to speak for the interests of this riding. It’s time to tell Peter Braid to pack his desk.

Joseph Mcninch-Pazzano is a student at Wilfrid Laurier University and the incoming Opinion Editor for The Cord

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