A look at local candidates and what they believe is important to youth voters
By Jordan Lamothe, Contributor
The federal election is less than one month away, and the crunch is on us to decide which party we want to vote for—but have we taken the time to meet our local candidates? Last week, I conducted a phone interview with the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows NDP candidate Bob D’Eith. This week, I’m meeting the Liberal candidate, Dan Ruimy, at his coffee shop, Bean Around Books, for a quick interview to discuss what sets him apart as a candidate and the importance of voting, especially for young voters.
When I first stepped into Dan’s coffee shop, the denizens were happy to inform me of the “eclectic” patronage that comes in. “This is where I get my passion from—the people,” Ruimy told me.
Ruimy believes that it is important for MPs to be involved in their communities, which he does by hosting roundtables to encourage dialogues between people of various demographics. “[If] you’ve come to our events; you’ve seen how a 16-year-old interacts with an 87-year-old. That’s amazing to see.” He boasts. “We need more of that.”
When asked his motivation for running, Ruimy said: “I just think I can do better.”
Education was the first issue Ruimy brought up when asked what issues are most important to youth. Are we going to be able to apply our credentials to the workforce? Are we going to be stuck with 20 years of student loans? The environment was another big one. “Watching this young generation as they embrace recycling, as they embrace the environment: it’s clear that is a huge issue.” He is proud of the Liberal Party’s environmental policy, which was evident when he told me, “We have incentives for new technologies not based on fossil fuels.”
Ruimy is also very adamant on setting youth up for success. Drawing on his experience as a foster parent, he made a good point when he asked me, “Someone who has unfortunate events in their lives—how do we expect them, at 18, to become a productive citizen? That doesn’t set them up for success; that sets them up for failure. That doesn’t make sense.” He plans to ensure all citizens are provided with the necessary resources to succeed. In Ruimy’s eyes, if we don’t invest now in our citizens, our youth, and our country, then we are “damaging our own future.”
He also plans to make sure his party leader stays true to the Liberal platform, “If Trudeau is in Ottawa, I will fight to make sure he upholds every commitment he made.” He encourages voters to pay attention to the promises the party leaders are making, and whether or not they are obtainable. Additionally, he says it is important to learn each party’s platform, because “at that point, whatever decision [voters] make is an invested decision.”
Ruimy believes that the government should be open with the people, and hold itself to a high moral standard. “It’s not about what’s right for the election or the media, but what is the right thing to do.”
“We can do better,” he told me. “We have to live to our ideals… The parties set the philosophies. We have to live to those philosophies.”