From a series of ‘5 QUESTIONS’ by Future CPC Leaders Blog
- Who were my political role models growing up?
I did not really have any “political” role models until I was in my late twenties and early thirties. As a City Councillor in Burlington, I served with two distinct Mayors and I learned something different from both.
Mayor Mulkewich taught me the importance of community and individual engagement to effectively represent and work on behalf of your constituents. His values of being upfront and forthright will still being empathetic and caring for the individuals made a significant impact on me. It is these values that I have embraced in my political career.
Mayor MacIsaac was a leader that taught me the importance of vision in my political development. Mayor MacIsaac not only articulated a vision for the future of our community, he was able to put in motion the building blocks to make the vision a reality. As a politician it is easy to be against everything. As a leader you must have a vision of why and where you are going. Then you must effectively communicate and engage the affected stakeholders to be successful.
- When did you become active in Conservative politics and why?
I did not become active in the Conservative Party until 1987 when the Progressive Conservative MP Bill Kempling asked me to join the Burlington Riding Association Board. I have been on the Board ever since. As a teenager, I attended my first political event, with my grandmother, hosted by Senator Bob Runciman when he was running to be the MPP in the Brockville area. I have always been fiscally conservative and in the middle of the political spectrum on social issues.
- What is the most important /useful book a young Conservative should read and why?
I do not a have a specific book but I would suggest that everyone should read, at a minimum, the biographies of our Canadian political leaders. I have read the bios of leaders from all political stripes. It gives you insight into their thinking during their snapshot of history and also helps you as an individual understand your own political views and beliefs.
- What do you see as the most important current and future issue for young Canadians?
The very big picture issue for young Canadians is the change in demographics in Canada. This applies to the near future and the long-term ramifications of an aging long-living cohort that the next generations will be expected to support. This demographic change will have an affect on both our economic and social policy and programs. A few examples include fewer people available to fill employment opportunities, the impact of delayed wealth transfer to the next generation as people live longer and the demands on our health care system. Just a few issues that our younger generations will have to face and find solutions.
- What is the best way for a young person to get involved in the Conservative Party?
My best suggestion is to contact the local Riding Association and volunteer to get involved. If the Association is not as active as you would like, it is up to you to make it happen. My main advice is don’t wait to be asked, be proactive and make it happen for the conservative youth in your community.
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