Kingston and the Islands has been Liberal since 1988, when now-incumbent MP Peter Milliken unseated Flora MacDonald. This year, Conservative Party candidate Brian Abrams is hoping to change that by running a high-profile campaign and letting people know he cares.
“We started in January, and I have personally been to about 30,000 doors in all areas of the city,” he said. “We have run a billboard campaign before the [election] writ was dropped in the spring and early summer, we have run radio ads, we have run billboards through the writ period and we have blitzed the city with young people canvassing. We will have canvassed the entire riding by the time we’re finished.” Abrams worked as an officer in the RCMP for 18 years before returning to Queen’s to earn his law degree in 1996. During his time with the Mounties, he lived or worked in every province and territory in Canada.
Abrams said the experience he gained in the RCMP would prove useful in the House of Commons.
“I learned to be a great negotiator. … I learned to be a good listener,” he said. “Often, the truth is somewhere in the middle in any dispute.”
Since he began campaigning in January, Abrams said many Kingstonians have expressed a desire for change.
“It’s become more apparent to me all the time … that they are dissatisfied with the level of representation we have in the House of Commons.
“I’m going to tell people at Queen’s the same thing I’m telling everyone: I’m going to be the full-time MP, which Peter Milliken is not prepared to commit to.”
Abrams said that once elected, creating more blue-collar jobs in the riding would be one of his top priorities.
“There’s a feeling out there that Kingstonians require an advocate … to rebuild the industrial base in this city,” he said. “We have too many families in this community who are surviving on minimum-wage jobs. There’s no reason why Kingston shouldn’t have a vibrant private sector, but I think we’ve been complacent.”
Abrams said he wants to build a concert venue in north Kingston to encourage the city’s fledgling arts scene.
“There’s no reason why Kingston can’t become one of the big performing arts centres in this country,” he said.
Abrams said he was impressed with the dedication of his campaign volunteers, many of whom are Queen’s students.
“I’m learning that when people say ‘I don’t know about kids these days,’ you shouldn’t listen,” he said. “The young people I’ve come into contact with in this campaign are the most engaged, interesting people I’ve ever met.”
—With files from Jane Switzer
To read Brian Abrams’s full platform, go to votebrianabrams.ca. For the full platform of the Conservative Party, please see conservative.ca.
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