Barrington Walker’s steady student focus earns endorsement

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Our Process: The endorsement is the result of a vote by The Journal Editorial Board. The Editorial Board considers platforms and private questioning periods with each candidate before making a decision.

In the upcoming federal election, it’s vital that as Queen’s students, we vote for a candidate that best represents us, our unique priorities, and the community around us.

After careful consideration, The Journal Editorial Board has elected to endorse Kingston and the Islands’ NDP candidate, Barrington Walker.

In an 11-0 unanimous vote with no abstentions, the Board concluded that Walker best exhibits the passion, eloquence, and commitment to his constituents we feel is critical for our federal representative.

Local People’s Party of Canada candidate Andy Brooke’s presentation of his party’s politics left our Board without confidence in his ability to represent the riding’s interests. Brooke fails to consider or include perspectives other than his own, whether set forward by competing candidates or students asking him questions. He highlighted his disagreements with other parties while apparently lacking concrete policy proposals of his own. He’s quick to condemn the Paris Agreement and the parties’ proposals seeking to meet Canada’s established emissions targets, but presents no alternative solutions.

Similarly, Ruslan Yakoviychuck of the Conservative Party, while an enthusiastic rookie candidate, demonstrated an inability to speak in a nuanced way about national issues and policy on a granular level. This is exhibited by his failure to comment on a possible nationwide ban on fracking. When asked about his Party’s stance on immigration, he anecdotally cited policy from more than a decade ago without demonstrating a thorough understanding of the implications of the Conservative’s current proposed approach to immigration.

Liberal Mark Gerretsen, Kingston and the Islands’ incumbent MP, has shown commendable devotion to his constituency. His experience makes him a qualified candidate. As one of only three federal caucus members to vocalize his disagreement with the Liberal government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX), Gerretsen has also demonstrated that he’s capable of speaking on political issues beyond merely toeing the party line.

But Gerretsen is too comfortable in his previous success, and doesn’t show enough energy about policy to sufficiently appeal to young voters and Queen’s students. He falls short of exciting students about the Liberal party’s plan to support student issues. As the incumbent candidate, he should be doing more than anyone else to engage with his constituents—instead of appearing to take their votes for granted.

Both Walker and Candice Christmas, the Green Party candidate, have proven their coherence, competence, and dedication to engaging with the interests and issues facing young voters. This is particularly true regarding the climate crisis and financial accessibility to education. They’re passionate about the issues important to the young constituents making up a large portion of their riding: making postsecondary education accessible for all, substantially reducing carbon emissions, and eliminating fracking in Canada.

Unlike Gerretsen, Walker and Christmas invigorated the Board with their desire to incite change in national politics, as opposed to continuing on the same trajectory that’s left many voters disengaged and dissatisfied. 

Christmas is a strong candidate, but it’s Walker’s sincere and thorough responses to student voters’ concerns that made him stand out to our Editorial Board. The NDP candidate speaks candidly and thoughtfully about the issues important to his potential constituents. It’s clear that he sees the merit in any and all solutions that would best serve his riding.

Ultimately, Walker has stepped up in a way unparalleled by other local candidates. His well-informed dedication to creating political change representing his potential constituency’s interests is apparent through his knowledgeable approach. If elected, we believe the NDP politician will serve his riding well. 

With a potential Liberal minority government in the cards, the Board feels Walker is in an excellent position to hold the Liberal Party accountable for their shortcomings in climate- and student-oriented policy, from increasing federal student grants to keeping TMX from being built. 

It’s time for change in our politics. We should cast our ballots for a candidate who excites us about their vision, not one who’s satisfied to fall back into old habits. 

The Board believes Barrington Walker is a candidate who does exactly that. 

—Journal Editorial Board

 

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