Federal Election 2011

Uneven Response to RTH Election Questions

Just under half of the Hamilton-area federal election candidates have responded so far to the RTH election questions.

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 25, 2011

this article has been updated

With a week to go until the federal election, about half the Hamilton-area candidates have responded to the Raise the Hammer election questions, despite the fact that our respective candidate page was in the top four Google search results for every candidate's name when we checked on the weekend.

By Riding

In Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale (AFDW), five candidates have responded and only one has not. You can read the responses from Libertarian candidate Anthony Giles, Liberal candidate Dave Braden, Communist Party of Canada - Marxist Leninist (CPCML) candidate Jamile Ghaddar, NDP candidate Nancy MacBain, and Green candidate Peter Ormond. Missing is any response from incumbent Conservative candidate David Sweet.

In Hamilton Centre, only two candidates have responded so far: CPCML candidate Lisa Nussey and Marijuana Party candidate Michael James Baldasaro. The other three - Liberal candidate Annie Tennier, Conservative candidate James W. Byron and incumbent NDP candidate David Christopherson - have not.

In Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, five candidates have responded and four have not. You can read the responses of CAP candidate Bob Green Innes, Green candidate David Hart Dyke, Libertarian candidate Greg Pattinson, incumbent NDP candidate Wayne Marston and CPCML candidate Wendell Fields. Missing are responses from Communist Party candidate Bob Mann, Conservative Candidate Brad Clark, Progressive Canadian candidate Gord Hill, and Liberal candidate Michelle Stockwell.

In Hamilton Mountain, only two candidates have responded so far: Liberal candidate Marie Bountrogianni and Green candidate Stephen E. Brotherston. We're still waiting to hear from incumbent NDP candidate Chris Charlton, independent candidate Henryk Adamiec (for whom we have not been able to obtain an email address), Christian Heritage candidate Jim Enos, and Conservative candidate Terry Anderson.

Finally, in Niagara West-Glanbrook, which encompasses parts of Hamilton south and east of Hamilton Mountain and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, none of the five candidates have so far responded. We have not been able to obtain email addresses for Christian Heritage candidate Bryan Jongbloed or NDP candidate David Heatley, but incumbent Conservative candidate Dean Allison, Green candidate Sid Frere, and Liberal candidate Stephen Bieda have not reponded either.

By Party

We received a response from the one Canadian Action Party candidate: Bob Green Innes in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.

We have not received responses from any of the Conservative candidates.

We have not received responses from either Christian Heritage candidate: Jim Enos in Hamilton Mountain or Brian Jongbloed in Niagara West-Glanbrook.

We have received responses from all three CPCML candidates: Jamile Ghaddar in AFDW, Lisa Nussey in Hamilton Centre, and Wendell Fields in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.

We have received responses from three of the four Hamilton-area Green candidates: Peter Ormond in AFDW, David Hart Dyke in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, and Stephen E. Brotherson of Hamilton Mountain. We have not heard from Sid Frere of Niagara West-Glanbrook, and no Green candidate is registered to run in Hamilton Centre.

We have received responses from two of the five Liberal candidates: Dave Braden in AFDW and Marie Bountrogianni in Hamilton Mountain. We have not yet heard from Annie Tennier in Hamilton Centre, Michelle Stockwell in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek or Stephen Bieda in Niagara West-Glanbrook.

We have received responses from both Libertarian candidates: Anthony Giles in ADFW and Greg Pattinson in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.

We received responses from the one Marijuana Party candidate: Michael James Baldasaro in Hamilton Centre.

We have received responses from two of the five Hamilton-Area NDP candidates: Nancy BacBain in AFDW and Wayne Marston of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek. We have not heard from David Christoperson in Hamilton Centre, Chris Charlton in Hamilton Mountain or David Heatley in Niagara West-Glanbrook.

We have not received a response from the one Progressive Party candidate: Gord Hill in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.

Finally, we have not received a response from the one independent candidate: Henryk Adamiec in Hamilton Mountain.

By Incumbency

We have not received responsed from the incumbent MPs for four of the five Hamilton-area ridings: Conservative candidate David Sweet in AFDW, NDP candidate David Christoperson in Hamilton Centre, NDP candidate Chris Charlton in Hamilton Mountain, and Conservative candidate Dean Allison in Niagara West-Glanbook.

Among incumbents, only NDP Candidate Wayne Marston of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek has responded.


Update 1: This article originally listed Michael James Baldasaro having responded to the RTH election questions in the section on responses by party, but neglected to mention his response in the section on response by riding. We regret the oversight. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Update 2: We have now received a response from Stephen Bieda, the Liberal candidate for Niagara West-Glanbrook.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Pindrop (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 17:01:23

Nothing from the secrecy-obsessed, message-controlled Conservatives, is anyone surprised?

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By Ben (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 17:25:44

So much for the social media election.

Maybe it's just because the campaign period is so short, there's not much time for candidates to do all the stuff they need to get the message out. It doesn't help that the "message" is 100% what the party has to say, not what the candidate has to say.

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By DanJelly (registered) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 18:32:37

I know I'm dreaming a little here (what else is new?) but I'd love to see every single candidate respond to a formalised, publicly-vetted survey like this in order to even qualify to run. I realise the difficulties involved, but I think it's worth the pain. This would require the media, or Elections Canada, or some non-partisan government entity (does such a thing exist?) to develop or crowd-source a list of questions reflecting the concerns of the electorate.

The mix of questions should be non-partisan, with sections of the survey focusing on local, regional, provincial and national issues (where appropriate). The questions should also be reflective of all demographics, forcing candidates to speak to issues raised by groups that would otherwise be ignored. If there is to be any sort of mechanism to reject a question on grounds of relevance, partisanship, etc then that should be made open and transparent as well. If something is thrown out, we should know why, and by whom. If a candidate refuses to answer a question, they should have to give a reason. If they refuse to answer all the questions without good reason, their application should be rejected.

What would this accomplish? How many times have we heard about the biased media? How many have complained about the parties being evasive by limiting questions or excluding people from campaign events? I'm tired of hearing candidates answer good, thoughtful questions with "Visit my website", only to visit later and find a vague, milquetoast list of talking points with no specific answers. Take away the bias, the spin and the parties' control of image and information and open up the process. If the questions were somehow posed and vetted by the electorate and answers compared side-by-side, it would force the candidates to be clear and genuine. This process would make the election about real issues rather than marketing and half-truths.

Much like the RTH questions, the official survey questions would have to be answerable with a yes or no and/or explained in a few sentences. The questions would have to reveal something about the candidate's experience, knowledge, philosophy, or agenda, and would have to result in answers that could be held up against past track records. Once the answers were published, the candidates and parties could be held accountable and maybe we could be spared some of the intelligence-insulting rhetoric from all parties.

After all, we're essentially interviewing candidates for a job, and we want to make sure all candidates are treated equally, and given equal opportunity to succeed or fail.

Comment edited by DanJelly on 2011-04-25 18:34:24

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 19:28:45

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 21:23:02 in reply to Comment 62667

I don't know, Allan Taylor AKA turbo AKA say what, it certainly seems "worth the bother" to you to post not one but a bunch of comments on this article alone.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 21:47:57 in reply to Comment 62678

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By WRCU2 (registered) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 21:03:00 in reply to Comment 62667

RTH is not a significant news outlet and thus not worth the bother

I disagree, RTH receives a large number of page requests per day and although these most likely cannot compare to the sheer volume served by the Hamilton Spectator, RTH readers are of a much higher caliber.

What should raise a red flag is the Conservative party's apathy towards social media while Spec trolls like C hur chill boldly proclaim glory to just about everything Tory.

Social media may work well with our local politics though IT probably won't topple many federal bureaucrats. But with any luck, there won't be a Conservative, Liberal or NDP MP representing Hamilton East & Stoney Creek.

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By TedN (anonymous) | Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:30:11 in reply to Comment 62674

What exactly do you mean by "higher caliber". As far as I know, RTH readers generally resemble a cross between ComicCon and Mumford and Sons. The main difference being that neither of these think the sun shines out of their ass.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 21:09:03 in reply to Comment 62674

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By AberDean (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 20:19:06

Or, you can do what I do and phone which ever candidate you have a question for. It's amazing how responsive they are and their numbers are right there on those flyers they send out.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 20:33:04 in reply to Comment 62671

comment from banned user deleted

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By adrian (registered) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 20:45:22

Apparently many of our local politicians view Hamilton and Hamiltonians as after-thoughts, or perhaps just as convenient, reliable ways to get their butts plopped into seats in the House of Commons.

It's a real shame, because the questions posed are thoughtful and substantive.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 21:10:07 in reply to Comment 62673

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 21:12:29

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By mb (registered) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 22:34:19

No response from Conservatives?

Probably because no matter what they respond, they know McGreal and the others on this site will put a leftist spin on it.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 25, 2011 at 22:59:23 in reply to Comment 62681

Considering that we post the candidates' full responses, edited only for spelling, it's hard to see what kind of "spin", "leftist" or otherwise, it would receive.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted April 26, 2011 at 07:21:32 in reply to Comment 62682

Why do you edit for spelling?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:14:10 in reply to Comment 62692

Basic consideration. Everyone who writes for a publication deserves the sober second look of an editor.

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted April 26, 2011 at 18:03:41 in reply to Comment 62698

Well, using that logic you should also correct their grammar perhaps, and maybe if their logic is a little faulty, or if a statement is ambivalent, maybe tweak those a bit too, I mean, after all, you knew what they meant to say, right? Answers to questions put to candidates should be printed exactly as received. To alter them in any way gives a false impression.

As an editor, you should follow this well known convention:

"Sic – generally inside square brackets, [sic], and occasionally parentheses, (sic) – when added just after a quote or reprinted text, indicates that the passage is just as it appears from its original source. The usual purpose is to inform readers that any errors or apparent errors in the copied material are not from transcription – i.e. that they are reproduced exactly from the original writer or printer. Bracketed sics have also been used in humorous comments and for ridicule, typically by drawing attention to the original writer's mistakes."

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted April 26, 2011 at 02:33:35

I think the only spin that you can put on a 'No Reply' is the idea that this candidate feels that they are too important to deal with trivialities, like the electorate?

Or maybe they are afraid that they will trip on their tongue while changing feet?

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By TnT (registered) | Posted April 26, 2011 at 08:04:16

Do you think some are hyper sensitive to faux pas in this digital age haunting them?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 26, 2011 at 11:19:43

Some possible answers about David Sweet (in case he won't answer in person)...

His history as MP:

http://davidsweetwatch.wordpress.com/

On business, science and religion:

http://www.religiousrightalert.ca/2010/0...

On Men vs Women and Homosexuality:

http://www.100reasons.ca/20/

http://www.egale.ca/index.asp?item=1272

http://pushedleft.blogspot.com/2009/04/d...

Comment edited by seancb on 2011-04-26 11:20:42

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By Free Exposure (anonymous) | Posted April 26, 2011 at 11:41:13

Answering these questions amounts to a free opportunity to speak to the electorate. They're not partisan questions and candidates would have free reign to give any reply they choose.

If they want to answer a question about Open Data with a nonsensical diatribe about nuclear submarines, twin cities and second-hand smoke, so be it ;)

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By TedN (anonymous) | Posted April 26, 2011 at 14:56:37

insult spam deleted

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted April 26, 2011 at 15:28:24

Every voter counts, even if they know how to knit.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted April 29, 2011 at 15:17:12

Just out of curiosity:
A) How many people have actually had a door to door personal visit from a candidate in a federal election?

B) How many have had a door to door meeting from any candidate in any election?

I had my 1st visit from a federal candidate yesterday -Ever.
I have had school trustee candidates visit several times, but Never a Federal or Provincial candidate, or even a City Council candidate. (Given that we almost always vote, it's not like we do not participate. We are home 90% of the time.)

I find this very Odd! Is this how Hamilton & the GHA "Get's Out the Vote"-???

Opinions or experiences Please....

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2011 at 14:09:36

Thanks for all the input. :/ :D

Very sorry for asking that toxic question.

I'm just used to living in places large & small were an election means a visit @ the door from at least one candidate.(usually several)

So, that isn't done here? How frickin' Odd! How typical @ the same time. They don't even want any contact with or input from the plebes, even when their job might be on the line.

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