Yesterday we presented Part 1 of our Top Ten Stories From The Local Campaign for 2010. We were inspired to do so after receiving kudos from the Brant News for our strong campaign being named one of the Top Stories of 2010 in their year end wrap-up issue.
In the last column we covered the first part of the year in chronological order including our 1) Anti-HST Tour, 2) Our work in Ottawa for Brant Riding during prorogation, 3) Our comments on the last Federal Budget 4) The creation of our Young New Democrats Chapter in Brant Riding and 5) The creation of our Local Ideas Listening Tour.
Today we look at just some of the stories from the second half of 2010. A good year indeed for our campaign! We engaged more than any other party, we stood up for members of our community, we fought for the rights of working families, and we grew stronger each and every month.
So here it is Part 2 of the year that was:
6) Waiting On A Federal Election
Brant News Editor John Zronik gave a very honest and fair review of the federal scene in Brant looking at the three main candidates. His comments set the stage for what many think will be one of the closest and most exciting races to watch whenever the next election may be.
7) Showing Solidarity with ECP Workers
While many politicians showed up early in this strike they each walked away. Promises were broken and over 80 families have been left out in the cold by our elected representatives. I m proud to stand by these men and women who are an inspiration to workers across the country. New Democrats like our provincial leader Andrea Horwath, MPP s Paul Miller, France Gelinas, MP s Chris Charlton, John Rafferty, and many others, have gone on record to support our local workers while our own local MP has sadly distanced himself from this major issue for Brant riding.
8) Former Brant NDP MP Derek Blackburn joins the campaign with Laferriere & Layton
I was very surprised and delighted to get a phone call from beloved former Brant MP Derek Blackburn one day this past spring. This turned into regular phone calls and some face-to-face meetings with Derek and his beautiful wife Monique. An hour on the phone with Derek is like a week of campaign school. I learned a lot, and Derek was gracious enough to volunteer his time on the campaign. His biggest contribution had to be his appearance as the special guest of honour at our well attended Pay What You Can Picnic.
It was a great day. Derek received a very warm reception from hundreds of Brant residents as well as our Federal Leader Jack Layton and the local news media. Our riding also received an award as we were named the Most Improved Riding Association in the Country. Our community came together to celebrate.
9) Laferriere proposes a Job Commissioner and is one of only two politicians to meet with Store Image employees
Brantford keeps losing major manufacturers. This is by no means a happy story. Long-term and short term lay-offs have plagued the community, and in the last 3 years, we have lost more than our fair share of jobs. We continually sit below the national and regional unemployment rate average, and the quality of jobs that are coming into our area tend to be less than those jobs previously held. Across Canada we still have hundreds of thousands of people who have not been able to be a part of the recovery.
We need practical solutions that aren t based on ideology or on giving out favours to the friends of the Conservative Party. Instead we need to see action based on getting results for Brant Riding.
i) Our government officials need to openly meet with those who are suffering from the closures we have seen. They need to listen to that side of the story and they need to hear from those most affected. Those at StoreImage were not afforded this opportunity and they should be. This is especially true in a riding like ours where closures have been an epidemic. That the workers at StoreImage weren’t consulted by Federal or Provincial representatives of government is a shame. That nothing was made available to them when those Federal and Provincial representatives knew for weeks this closure was going to happen is nothing less than irresponsible.
ii) We need a leadership in areas like ours who understand that there are practical steps to create jobs that isn’t just corporate welfare. Areas hit as hard as ours need a practical step by step approach. An independent Jobs Commissioner is an important step, and could be a resource for the business community and all levels of government. This is someone who could provide independent research into areas that are especially hard hit like Brant and can act as a catalyst for real job creation.
Hear Jack Layton and I talk about Job Commissioners and more:
10) Brant NDP on A Roll Wins National Membership Drive
This was a story we did not think we would see especially with strong competition from ridings in Toronto, London and the Yukon. More members mean more canvassers, more skills training and more community engagement.
It also meant a little notoriety for the little riding association that could on a national level.
The best thing about this campaign has been the people we meet everyday. Please consider volunteering with the strongest and most innovative political team in the area. The desire for engagement on issues and the desire for change here is strong.
We end the year on an upward slope. We are currently in the last hours of an online fundraising drive where more non party members are donating than party members. This is a great sign of growth. We have to reach out to win for change in the future. If you would like to maximize your tax credits for the 2010 tax year please click here before midnight tonight.
Looking back it has been a great year but – with a growing team, more community engagement than ever, and many announcements on the way – the best is yet to come.
Thank you so much for the support in 2010.
In 2011 we will reach new heights, we will engage even more, and we will grow TOGETHER.
Happy New Year!