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“Romeo, the campaign manifesto you penned, ‘All Our Relations’ was and is an inspiration. Saddened that you have dropped from the race but I’m very proud to count you as a colleague in the NDP caucus. I know we will work together to make the NDP – and Canada – better, every day. Your journey is a long way from over.”

Bruce Hyer, MP Thunder Bay-Superior North

My number one concern has always been the riding of Brant.  It’s easy to see why.  We have so much going for us and yet we have major obstacles to still overcome.  While we can all appreciate what a wonderful place we live in we also know we must never stop improving.  That way lies stagnation.

There are many themes you hear regularly living in this community that folks feel need improvement.  The amount and quality of employment and prosperity is one theme.  The resolution of land rights and land claims is another and it ties into a larger theme of harmony and peace between the city, county and the reserve communities in our riding.  The rising cost of daily living and the effective use of public services including health care and education is another.  

These are just a sample amongst many of the challenges we face.  They are others of course and their importance depends on who you ask.  Every voter is unique and we all have different priorities but having knocked on more doors and been available at more community events than most it becomes apparent that these are the general themes we agree need creative solutions.

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These themes and their importance to the people in this riding are the reasons I supported Romeo Saganash’s vision for the country and had joined his team so that he could be the next leader of the Official Opposition.  His experience creating win-win-win scenarios for communities, the economy and the environment appealed to me greatly.  He has arguably been directly involved with the creation of more jobs in the private sector than any other NDP Leadership Candidate.

When it comes to resolution of land claims and land rights no one on that slate of candidates had a better perspective or was better able to address the issue than Romeo.  His experience as a negotiator between First Nation Communities and Non-Native communities including industry were incredible.  His platform on this went beyond resolution and instead pushed for reconciliation.  A definite path to healing, peace and prosperity in a riding like ours.

And when it comes to the other themes for improvement prevalent in our community Romeo Saganash had incredibly well-thought out and intelligent arguments to make to take us forward in a more progressive way.

The bad news?  This week Romeo Saganash dropped out of the NDP leadership race.

The good news?  He’s still with us and if I know Romeo he will be working as hard as ever on these priorities.

As a member of the NDP Official Opposition and in my opinion a future Cabinet Minister Romeo Saganash will have many opportunities to help shape our country in a positive way.  The work he has done, especially in reaching out to the 40% of Canadians who feel marginalized and disenfranchised was incredible.  An example of this can be seen during his trip to Brant.  In his day here he spoke to more than 800 people at 7 events and recruited more new members in a single day then we have seen since I have been involved with the Brant NDP.

Having spent time on the campaign trail with Romeo a variety of times throughout Ontario in places like Brantford, Six Nations, Caledonia, Cambridge, Waterloo, Sudbury Ottawa and Toronto I learned so much from this thoughtful, caring and funny man and his entire team.

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I’d like to thank Romeo for his friendship and mentorship. I look forward to working with him more in the coming years.  Thank you also for sharing your time and your story with us.  In a country that was inspired recently by the the idea that hope is better than fear you provide an amazing example of that kind of hope.  You make us believe that a boy who was born in a tent, who had been through all you had, could one day become the next Prime Minister of Canada.

What a beautiful vision of this country you have.  I know many who appreciate you giving so much of your time and energy to share that vision with us.   

Thank you.  Merci.  Mikwec.

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I implore all my readers to read Romeo’s non-typical political platform “All Our Relations: Thoughts on Canadian Leadership” and to follow his past and future columns on the Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/romeo-saganash

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