I was interviewing housing activist and University of Regina educational psychology professor, Marc Spooner for the upcoming prairie dog and during our conversation he announced that he is seeking the NDP nomination in the Wascana riding.
I asked him why he decided to take this on…
It happened when I got to meet Jack Layton when the NDP announced the National Affordable Housing Strategy. You may know I’m a homelessness researcher. I felt that in good conscience I could do nothing but to run to raise, for one, affordable housing and homelessness as an issue. The federal government has a role to play in that. I’m tired of good evidence based policy not being put into place.
Even with strong ideas, Spooner is going to be in an uphill fight in this upcoming election (the one everyone seems to think is imminent). If he gets the nom, he’ll be up against prairie dog reader’s favourite Regina MP, Ralph Goodale.
On the subject of his main competitor, Spooner said,
I want to say that I can only hope to have a career and an impact as effective as [Goodale] has. He’s been a model servant of the community and I hope to learn from his past record. But there comes a time to let the next generation take up these roles and responsibilities and to add their vision to making a better community and a better society. I think especially at this time if we want to engage youth and to get the next generation involved in politics and the governance of our future, we have to let the next generation speak and take up these roles. In the end, it’s the youth that’ll be taking care of us in the future and this is our time.
More from Marc Spooner after the jump.
On whether or not he feels the federal government has dropped the ball on housing:
Oh yes, definitely. We’re one of the few western nations to not have a national housing strategy. So that’s one of the big issues I’d like to focus on because we know what to do. And it’s actually a more cost effective method and that’s the part that bothers me. We take this short-term view of things for electoral gain when in the long term they cost more money. I appeal to any fiscal conservative that this is a better idea, it’s better bang for your buck. I’m a taxpayer too and I want to see the most effective programs put in place.
On the NDP’s reputation and the Harper Government’s plan to build more prisons:
Often the NDP gets branded as tax-and-spend when these policies will actually save money and in the long run create a better quality of life for everybody. Take for instance the madness of building more prisons. Wasting tax dollars on prisons when we know they’re the least effective mechanism to deal with issues of poverty, illiteracy, education.
He also talked about how excited he is to be working with such a strong slate of NDP candidates in the Regina area (he will be running alongside Fred Clipsham, Noah Evanchuk and Brian Sklar).
It’s an exciting time for the NDP and an exciting time for the people of Regina who haven’t had a voice in Ottawa. Where were the 13 MPs — I like to call them the Silent 13 — where were they when we were talking about the potash, where were they on the dome? Why aren’t they speaking? This madness of the PMO controls everything and we don’t have a regional voice has to stop.
I think one thing I can bring to this job is I’m not afraid to speak. I have a good job and I’m not afraid to tell people the truth about issues and to let people make an educated decision about them rather than playing this partisan game of not speaking at all. They will have a voice in me.
We need some people in society to be looking from a lighthouse and pointing out the rocks, and saying, “Look, we can take this path. It saves money and it increases the quality of life for everyone.”