By Jennifer Thurbide
NDP leadership hopeful Paul Dewar was in the Kenora riding last week meeting with members and talking about his agenda in advance of the party vote later this month. Accepting the endorsement of local NDP representative Tania Cameron on March 6th the Member of Parliament said his campaign across Canada has put him in touch with grassroots organizations.
“My message is as a party we need to work on the grassroots organizations so we can win the next 70 seats to win government in the next election and that means winning seats like Kenora,” Dewar told the Northern Sun News in a phone interview last week. “It is really important for me as a leadership candidate to get out there and meet people face to face and that is what this is all about.” The candidate said he spent his time in Northwestern Ontario meeting with local and regional supporters, like Cameron, discussing issues of the region which include jobs and education.
“I have [had the chance] to meet Canadians and members of the NDP from coast to coast and it has been really eye-opening,” relayed Dewar, “you realize how important it is to have a party in parliament that is standing up for everyday people because the robofraud scandal is one thing but you hear from people on the ground and they are concerned about their pensions, the jobs, education, the basic needs and people are feeling their basic needs aren’t being met. That really hits home when you are crossing the country.”
Tania Cameron was in Kenora with Dewar as he vied for the riding’s 9,000 NDP members. Cameron told local media “If we’ve got that many members in this riding alone, you’d think we’d have candidates coming through here left and right. That’s hardly so.” Cameron expressed her thanks to Dewar for meeting with the local party faithful.
Dewar is one of seven New Democratic Party members that are vying to replace former leader Jack Layton, who passed away in 2011. His opponents include frontrunners Nathan Cullen, Quebec MP Thomas Mulcair, Brian Topp, Peggy Nash, Martin Singh and Manitoba MP Nikki Ashton who is in her second term as a Member of Parliament for Churchill and at 29 years old is the youngest contender.
As of March 1st over 130,000 members will have the opportunity to vote by mail, electronically or attend the convention on March 24, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario says the party association. “This is very exciting time for our party,” said National Director Chantal Vallerand. “Having so many people engaged in this race and participating in this democratic process shows a bright future for the NDP.”
The winner of the March 24th vote will become the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons and be entitled to the same pay as a cabinet minister. They are also entitled to live at the official residence of Stornoway and will rank 14th in the Order of Precedence.