NDP’s Fife emerges from tough field


With the heavy implications surrounding the results of the K-W byelection, there was a fear that the campaign discourse would move away from the issues facing K-W and towards each party’s greater interests. And no matter what the candidates have said, that is exactly what has happened.

Despite the token mentions of improving Highway 7, the issues directly relevant to K-W have gotten lost amid sounds bites about “jobs and the economy,” “stability in our schools,” and claims that “our party is the only party with a plan to balance the budget.”

And so it is with these heavy implications that the voters must make their decision. Though some may not agree, when the residents of K-W go to the polls Sept. 6, they must consider the fact that they are not only choosing a representative for this riding, they are, potentially shifting the balance of power in Queen’s Park.

Voters must ask themselves, have the McGuinty Liberals earned a majority? The answer, in the eyes of this newspaper is, no.

The narrow eligibility of the 30 per cent tuition grant and further cuts, while at times justified, to post-secondary education, along with the numerous scandals, it seems that Ontario, at the moment at least, will work better with a minority government.

Furthermore, this is a government that has accumulated a $15-billion deficit while giving out $35.6 million in bonuses to civil service employees last year. It’s just a bit too uneasy of a situation right now, Dalton. Sorry.

While K-W was presented with four strong candidates, all with histories of community involvement, it has been Catherine Fife of the NDP that has stood out among them.

Serving as a Waterloo Waterloo Region District School Board Trustee and Chair, Fife has been elected by this community before and has proven that she has its best interests at heart.

This is not to discount the other candidates’ record of community involvement as Liberal Eric Davis has been heavily involved in organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, the United Way and the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, while PC Tracey Weiler has served organizations such as Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Committee, Engage (Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation) and Green Stacey Danckert has sat on the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Kitchener City Council.

In our eyes, throughout the debates and public appearances of the candidates Fife and Davis emerged as the strongest candidates, which is perhaps not surprising considering they are the only two with experience in provincial elections: Fife in 2007, Davis in 2011.

Davis, however, was bombarded with accusations of broken promises because he’s a Liberal. While Davis held his own and gave commendable answers, he felt like a broken record by mentioning Liberal successes or past PC failures. He didn’t appear to act proactively.

Fife on the other hand exuberated confidence, giving solid answer after answer. The Cord may not agree with everything she and her party stand for, but for this community alone, Fife seems like the ideal choice.

The NDP’s Job Creation Tax Credit that helps relieve some of the pressure on small business is something, if one day put into fruition, which will prove valuable for Waterloo,  especially considering the numerous small business and tech start-ups in this community.

Weiler, while an extremely experienced businesswoman, is unfortunately bogged down by PC jargon, something that is resonant of her leader, Tim Hudak.
Danckert gave a really bold idea to merge the two public school boards, and it’s the right thinking. But what Danckert may have in smarts, she lacks in public presence, seemingly shy in the face of the public.

Fife has the right balance. Strong, straight to the point, confident and doesn’t completely sound like a broken record. Unfortunately, this byelection was inevitably going to be dictated by the overall parties, and the majority question was definitely going to be the focus. Davis understands this community well, and if there weren’t so much attention on this riding and the potential majority, he would likely have gotten our vote.

But Fife has the right idea, the NDP have made a better and stronger impression in this community than ever before, and it might be just the right time for this riding to turn orange.

–The Cord Editorial Board

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