Oct. 19

Alderson to carry the banner for Green Party in Essex



Jennifer Alderson is the Green Party's candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.

Jennifer Alderson is the Green Party’s candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.

By Ron Giofu


The Green Party has its candidate for the Essex riding for the Oct. 19 federal election.

Jennifer Alderson will run for the Greens and believes she offers an alternative to the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats. She said the Green Party has always made protection of the environment, “true democracy,” and the prosperity of Canadians its top priorities.

“Now, more than ever, we need a government that will work to restore and protect the quality of our land, air and water, all while creating sustainable jobs,” said Alderson. “I care deeply about Essex County and will work tirelessly to ensure the voices of my constituents are heard. I have always voted Green and I believe those of the Essex riding deserve an alternative to the three major parties.”

Describing herself as “a dedicated and hardworking wife, mother, post office employee and volunteer,” Alderson said she established the Belle River Farmers’ Market in 2014 as a venue for local food and wine.

“Throughout the summer and fall, my husband and I spend our Sundays managing the market as volunteers,” she said. “I also enjoy working to better the community and plan local events as a member of Town of Lakeshore committees. As an advocate for the community, I understand firsthand the issues and struggles of middle class families and will stand up for them as MP.”

The Green Party candidate said leader Elizabeth May just announced, if elected, the Greens will offer paid tuition for Canadians. Alderson stated this would allow “so many deserving individuals” to pursue post-secondary education.

“Like many Canadians, I am still paying for my student loans, so I would certainly love to see young people start out their adult lives without the burden of unnecessary debt,” she said.

Eliminating poverty and homelessness by developing affordable and efficient housing and enacting a guaranteed livable income are also important to the Green Party, she added.
“Offering Canadians comprehensive national medical coverage is another key plank of the Greens,” said Alderson. “Allowing Canadians access to treatment and medication is vital for our nation’s health.”

Alderson pledged that, if elected, she would work with the Green Party to create more clean and sustainable jobs for the area and focus on employment in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, health care, carbon neutral manufacturing, clean transportation and tourism.

“Preservation of our unique regional ecosystem will be the driving force behind all decisions made as a representative for the area,” she said. “I offer the people of Essex my commitment, determination, integrity and loyalty.”

Working with the other parties is another key for the Greens, said Alderson.

“The Green Party vows to collaborate with the other parties to work for Canadians without the power struggle that currently plagues parliament,” said Alderson. “The Green Party is the only party with a policy of no whipped votes. Allowing MPs to vote for their constituents means as a Green MP, I would be able to ensure the interests of Essex residents are met, first and foremost. Without campaign funding and the media attention enjoyed by the major parties, I know I will have to work even harder to spread the Green message, a challenge I welcome.”

Alderson stated that “building the weak and unstable economy of the area is undoubtedly the biggest issue facing Essex County.

“The Green Party will work to support local farmers, assist small businesses, boost tourism, and bring in clean and sustainable industries to the region. Air and water quality are also key issues the Green Party will address on a regional and national level.”

According to Alderson, corporations “must be held financially accountable for polluting our Great Lakes and the air we breathe.” Companies that respect the environment “must be supported and encouraged,” she added.

“We cannot deny that ecology and the economy are interconnected in our modern world,” said Alderson.

The Green Party candidate said many voters agree it is time for a completely new approach to Canadian government and believes her party offers a platform that stands out from the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP “with its innovative, yet common sense approach.” The response thus far has been positive from voters with Alderson stating she hopes to reach out to as many residents as possible prior to election day.

Other candidates in Essex include Conservative incumbent Jeff Watson, Liberal Audrey Festeryga, Tracey Ramsey of the NDP and Enver Villamizar of the Marxist-Leninist Party.

Federal Essex candidates continue on the campaign trail

By Ron Giofu


Candidates in the Essex riding continue on the campaign trail with one of them coming to Co-An Park in McGregor.

Liberal candidate Audrey Festeryga was on hand with several of her supporters recently distributing frozen yogurt from Nuccelli’s to voters as well as talking issues. Festeryga said she is hearing a lot of good response on Liberal policy proposals, including recently announced proposals such as flexible parental EI insurance, Canada child benefit and the flexible working arrangements in federal jurisdictions.

Liberal candidate Audrey Festeryga distributes frozen yogurt to Mark and Katelyn Bovenkamp during a recent campaign stop at Co-An Park in McGregor.

Liberal candidate Audrey Festeryga distributes frozen yogurt to Mark and Katelyn Bovenkamp during a recent campaign stop at Co-An Park in McGregor.

As part of their platform, the Liberals have also been touting increasing infrastructure funding by $60 billion over ten years. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has also vowed to repeal Bill C-24 and cut the middle class tax rate.

“We are knocking on doors and people are very receptive,” said Festeryga. “We’re getting a lot of people asking for signs.”

Festeryga pledged to fight for the people of Essex, if elected Oct. 19, and used a theme that is becoming common in this campaign about what people are wanting.

“I am hearing it’s definitely time for change,” she said.

Noting her background as a lawyer, the Liberal candidate added she has experience in both negotiations of multi-million dollar deals as well as labour relations thus is qualified for the job as Member of Parliament and wouldn’t have to learn on the fly.

“I can hit the ground running,” she said. “People understand that when I get to their door.”

Festeryga added voters are seeing that she is willing to work hard as she is campaigning daily in the riding. She has also been holding meet-and-greets around the area and has appeared at several festivals in the region.

“The voters are seeing I’m working hard and I’m working hard for them,” she said, adding she is hopeful Trudeau will visit Essex at some point this election campaign.

NDP candidate Tracey Ramsey reported that her campaign is “going very strong” and that she believes people are willing to shift the way they vote and go with Tom Mulcair and the NDP.

“The momentum is building and building. It’s getting stronger as we go along, which is so positive,” said Ramsey. “I think there is a deep desire for change. People are excited about going in a different direction and that means the NDP in Essex.”

Jobs continue to be an issue, she added, stating the NDP has a “clear” plan to create jobs by cutting taxes for small and medium-sized businesses. She said she has been hearing people are opposed to a $36 billion cut in health care transfer payments to provinces, something she said the Conservatives favour. The ongoing Mike Duffy trial has also having an impact locally, added Ramsey.

“It’s tough to escape from and people are tired of corruption in the government,” she said.

Treatment of veterans is another issue Ramsey said she is hearing as she accused incumbent MP Jeff Watson of having a “lack of commitment” and an inability “to stand up and fight for the people who fought for our country.” The NDP would reopen veterans affairs offices in Canada, she added.

People are coming to her campaign office and asking how they can help, Ramsey continued, and that there is an excitement in the riding for her campaign.

“More and more Canadians are putting their trust in Tom Mulcair and in Essex, we want to bring that change to Ottawa,” said Ramsey. “It’s very exciting for the NDP in Essex.”

Ramsey has been campaigning with Essex MPP Taras Natyshak and Ramsey said the provincial member is “doing a fantastic job standing up for the people in Essex” and that is being seen at the door.

“The difference is the NDP cares about the people in Essex and is helping them,” she said.

Watson, the Conservative candidate who has served the last 11 years as Essex MP, said his campaign is going well.

“The longer campaign is giving us far more opportunity to engage people at the door. More conversations are a good thing,” said Watson.

The longer campaign allows voters to become better informed, he believed, and allows candidates a chance to be more accountable. He speaks to voters about his record, he said, with the record including delivering billions to the area including “tens of millions” in Amherstburg for such projects as the wastewater treatment plant, the Libro Centre, and road rehabilitations.

The campaign is also about which leader has the experience to keep the country safe and the economy growing.

“The NDP and Liberals promise risk, not change.”

Watson said the Liberals and NDP both feel Canada has “no role to play” in combating ISIS and would bring in higher taxes that could potentially drive out jobs.

Canada has a balanced budget, said Watson, adding “there is no other major economy in the world that can boast that.”

The Conservatives have a “low tax approach,” and has an “enviable” record of job creation. Canada has created 1.3 million new jobs since the last recession, he said. Farmers have experienced the best years of revenue the last two years, low income seniors have been assisted. On the environment, local accomplishments include establishing a priority natural area in Essex County. A permanent home tax credit and improving benefits for veterans are among the planks of the party platform, he added.

Watson, who is adopted, said he has championed the issue in Ottawa starting with a motion in 2008, a report on the motion in 2012 and three straight federal budgets assisting families.

“All of these areas are to help Canadians step forward and adopt the 30,000 Canadian children waiting for adoption,” he said.

Watson said he has stood strong for Essex.

“Windsor, with two NDP MPs, has a loud voice but has delivered zero results,” he said. “I’ve had a credible and influential voice that has delivered billions to Essex County. Essex County has, in me, a strong and influential voice in Ottawa.”