I am writing you to address some personal concerns of mine over statements made by a fellow candidate of the Ontario New Democratic Party. I know, earlier in this campaign period, my party’s candidate for Mississauga Centre made inappropriate and offensive remarks about the proud symbol of our veterans, the poppy.
Like our leader, Andrea Horwath, I do not share these views. These remarks were as offensive and disappointing to myself as I know they are to you. I keep a copy of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms on my fridge at home. I know our history, and how that document is the result of brave men and women serving our nation.
My professional background is in community reporting. I strongly value the rights and freedoms which have been protected by our armed service people for generations. I have had the honour to attend Remembrance Day events at the Legion Branch 297 for Cornwall Seaway News, and have heard and shared the stories of our veterans. I’ve covered many events in the last couple of years, but that one will always stand out in my memory.
As Student Union President and board member at St. Lawrence College I proudly organized and delivered our Remembrance Day ceremonies in 2013 & 2014, ensuring it was a respected and widely attended event.
While I have not served our nation’s armed forces myself, I do come from a family with a proud heritage of service. With our history stretching back to the Second World War, most recently, two of my cousins served in Afghanistan. My great grandfather and great grandmother would never had met had he not served in World War Two.
It’s my view that we must honour the sacrifices made for us, so that people like myself can run for office in a free and democratic society. Despite the political controversies which continuously surround military operations, we need to honour that sacrifice. I also believe we, as political leaders, need to “walk the talk”, and take seriously the mental and physical health concerns many veterans face on an ongoing basis.
I apologize, sincerely, as a community member, local reporter, and provincial candidate.
I am truly sorry those remarks were made.
In the future, I look forward to continuing to meet many of you and support the great work that Legion Branch 297 does in our community and for our veterans, and likewise for the other service club branches across our region.
Ontario New Democratic Candidate