Stuart Somerville, New Democratic Party
Occupation: High school teacher in Hanna and works on family’s cattle and grain farm near Endiang, east of Elnora
Residence: Farm near Endiang
New Democratic Party of Canada candidate Stuart Somerville says democracy was heading in a disastrous direction with the Conservatives in power.
That’s why Somerville said he is running for election in the Red Deer riding.
“We’ve seen the government been found in contempt of Parliament. We’ve seen them refusing to disclose costs. We’ve seen non-elected senators defeating democratically passed legislation,” said Somerville, who also ran in the 2008 federal election for the NDP.
“(Parliament) was prorogued twice. Everyone’s forgotten about that. During that period of time there could be no debate on issues. Suddenly, we had no democratic rights. That was ridiculous. That was a scary thing to have happened.”
Parliament was suspended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in December 2008 and 2009, which was seen by opposition parties as an attempt to muzzle criticism.
Somerville said “a dangerous precedent” is being set in Canadian politics.
He believes the NDP does a better job of representing the interests of ordinary Canadians. And since he’s 25, Somerville, who has been a teacher for four years, said he wants to be in Ottawa for young people who don’t feel they are represented and for other groups who feel ignored.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Red Deer, or St. John’s, or Nunavut, or anywhere. It seems that none of us have a voice.”
Canadians need strong and effective representation and a government that follows through on its election promises, he said.
“I think Canadians are fed up.”
“We’ve had an elected prime minister who insists on appointing senators despite his position that you shouldn’t do that.”
The lack of connection between Canadians and their members of Parliament is among the many major issues in this election, he said.
“I would make sure to spend an awful lot of time just talking to various stakeholders in the community, not assuming that I know what they want.
“I think real action needs to be taken at the community level, that we need to have community leaders interacting very closely with our federal politicians.”
Somerville said democracy seems to be disappearing in Canada and candidates from all parties should be working hard to reach out to voters during this election.