THUNDER BAY – My name is Jay Stapleton, and I want to represent the NDP in the next Ontario election. I have a broad background, with many areas of experience. I am currently working as an Environmental/Program Officer with the Ministry of the Environment. During the summers, I am an organic vegetable farmer, working at North-Western Ontario’s largest vegetable producer – Boreal Edge Farm.
I hold a degree in Political Science, which I obtained from Lakehead University in 2010. I returned to school after working in the Information Technology field for 12 years. I am currently completing a second degree in Natural Sciences.
The thought of pursuing a career in politics drew me in during the municipal election of 2010, when I ran for Councillor for the Red River Ward. I was led to run because there are many disturbing trends which are occurring in Thunder Bay politics which I see mirrored in other jurisdictions.
There is a rightward shift in many recent election results. The conservative elements in society have convinced working people that societies prosper when the rich are allowed to run freely, without regulation or appropriate taxation. The reality speaks for itself. When we look at the world today, those societies which are weathering the stresses of our globalized market are those who focus on social democracy – protecting people ahead of corporations and ensuring a reasonable standard of living for everyone.
This truth is mired by the lies of a well oiled and funded machine which calls for austerity and the easing of the burdens on our corporate citizens as a path towards recovery. The progressive elements in our society need to shout loudly to be heard over the din of misinformation. I believe that I can be an effective voice for this cause.
Our local concerns are not being well managed by the existing provincial authority. When elected, I intend to focus on several regional issues: We are paying too much for Hydro. Everyone knows this, and I intend to push for a rationalised pricing model, allowing us to benefit from our inexpensive and relatively environmentally friendly hydro electricity resources.
We need good jobs in the region. Not only are there fewer jobs, but those which remain are increasingly menial. We can not expect our youth to take pride in their community when they don’t have a career which they can take pride in.
Stable, well-paying, unionized jobs are necessary. Recent policy has been to centralize the public service jobs in the South. Harris removed five thousand good jobs from our area, and I want to see them restored – along with our Northern perspective’s contribution to the administration. We also have a great opportunity to develop a larger value-added sector which can cooperate with our extractive industries to bring wealth to the region. It should be the government’s responsibility to coordinate and facilitate these efforts.
I believe that I have the voice, the vision, and the drive to win this election. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to fight for it.