In Ottawa-Centre, all the major parties have already nominated their candidates.
Back at the batter’s box for the third time is incumbent New Democrat Paul Dewar. The teacher and son of popular former mayor Marion Dewar became a late-game sponsor of a bill to ease access to cheap AIDS drugs in the developing world. This bill was staunchly supported by the likes of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Waving Flag singer K’naan.
But Dewar says he is angry with over how often bills like his pass in Parliament but are killed in Senate. In addition to his bill, he also cites an NDP MP Bill Siksay’s private member’s bill to add trans people to the human rights code, which died in the senate when the election was called. If in power, he says the NDP would abolish the Senate.
“With the innovations in medical treatment, we should be able to support people in countries who don’t have the same access to medicine as we do,” says Dewar. “It’s about democracy. You got an issue around providing other countries support and an unelected Senate killing it. That has to change. We need a government that is going to be supportive of health issues for the [lesbian, gay, bi and trans] community and make sure the gains made in the past are not lost.”
Dewar faces Scott Bradley, a Liberal candidate who worked in corporate policy and government relations for Bell and Air Canada. Before that, he worked as an advisor to a federal cabinet minister.
Bradley says he has knocked on over 12,000 doors since snagging his party’s nomination in 2009.
“My views are consistent with those of the community. The absolute undermining of the public service and institutional government is the biggest thing in our riding,” says Bradley. “And I think there’s been discussion that while Bill Siksay won’t be member anymore, trans issues will still be introduced.”
Green Party’s Jen Hunter received another Ottawa-Centre nod. She is a professor in the Green Management Program at Algonquin College. She says she is intrigued by a minority government, because a lot of people nowadays are voting Green.
“In Ottawa-Centre, people feel a bit let down by politicians. At the door, most people are a bit surprised it’s gone to an election,” says Hunter, adding she hopes Siksay’s fallen transgendered bill has the opportunity to be picked up again.
Conservative candidate and Ottawa-born engineer Damian Konstantinakos has developed catastrophic event fundraising strategies for Care Canada and enhancing delivery of therapeutic care at the Ottawa Heart Institute. Xtra was unable to get comment from him in time for this story, but a letter on his website doesn’t mince words.
“Rather than the constant criticism and whining we hear from the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois, a reasoned voice in Parliament working with the government will bring results for our riding,” he writes.
Ottawa-Centre, with its mix of civil servants and Carleton University students, has flipped between the Liberal and NDP since its 1968 inception. The riding elected a Conservative once, in a 1978 by-election.
The NDP has won the last three elections in the riding. The first was NDP icon and former party leader Ed Broadbent, who won the seat in 2004. Dewar held the seat for his party in 2006 and 2008.
NDP: Paul Dewar
Liberal: Scott Bradley
Conservative: Damian Konstantinakos