Sudbury Accent: Liberals have the blinders on, NDP candidate argues

'In my gut, I know if we send the same people to parliament, we can expect the same mediocrity, inaction, and backpedalling on the critical issues'

Beth Mairs jpg, SU

Share Adjust Comment Print

By Beth Mairs


My name is Beth Mairs and I hope to be your next MP.

The issues facing us as a region and as a country are urgent. The rapidly deteriorating health of our planet requires aggressive action and leadership on the part of our government. The gap between the rich and everyone else has grown to unprecedented levels. That, coupled with our social safety net being in tatters, means that so many people are really suffering in Canada, and so many here in Sudbury, Lively and Copper Cliff are struggling every day with few or no community supports to help them get ahead.

In my gut, I know if we send the same people to parliament, we can expect the same mediocrity, inaction, and backpedalling on the critical issues. I come from a history of activism and my roots with the NDP go back to the early 80s. New Democrats have demonstrated our commitment to a more equitable society by fighting for the underdog, for workers’ rights, for the working class, for middle-income Canadians, for seniors, for youth and for poor people since the inception of the party.

I think we are in a moment in the history of our country where people who previously have never thought of running for politics need to. Band-aid solutions and half-measures are not what is needed: not to combat climate change; not to redress First Nations relations; and not to take action on the deplorable levels of income disparity we see in our country and this riding.

The Liberal candidate, in launching his re-election campaign, painted a glowing picture of Sudbury with prosperity for those who work hard. I’ve met plenty of Sudburians who are working extremely hard — three jobs — and they are not getting ahead: they are spinning their wheels. The anxiety and frustration are palpable.

The Liberal candidate boasts about low unemployment figures: not something the Liberal government can rightly claim credit for. Regardless, to be employed is one thing: making a liveable wage is quite another. In Sudbury, according to Statistics Canada, 45 per cent of Sudbury households earn less than $50,000 a year — that’s the combined income of two people.  That we have a crisis in affordable housing, addiction rates and other health issues is also true.

This is not the case of the Liberals seeing the cup half full, while the NDP sees it as half-empty. I sense the Sudbury Liberal campaign has put blinders on: blinders focused on the needs and interests of the top 10 per cent of income-earners.

We can no longer afford to send establishment candidates who read off carefully crafted party messaging handed to them by assistants and then once in office only show up in the riding for funding announcements, only organize community events in the 11th hour of their mandate, or show up during the election at community causes they’ve never previously had an affinity for, just to get a photo op.

As your MP, I will speak up in Ottawa for the Sudbury riding and for all Canadians who are currently being left behind. I will take an active role here in addressing the issues that are holding us back, working with community leaders and making my priority the projects that benefit the many, not the few: not Liberal insiders; not the connected; but those with a heart for the people.

In 1972, David Lewis, former NDP leader, uttered these beautiful words: “Our message is not new. It is one of commitment to social and economic justice that others have shared for centuries.”

If there is one thing New Democrats see it is possibility, but the goal in front of us is one where everyone has support and the opportunity to live a healthy life free from poverty and discrimination. We won’t get there unless we elect more people who hold to the same vision.  If you believe in a country, city or region where everyone has enough to survive and thrive, where we have the will to eradicate poverty and care for each other and the land, then join us to vote with courage for the kind of action on economic and environmental justice this moment in history calls us to.

— Beth Mairs is running for the NDP in the Sudbury riding.