Surrounded by the party faithful and fellow current and former Liberal candidates and MPs, Vance Badawey launched his bid to continue as Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre in the upcoming fall election.
Adding some Federal Cabinet weight to the evening, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, Mélanie Joly joined Badawey to help kick off the campaign last night at his Fitch Street mall campaign office in Welland.
Calling Badawey “a fundamentally good guy,” Joly added, “Vance is that type of person that is there for his people. He actually cares about the people living in his community.”
In four years, “He was able to attract $500 million of investments” for this riding, she stated, including senior causes, infrastructure, public transit; “things people can relate to and that help with their quality of life.”
And “not only did Vance help me in developing the National Tourism Strategy,” she added, “he is interested in investing in Welland, Port Colborne, Thorold, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.”
She said Badawey has also helped her champion the rights of Francophones.
“He is defending them all,” she noted. "They are not a line item in the budget."
In her opinion, three things are at stake for this upcoming election: investing in people as opposed to making cuts which impede people’s lives; focusing on the environment, and recognizing Canada’s global role.
“We know that climate change is real,” said Joly. “We know that the consequences are always being felt by people all across the country. We need to make sure we have a strong plan to make this transition.”
Historically, said Joly, “We have always seen Canada as a beacon of hope where conflict and tension reside. We had the chance to care for one another and that’s how we believed we could have a stronger country, so people could see the role of the country as something good; where women’s rights were important—that they had a voice and a right to choose, and be able to be part of decision-making. We believed it was our goal to defend this as protecting human rights and protecting climate change here at home, and all around the world.”
Bob Bratina, MP for Hamilton East and Stoney Creek, and former Hamilton mayor, as well as voice of the TiCats, noted the extreme divided state between parties in the United States that he said has started to creep into Canada.
“Our opponents are pitting Canadians against Canadians,” he said and added, "Every single vote has far-reaching, nation-wide consequences."
He argued that those who know (Justin) Trudeau know he is a good, decent man who doesn't deserve the recent personal attacks upon him.
St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle pointed to the Provincial Conservative party’s $600,000 cut of the cancer screening bus shows their complete lack of caring. He said this will not save money, but instead cost the lives of those who cannot access heatlh care. He warned Canadians would see similar cuts under an Andrew Scheer government.
Badawey said this coming October, “People are going to have a choice to elect a party which is good at governing. It’s about people. When you look around the world today and you see what’s going on, it’s bleeding into Canada. It’s about governments that build communities of people working together for common goals in the greatest country of the world. If not, our children are going to be in a whole different world. People lost their lives to give us what we have today. We have a leader and a Cabinet and a caucus that truly care. All of us working together will make a difference.”
Other Liberal politicians in attendance included Ian Bingham, candidate for Niagara West, Steven Del Duca, former provincial Cabinet member from Stoney Creek, former Welland MP John Maloney, and former St. Catharines MP Walt Lastewka.
Bingham said that Badawey “has a big heart and a huge brain,” and likened the MP to a bullet, with constituents helping shoot him back into office by acting as the igniting gunpowder.
“When you vote," he said, "remember, it’s for Canada.”