Rick Downes: Working for the common good

Introducing the New Democratic Party candidate for Kingston and the Islands

New Democratic Party candidate Rick Downes says he wants to bring corporate welfare money back into programs such as health care.
Image by: Tyler Ball
New Democratic Party candidate Rick Downes says he wants to bring corporate welfare money back into programs such as health care.

For NDP candidate for Kingston and the Islands Rick Downes, the personal is the political. This is a view he developed at a young age.

“When I was in Grade 8 in Etobicoke my dad worked for a company called Canadian Acme Screw and Gear and the plant closed and my dad was out of a job for a year. … Our local member of parliament was a man named Terry Grier and Terry Grier just happened to be a member of the New Democratic Party. He, for a full year, would call my father, knock on our door and say ‘Things are going to be alright, George,’” Downes told the Journal. “It made an incredible impression that there was this guy in the government who was helping out my dad and looking out for him and I never forgot it.”

Downes holds a degree in Canadian Studies from the University of Toronto, as well as a Masters in Canadian History and an Education Degree from Queen’s University.

Downes has been a Kingston resident since 1979. During this time he has worked as both a teacher and administrator within the community. He is currently the vice-principal at James R. Henderson Public School.

Downes said his local political track record speaks for itself.

“I was a school trustee for two terms, city councillor for three terms, I ran for mayor and I ran provincially as well,” he said. “I have a great deal of political experience within the Kingston community.”

Downes said the federal government has to have greater control over how corporate Canada does business.

“If you look at the Harper government, I feel that it is really a Canadian Republican party that has modelled its policies after the policies of George W. Bush, which essentially has seen corporate Canada go unregulated.”

Downes said more government dollars need to be put into the pockets of average Canadians.

“As a consuming public of oil, we are paying a very high price for a litre of gas and yet the government at the federal government level is actually giving these corporations money on top of the record profits that they’re making,” he said. “The fact that Stephen Harper comes from Alberta, he’s looking after his own but a lot of people are suffering. The NDP would take that money going towards corporate tax breaks and put it in the hands of the average Canadian.”

Downes said the NDP wants to increase government spending towards social programs.

“We want to take some of those monies that go into corporate welfare and bring it back into programs such as health care, improve wait times; we want to provide for more spaces for children who need childcare,” he said. “People are starting to look at the New Democratic Party as a party that puts working families first, puts people first ahead of corporations.”

To read Rick Downes’ full platform, go to rickdownes.ca. For the full NDP platform, please see ndp.ca.

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