2014 has been an incredible and successful year for us in Brantford-Brant.
As the year ends and people wanting to support the local campaign consider making their year-end donations I like to use this time to highlight the sort of thing your generous donations go towards in our community.
With 2015 being an election year this is no doubt a time where your contributions (of which you can get up to 75% back in tax credits when you do your taxes) make a huge impact on helping us get out positive message out to the Brantford-Brant community and will help us run the best federal campaign we have ever seen locally. Last election we broke through and won polls across the riding including the County of Brant, Six Nations, New Credit and all regions of Brantford coming in a very strong second with over 16,000 votes – and we did it spending responsibly and using only one-third what the other traditional parties spent.
Since that time we have been working hard every week, every month and every year to bring the kind of representation our community deserves to Parliament Hill and to a local constituency office to address local concerns. We are ready to win in Brantford-Brant in 2015 and with your support as volunteers, as advocates and as contributors to the campaign we are going to make 2015 an election to remember.
Here are just some of the things we have focused on in the past year to help us on the journey to be ready to win. Part 2 will be tomorrow!
1. Innovative Local Events.
This year we brought back the 90 Cent Dinner in Brantford-Brant instead of the $90 and $150 fundraisers preferred by those we are running against. We screened the movie Jack at The Station Coffee House and Gallery to a truly packed house who ended the night sharing good memories. We held a town hall on the Senate which was packed despite a snowstorm and also broadcasted the entire event online as a Google Hangout where we also took questions from those watching at home and those who were able to attend at the Brantford Historical Society.
Not only were our events affordable but we also organized around issues of affordability in our community. We took part in a national day of action on issues of affordability such as the cost of home heating and commuting and putting an end to unfair ATM and “pay-to-pay” rip off schemes that gouge consumers. We were also proud to continue our advocacy work on lowering personal credit card interest rates and the merchant “swipe” fees that hurt small business and cause prices to rise as well as our efforts to push back against predatory payday loan and temp agencies.
3. Open, Accessible and Transparent Leadership
Neither Stephen Harper or Justin Trudeau made a stop in Brantford-Brant this year. The last time the Prime Minister visited was in April of 2013 where he came to town and refused to take even one question from the local press. Justin Trudeau last visited our riding in February of 2013 for a one hour whistle stop during his leadership campaign.
In comparison Tom Mulcair has been to Brantford-Brant not just more often than the other leaders over the last few years but in 2014 garnered a crowd of over 165 on a Tuesday night for an open and free town hall where he took dozens of questions from the local press, student press and the everyday citizens of our riding from across the political spectrum without any need to have questions approved by his office or any of that. It was a great night and really brought home the idea of open, accessible and transparent leadership to our community.
4. Local Health Care Advocacy
Canadians care about health care and the people who live in Brantford-Brant do too. It was an absolute pleasure to host a town hall on issues related to Dementia and the NDP’s work on a National Dementia Strategy – since that time the City of Brantford has made a notice of motion to support MP Claude Gravelle’s Bill. We were also able to meet with workers and clients of the John Noble Home and the Grand River Community Health Centre. Charlie Angus came to the Stedman Community Hospice as part of the work he is doing around a National Palliative Care Strategy as well. These are important issues locally and nationally and touch nearly every family in our community in some way.
5. Helping Youth Become Leaders
Our 4th Annual Free Brantford Youth Leadership Conference was our largest yet with over 150 youth attending. Over the last 4 years hundreds of local youth have benefitted from the mentoring, speakers, roundtables and activities that happen at this event. And as always we work hard to have speakers from across the political spectrum at this non-partisan event. This year we were happy to work with local MPP and Speaker of the House Dave Levac as we were able to offer up to $1000 dollars in seed money for a local youth-led idea to be initiated in the community. The winning idea was one to help kids have access to tutoring at community meal programs and the winning school was Assumption College School as voted on by the youth who attended. This is my favourite event every year and it is always being tweaked to make it more accessible and have greater impact on local youth.
Part 2 will be released tomorrow but if you want to support the work we do LOCALLY and get back up to 75% of your donation on your upcoming taxes click the link here: https://secure.ndp.ca/