NDP

NDP hold community Christmas party, look forward to the new year

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

Children were the spotlight of a community Christmas party.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, MP and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak hosted a children’s community Christmas party on Saturday at the Knights of Columbus in Amherstburg.

With over 100 people in attendance, the three-hour event welcomed guests to face painting, balloon animals, pizza and even a meet and greet with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

According to Ramsey, the NDP office in Essex do a Christmas open house every year for adults only. After noticing, she decided to host an event in Amherstburg for the children.

“It was really just an opportunity for families to come together and have a fun event before the holidays,” said Ramsey. “It was nice to see the kids enjoying themselves. Any time we can give back to the communities we serve we are always thrilled to do that.”

Both Ramsey and Natyshak were in attendance and to answer any political questions by the guests on hand.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (centre), Essex MPP Taras Natyshak (not pictured) and their teams held a Christmas party at the Columbus Community Hall recently.

Ramsey listed off her goals for the upcoming year but said her biggest was to have the government help people who feel they’re in a vulnerable position.

“There are families and seniors across our county who are struggling and workers at Canada Post who are forced back to work,” said Ramsey.

According to Ramsey, the Trudeau liberal government is good at rewarding corporations and making sure big businesses get taken cared of. However, she would like to see the see the same for everyone in the Essex-County communities.

The local MP claims she is always looking for a way to improve peoples lives and listed other areas of focus for the new year.

“In our county, we are suffering under the opioid crisis,” said Ramsey. “I’d like to see the Federal government declare a national public health emergency to address the issues.”

Ramsey also said advocating for farm families, addressing affordable housing and removing the steel and aluminum tariffs is all part of her 2019 goals of looking for the federal government to find a solution to protect jobs in Southwestern Ontario.

 

 

 

 

 

Ramsey helps out food banks in riding, including Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission

 

 

By Christian Bouchard

 

The downtown Amherstburg Food and Fellowship mission is stocking up for the holiday seasons thanks to a donation from the local NDP Member of Parliament.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and her team collected canned good for 20 days to help keep the shelves of the local food banks full this holiday season. Ramsey asked for people to set up a box in their home and every day place one canned good or non-perishable item in the box. In the end, the boxes would be dropped off at her office and be picked up by one of the eight local missions in the riding of Essex. The cans were distributed evenly amongst all food banks in Essex County.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister stands with a van full of canned goods and other non-perishable items that were distributed by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey’s office.

“The generosity of people is incredible,” said Ramsey. “Unfortunately the need is growing across all five food banks in our municipalities. We know people are living with food insecurities. It really shows the vulnerability of rural communities.”

According to Tim McAllister, the president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, the cans will help with those going through difficult times and to stock up as the number of donations starts to fall off after Christmas.

“When I see these cans, I see joy,” said McAllister. “People are going through difficult times and these cans will come to help us help them. We’re thankful to be part of this great festive occasion.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey chats with Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister.

McAllister also noted the mission puts on a Christmas dinner every year. He estimates he cooked 100 pounds of turkey last year.

“We don’t want people to spend Christmas alone,” added McAllister. “Anyone is welcome to come in and enjoy the day at the mission.”

Although McAllister, along with four other food banks left with a van full of canned goods, he added there are always people in need and the mission is always accepting donations.

“People can come in anytime and drop off donations and we are always grateful for what we get,” said McAllister.

Federal Conservative candidate holds meet and greet with local supporters

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The federal Conservative candidate is a familiar face for those who followed the provincial election earlier this year but he took the opportunity to meet some of his supporters again recently.

Chris Lewis, who finished 2,711 votes behind NDP incumbent Taras Natyshak in June’s provincial election, has now secured the federal nomination in the Essex riding and will challenge another NDP incumbent – Tracey Ramsey – in next year’s national election. Lewis held a meet and greet at Sanson Estate Winery in McGregor where he met with supporters and sought donations for the upcoming election campaign.

“It’s going fantastic, full of energy,” Lewis said of his campaign thus far. “There are so many people saying now is the time for change.”

Essex Conservative candidate Chris Lewis met with local supporters recently at Sanson Estate Winery in McGregor.

Lewis said it is now “all about jobs,” particularly since General Motors will be pulling 2,500 jobs out of Oshawa. He stated diversification has to be looked at and Canada has to “open the market for new business.”

“Getting rid of the carbon tax is important to us,” he said.

Working together and building bridges is key to moving forward in the future, Lewis added.

Believing that the Conservatives are “worth another look,” Lewis said that local members of the party call former Essex MP Jeff Watson the “$2 billion dollar man” for investments he brought to this area.

“Unless you have a voice in government, you won’t really have a say,” he said, optimistic about Andrew Scheer’s chances of forming a government after the 2019 federal election.

The name recognition Lewis gained during the provincial campaign is something he believes gives him a head start in his federal campaign. He plans on knocking on as many doors as possible to promote Scheer’s vision, which is to put Canada “back on the map” globally.

Lewis added that while he wants to engage seniors and today’s adults, he also wants to engage youth.

“I’m doing this for our future,” he said.

Telling supporters he is “so proud of our team,” Lewis added “I wouldn’t want to be the NDP, I wouldn’t want to be Tracey,” though added he doesn’t plan to run a smear campaign.

“It’s not the way God made us,” he explained.

Calling Scheer “a very fantastic man” and a “dynamite leader,” Lewis said he was proud to carry the banner for him in Essex.

“We can win this,” he told his supporters. “We can make Essex blue again. We can make the Watson family proud again.”

 

Natyshak re-elected in Essex riding

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Taras Natyshak is heading back to the Legislature and this time, he’ll have to deal with a Progressive Conservative government.

The NDP incumbent retained his seat in Thursday’s provincial election, winning the Essex riding for the third time after also winning in 2011 and 2014. Natyshak’s closest challenger was Chris Lewis, with the PC candidate finishing 3,323 votes behind Natyshak.

NDP candidate Taras Natyshak will return as Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Essex after defeating three challengers June 7. He raises the arms of his wife Jennifer and his son Drake after entering Royal Canadian Legion Br. 399 in Belle River Thursday night.

Unofficial results show the NDP candidate had 26,054 votes (48.53 per cent of the vote) with Lewis having 22,731 votes (42.34 per cent). Liberal candidate Kate Festeryga captured 3,053 votes (5.69 per cent) and Green Party candidate Nancy Pancheshan had 1,853 votes (3.45 per cent).

Natyshak thanked his campaign team, his supporters and said he comes from a long line of “great MPP’s” the area, has had, listing the “ultimate gentleman” Bruce Crozier and his mentor Pat Hayes among them.

“It will be an honour to serve this region again in the provincial legislature,” said Natyshak.

The election of a Progressive Conservative majority government, under Premier-designate Doug Ford, was not the expected result, Natyshak admitted.

Taras Natyshak smiles as he delivers his victory speech Thursday night, June 7. Natyshak and his local NDP colleagues Lisa Gretzky and Percy Hatfield were re-elected but so was a Progressive Conservative majority province-wide.

“The results are a little disappointing,” he said, during his victory party at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 399 in Belle River. “We will hold this government accountable every day.”

Natyshak added that “we had hoped for better results” and acknowledged the Greater Toronto Area is the “key for electoral success.” He said the hope was the Liberals who were “abandoned” after outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne would support the New Democrats.

The NDP will be “strong opposition” in the Legislature, Natyshak pledged, as they will have a larger caucus and a “larger voice.”

“We don’t know where the province is going to go,” he said, stating there were only “vague details” in the PC platform. “It is going to be a new reality that we’re going to have to come to terms with, but New Democrats are prepared for it. I’m prepared for it.”

Key issues in the riding include continuing the expansion of Highway 3 and the new mega-hospital. Natyshak said promises were made during the campaign and he will continue to press for both items.

“We’re going to hold them to both commitments,” said Natyshak. “They have to happen immediately. There is no time for debate. If we don’t see them act with the urgency that we deserve, then we’ll see if their word is worth anything.”

NDP candidate Taras Natyshak cuts the cake after his victory in the Essex riding in the June 7 provincial election. It will be his third term as Essex MPP, as he also won in 2011 and 2014.

Natyshak, who was the labour critic in the last government, said his role will be whatever his constituents believe his role should be. He said he knew it would be a tight race and that his campaign team spread out their resources across the Essex riding. He also praised Lewis, Festeryga, Pancheshan and their teams for their efforts throughout the provincial election campaign.

Voter turnout in the riding of Essex was just shy of 58 per cent.

NDP incumbents Percy Hatfield and Lisa Gretzky won their respective ridings – Windsor-Tecumseh and Windsor West – while PC candidate Rick Nicholls won re-election in Chatham-Kent-Leamington.

Provincial candidates face off in debate

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Candidates in the riding of Essex faced off as part of a series of debates presented by the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Windsor and District Labour Council.

NDP incumbent Taras Natyshak faced challengers that included PC candidate Chris Lewis, Green Party candidate Nancy Pancheshan and Liberal candidate Kate Festeryga.

Natyshak said “we are on the cusp of change in Ontario” and that “New Democrats believe we don’t have to choose between bad and worse.” He said the NDP has a fully costed plan if elected.

Lewis said that “to say I’m grassroots is an understatement” and that he is “results and action driven.”

“I know what it takes to get the job done,” he said.

Liberal candidate Kate Festeryga

Festeryga acknowledged that the “Liberals aren’t the most popular party in the room right now” but said Liberal policies have led to big gains in the Windsor-Essex region including the unemployment rate dropping below the national average, reductions in small business tax rates and cutting regulations to businesses.

“We could go on forever on what we’re doing for the economy,” she said.

As it relates to agriculture, Lewis said it was an issue “near and dear to me,” adding the PC’s will be the only party to cut the carbon tax. He said he doesn’t claim to have all the answers but he and the PC Party will surround themselves with the right people and “we’ll get the job done.”

Festeryga said she comes from a third generation family farm and criticized PC leader Doug Ford for comments about paving over the green belt as “it’s just farmer’s fields.” She said Liberals have helped cut hydro rates for 500,000 small businesses and farms.

PC candidate Chris Lewis

Pancheshan said the Greens support small businesses and farms and support the promotion of craft breweries and wineries.

Natyshak said “my PC colleague says he doesn’t have the answers because he has no plan whatsoever.” He said the NDP will invest in broadband internet because farms are “high tech” operations. The NDP will also end the rural delivery charges and also will end time-of-use billing, noting it is “ruining” some farm operations. He said while Premier Kathleen Wynne has called the NDP position on energy “a dream,” the Liberal plan is “a nightmare.”

Natyshak added the NDP will buy back Hydro One shares as the party believes hydro should always be in public hands. He accused the PC’s of actually wanting to adopt some of Wynne’s plans regarding energy.

NDP candidate Taras Natyshak (incumbent)

Festeryga said Natyshak voted against the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan and said the NDP plan will not result in any billing decreases as rates are set by the Ontario Energy Board. Lewis said the Green Energy Act is having an adverse effect and is driving business away while Pancheshan said the Greens support not continuing to subsidize big business. The Green platform calls for a long-term energy plan that would see Ontario powered with 100 per cent renewable energy.

Pancheshan said the Greens support the idea of one school board with savings from administration costs passed down to the “front lines” such as students in classrooms. They will also eliminate EQAO testing, something Natyshak said the NDP will do as well.

There is also a failed funding formula in education, Natyshak added, something that has been passed down from as far back as the Mike Harris PC government.

Green Party candidate Nancy Pancheshan

On the health care front, Natyshak said the health system is “chronically underfunded.” Lewis indicated the party will end “hallway healthcare” and that the PC’s will “take care of front line workers” and assist mental health initiatives.

Festeryga indicated there were hospital closures and cuts under both NDP and PC governments while Pancheshan said the Greens want to prioritize front line investment.

The provincial election is June 7.