Q and A with NDP candidate Brian White

Q – Politician are often criticized, mocked and scorned. It’s a tough, tough job. Why do you want to do it?

A – Someone has to be a catalyst for change, even if my purpose is to inspire others to run or vote. I’ve learned to be comfortable with myself and I know most criticism isn’t personal. At the end of the day, I will still have my family. I’m willing to make the effort to change things from the inside, hoping to return to the days when public servants actually serve the public and not an agenda. We can be of influence on policy that affects our everyday lives, and I want to prove that.

Q – The anger over wind turbines is getting serious. The other parties have taken a stand. What would the NDP do?

A – The NDP has always said that the Liberals botched this and would allow municipalities to be a part of such decision-making. It’s clear that residents feel slighted by the process, and I completely understand. We would put people back at the table to ensure their voice is respected. When Hudak and McGuinty agreed to kill the gas plants, it cost the province over $1 billion. We have to be measured in our approach. Green energy must be explored for our future, but not at such huge costs or limitations. I’m not hearing residents say “we are against sustainable energy.” I’m hearing them say “please listen to us, we have serious concerns.”

Q – You’ve run for municipal, provincial and federal seats. If you don’t succeed this time will you keep trying? Why or why not?

A – I have succeeded each time. I measure success by the engagement of ideas and people willing to push forward for goals that will benefit all of us. Each election is unique. I have a great life outside of politics, so it’s with careful consideration that I make the decision. I run at the encouragement of many and measure the will to see things change. In the last three elections, every single incumbent has been re-elected, yet things continue to stagnate. The voice of my generation is still being left out. It’s clearly time for an infusion of new ideas. As long as things remain the same, I’m likely to be either working with new candidates or putting my name forward.

Q – Would you like to see beer and wine sold in corner stores?

A  – I’m not a consumer, so my interest would be on a different level. I generally defer to the public on this one. It’s clear the monopoly of Brewer’s Retail is causing an unfair playing field to small brewers and vintners. My preferred approach would be to ensure more local markets for Ontario craft beer and Ontario wines are encouraged, through selling at farmer’s markets and boutique shops. Corner stores generally have very limited selection, so the buying power of the LCBO remains an effective way to ensure access to the best selection of factory beer and imported products, while providing much needed revenue for our provincial coffers. These measures resonate the most with folks I hear from, and I’m open to discussion.

Q – Name one thing you would do for Sarnia-Lambton that the other candidates can’t or won’t?

A – I have a view more reflective of today’s family, facing challenges in the modern economy while raising kids and caring for elders. I bring the hope that comes from growing out from behind the 8-ball to find opportunity, strength and stability. I offer a view that includes today’s economic opportunities, without closing the doors on our base local economy or public services. With my age and experience, I have a real chance to follow through on long-term solutions.

– This concludes a five-part online series of questions and answers with the Sarnia-Lambton candidates. See all their answers in this week’s edition of The Sarnia Journal.