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September 26, 2008

Swiss man successfully flies in jet pack across English Channel

Swiss man successfully flies in jet pack across English Channel

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Friday, September 26, 2008

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Yves Rossy, 49, an airline pilot from Switzerland, has successfully completed a trip across the English Channel using a jet propelled pack. He is said to be the first human to successfully complete any such trip.

Rossy flew between England and France, approximately 22 miles, with his top speed reaching 120 miles an hour. Rossy, who has named himself ‘Fusion Man’ began his trip in a plane. When they reached an altitude of 8,000 feet, Rossy jumped out of the plane and started his jet pack. The trip took just about 10 minutes to complete with Rossy landing via parachute in Dover in England.

The pack is described as hang glider like, with a wing span of eight feet. When the fuel tank is filled, the device weighs about 120 pounds. Rossy was protected by a fire proof suit in case anything went wrong, an extra parachute and a helmet.

Rossy had spent nearly five years designing and building the jet pack.



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Spies warn of October Al-Qaeda operations

Spies warn of October Al-Qaeda operations

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Last month, US intelligence intercepted Al-Qaeda communications warning operatives to be ready for instructions in October. The terrorist group is thought to be planning what has been called an “October surprise” possibly in order to influence the 2008 US elections, just as it did in 2004 when it bombed Madrid commuter trains.

The messages reportedly were simply to be alert and ready to be called upon, and were sent both physically and electronically.

According to Ted Gistaro, a US intelligence officer, the government is “not aware of any specific, credible al-Qaida plot to attack the U.S. homeland, but [does] receive a steady stream of threat [sic] reporting from sources of varying creditability”.

Intelligence agents are expecting an increase in the number of related messages as October nears.

Ex-CIA agent Gary Berntsen said that Al-Qaeda was likely not capable of carrying out another attack on the US, but would target its allies “to peel them off from the coalition that George Bush has built to defeat them”. Roger Cressey, once a counter-terrorism official, agreed that the attacks would likely be global and not focused on the US.

An advisor to John McCain noted that in the past, Al-Qaeda have used three different tactics to influence elections: public bombings, assassinations, and messages to voters.

Recently, Al-Qaeda attempted an attack on the new Pakistani President Zardari after his anti-terrorism speech, targeting the Islamabad Mariott hotel where he was expected to eat. According to the vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, the attack would have been devastating if it had succeeded in killing the new President. “Think of the symbolic value if they were able to kill Zardari after his first address as president of Pakistan in a speech announcing his fight against the terrorists,” he said.

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Somalian pirates capture military ship, weapons, tanks

Somalian pirates capture military ship, weapons, tanks

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Map of Somalia
Image: CIA World Factbook.

Somalian pirates captured a Ukrainian military ship containing weapons, tanks, and ammunition on Thursday. The weapons seized ranged from grenade launchers to 33 Soviet tanks, the Ukrainian defense ministry told the press. 17 multi-national crewmen were also captured.

The “Faina” was making a delivery to the Kenyan government, which is a Western ally against terrorism.

The ship had taken a detour to avoid the pirate-controlled Somalian coast, which is notorious for holding ships and cargo ransom. Experts expect the pirates to ransom off the tanks, because they don’t have the ability to remove or use them.

The Russian navy deployed a warship on Friday to assist Somalia in securing the coastline and re-secure the ship. According to Vladimir Vysotsky, the head of the Russian Navy, “Russian ships will not be involved in any international operations,” as “they will do this job on their own.”

US military spokesman Bryan Whitman reported that the US is monitoring the events closely, because of the type of cargo captured.

Canada, meanwhile, has been assisting the UN by escorting aid ships to the war-torn area since August. Canadian officials announced they would be continuing escorts for another four weeks, to the relief of about 2.4 million Somalians receiving the aid.


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Seventh Guantanamo Prosecutor resigns over ethical issues

Filed under: Archived,Crime and law,Military,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Seventh Guantanamo Prosecutor resigns over ethical issues

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Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld, a prosecutor in the Guantanamo Military Commissions resigned Wednesday, citing ethical issues.

Vandeveld had recommended to his superiors that a plea bargain be offered to Mohammed Jawad, the Pakistani youth he was prosecuting. He felt that it was appropriate for Jawad to receive an early release, and be offered assistance in re-integrating into civilian life. His superiors had over-ruled him, and wanted to seek a life sentence.

Vandeveld has not spoken publicly about his concerns. Jawad’s defense counsel, David Frakt, plans to call upon him to testify that the Prosecution had been withholding potentially exculpatory evidence.

Jawad was a minor at the time of the incident; Jawad had been subjected to sleep deprivation through Guantanamo’s frequent flyer program; Jawad had testified, during his 2004 Combatant Status Review Tribunal that he had accepted a job clearing land mines, only to have his employers drug him, and use him to carry objects he was later informed were bombs. Two other individuals had confessed to throwing the grenade Jawad was being tried for throwing. Their confessions had been withheld from Jawad’s Defense counsel.

Although his four-page resignation letter has not been officially released, Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald, and other journalists have quoted from it.

Vandeveld wrote:

“My ethical qualms about continuing to serve as a prosecutor relate primarily to the procedures for affording defense counsel discovery. I am highly concerned, to the point that I believe I can no longer serve as a prosecutor at the Commissions, about the slipshod, uncertain ‘procedure’ for affording defense counsel discovery.”

Current Chief Prosecutor Colonel Lawrence Morris asserted: “All you have is somebody who is disappointed that his superiors did not agree with his recommendation in a case.”

Four Prosecutors resigned in 2004 over scandalous promises made by Chief Prosecutor Fred Borch. Three of Borch’s subordinates wrote letters to Borch’s superiors, asking to be reassigned from the Office of Military Commissions because Borch had told them: All the exculpatory evidence would be classified, so the suspect’s Defense counsel would never get to see it; All the Commission members who would be serving as the judges were to be picked from officers who could be counted on voting for conviction.

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Robert Preston, John Carr, Carrie Wolf were reassigned. Fred Borch resigned from the military. Thomas Hemingway, Legal Advisor to the Convening Authority, the civilian head of the Office of Military Commissions, asserted that Borch’s resignation was unconnected to the memos from his subordinates. Borch was subsequently rehired as a civilian after he resigned from the military.

In 2005 Stuart Couch resigned from prosecuting Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Couch stated that even though he suspected Slahi had played a role in activities that otherwise were triable offenses, he should no longer be tried, because he had been subjected to extreme interrogation techniques.

In 2007 Guantanamo third Chief Prosecutor, Morris Davis, resigned after publicly challenging the role Legal Advisor Thomas W. Hartmann was trying to play in choosing cases to try. Davis had argued that choosing the cases to prosecute was his role, and that Hartmann had an obligation to remain objective, because he was also supposed to give advise to the head of the Office of Military Commission about the performance of the Defense. Hartmann’s role required him to give objective advice after the Commissions made their rulings — and his objectivity would be in doubt.

An inquiry looked into Davis’s concern, and directed Davis to follow Hartmann’s orders. Davis resigned from the Office of Military Commissions shortly thereafter.

Hartmann was called to testify before three of the Military Commissions, over his role in choosing cases to prosecute, where he testified he thought he was doing his job, and where he stated that he refused to resign.

Hartmann was reassigned a more junior role on September 20, 2008.



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More worries of further contamination of food from China

Filed under: Archived,Asia,China,Crime and law,Health,World — admin @ 5:00 am

More worries of further contamination of food from China

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Chinese dairy products are removed from a supermarket in China as a result of the scandal.
Image: Marc van der Chijs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that more food imported from China may be contaminated with melamine, a chemical used in the manufacturing of plastics. Melamine, although nontoxic in very small amounts, can cause severe kidney problems in large doses.

Guanshengyuan, a Chinese company that makes children’s candy, has stopped selling its popular brand White Rabbit, which is sold nationally in China, after tests confirmed the presence of melamine. Bright foods owns the candy company. Earlier their powdered milk was found to contain melamine which sickened over 53,000 people and was responsible for the deaths of at least four infant children. Guanshengyuan has stopped exporting their goods to the nearly 50 companies overseas that buy them.

Melamine has also been found in Hong Kong in baby cereal and vegetable formula made by Heinz. It has also been found in wasabi crackers which are manufactured by the Chinese company, Silang House.

Another Chinese food company called Marudai Food Co. has also halted the sales of several items such as meat buns, cream buns and corn crepes made with cream over fears that melamine laced powered milk has contaminated their products. So far there have been no reports of any illnesses associated with Marudai Foods.

Further items recalled or other products that feared to be contaminated with melamine are Mr. Browns Instant Coffee and tea products, along with their powdered milk.

The first report of contamination came last week when the Chinese health ministry confirmed that the companies responsible for producing the milk were trying to repair their damaged public image by increasing output using melamine. The Chinese Health Ministry has stated that most of the tainted milk was produced by Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co.

The WHO says that women with infants should consider breast feeding for the time being on infants aged at least six months, until the contaminated milk can be removed from the consumption chain.

“WHO recommends that all infants should be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months of life. No other liquid or food, not even water, is needed during this period. Thereafter, infants should receive adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues up to two years of age and beyond,” said the WHO in a statement on their website.

In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the presence of melamine in pet food that was imported from China. Samples indicated that wheat gluten, used as an ingredient in the pet food, was contaminated with the chemical. As a result of the contamination, the FDA said some of the contaminated gluten entered the human food chain. At least 45 people ate contaminated pork which was traced to pigs from a farm in California. The pigs had eaten feed that had been contaminated. There were no reports of deaths or illnesses.



Related news

  • “Contaminated baby’s milk induces wave of child illness in China” — Wikinews, September 22, 2008
  • “US: Melamine from contaminated pet food enters human food chain” — Wikinews, April 29, 2007
  • “US Food and Drug Administration reports melamine found in contaminated pet food” — Wikinews, March 30, 2007

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Explosion at new shopping centre in Bath, United Kingdom

Filed under: Archived,Europe,United Kingdom — admin @ 5:00 am

Explosion at new shopping centre in Bath, United Kingdom

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The explosion took place in the city centre
Image: Adrian Pingstone.

An explosion has taken place in the city centre of Bath, United Kingdom in a new shopping centre which is still being built. The explosion is said to have been caused by a gas canister that caught fire and exploded, setting fire to the building. Firefighters responded and were able to extinguish it at around 18:00 BST, approximately one hour after the explosion took place.

Several shops including Marks and Spencer, Boots and Game were evacuated. Bath Spa railway station was also closed off. Avon and Somerset police spokeswoman Jenny Bigwood said “The area has been cordoned off at the request of the fire and rescue service as there are believed to be a number of gas cylinders on the site.” The fire service spokesperson also said that “officers were called just after 5pm today to a report of a fire at the SouthGate building site.”

According to eyewitness reports there was “black smoke, …a few bangs and a series of fairly large explosions.”

Bath Spa railway station has since reopened but several people cannot get their cars out of the area due to closed roads. A shelter has been set up at the Pavilion near the leisure centre in North Parade Road. The centre was due to open in 2009 but is due to be delayed.

Despite the large size of the explosion, it is believed that no one has suffered from any injuries as a result of the incident.



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Controversial evangelist leader Tony Alamo arrested in child sex investigation

Controversial evangelist leader Tony Alamo arrested in child sex investigation

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Controversial evangelist leader Tony Alamo was arrested in Flagstaff, Arizona Thursday and faces charges related to child sex abuse allegations at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministry organization. Alamo has previously been convicted on charges of tax evasion. United States federal agents raided Alamo’s compound in Arkansas on Saturday and six girls were taken into state custody.

Tony Alamo in 1986

Law enforcement officials raided Alamo’s compound in Fouke, Arkansas on Saturday and removed six girls aged 10 to 17. Over 100 federal and state agents participated in the raid on the compound, which followed a two-year investigation into Alamo and his organization.

Law enforcement officials were searching for evidence that minors had been videotaped performing sexual activities or had been molested. The Federal Bureau of Investigation searched Alamo’s property for child pornography. Alamo, who claims he is legally blind and wouldn’t be able to see child pornography, preaches that girls should marry young and sex with post-puberty girls is ‘okay’ because “in the Bible it happened”.

Cquote1.svg The state concerns are children living at the facility may have been sexually and physically abused. Cquote2.svg

—Tom Browne, Federal Bureau of Investigation

“It’s the transportation of minors with the intent to engage in criminal activity. The state concerns are children living at the facility may have been sexually and physically abused,” said Little Rock, Arkansas FBI representative Tom Browne in a statement to KABC-TV.

The Associated Press (AP) has reported that Alamo will likely appear in federal court Friday in Flagstaff, Arizona, on charges that he violated the Mann Act by facilitating transport of minors across state lines for inappropriate sexual conduct. Documents produced by the FBI referred to Alamo by his birth name, Bernie Lazar Hoffman. Alamo has stated that he was born into Judaism but later converted to Christianity. According to the FBI, Alamo’s court appearance Friday is intended to determine when he will be transported from Arizona back to Arkansas to face charges there.

Cquote1.svg Our job right now is to basically take care of them [the six girls in state custody]. Cquote2.svg

—Julie Munsell, Arkansas Department of Human Services representative

Hearings have been scheduled for Friday and Monday by a state judge, to decide if the Department of Human Services of Arkansas can retain custody of the six girls. “We will transport them to and from hearings. We will take part in any future hearings. Our job right now is to basically take care of them,” said agency representative Julie Munsell in a statement reported to the AP. The six girls will be present at the hearings in Arkansas: hearings for two of the girls will take place Friday and hearings for the other four on Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization which maintains data on hate groups, has described Alamo’s organization as a “cult”. The Ross Institute Internet Archives for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements maintains a web page on Tony Alamo and his organization. AP reported that many former members of Alamo’s organization also characterize the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries as a “cult”.

Cquote1.svg I think that congregation in there needs to see what that man is. Cquote2.svg

—Anna Pugh, former member of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries

Anna Pugh, a former member of the organization for 11 years, recounted some of her experiences in what she referred to as “Tony’s Cult” to KOCO-TV. She stated that while she was living at Alamo’s compound she felt she was brainwashed. Pugh says that while she was a member of the group a seven-year-old girl took her aside and told her Alamo had sexual conduct with minors while watching pornography. “I think that congregation in there needs to see what that man is. He is a monster. He is a very unmerciful, malicious, vindictive, judgemental, condemning person,” said Pugh.

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Former member Anthony Lane told KSLA-TV he was kicked out of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries when he questioned some of Alamo’s teachings. “He is definitely a man who arranges marriages of little girls, and orders beatings of little children,” said Lane. He has been getting help from a support group called Partnered against Cult Activities (PACA). Lane is trying to gain custody of his three children who are still in the group with his wife.

Alamo was convicted of tax evasion in 1994, and was released from prison in 1998 after serving four years out of a six year sentence. The Internal Revenue Service said Alamo owed the U.S. government US$7.9 million. Prosecutors in the tax evasion case argued prior to Alamo’s sentencing that he was a flight risk, and a polygamist who conducted inappropriate activities with women and girls in his organization.

The Tony Alamo Christian Ministry organization promotes a philosophy and belief system which asserts sex with underage girls and polygamy is acceptable. The organization is critical of Catholicism, homosexuality, and the government. Tony Alamo Christian Ministry has compounds in Arkansas, California, and New Jersey, and Alamo himself lives near Los Angeles.

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Controversial Florida attorney Jack Thompson disbarred

Controversial Florida attorney Jack Thompson disbarred

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Jack Thompson at the California University of Pennsylvania in 2007
Image: GuardianV.

Florida attorney Jack Thompson was disbarred by a ruling of the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday for a variety of offenses, and has been banned from practicing law in Florida. The proceedings listed ten distinct behaviors by Thompson that led to his disbarment, including making false statements to a court, and violating a court order. Judge Dava Tunis said that Thompson had “abused the legal system by submitting numerous, frivolous and inappropriate filings”. The judge also noted that Thompson had shown no remorse for his actions and had refused to cooperate with the disbarment hearing. Tunis concluded that the probability of rehabilitation was small.

In addition to this disbarment, Thompson is required to pay the court $43,675.35 as a recovery for the court’s time and expense.

Thompson had previously come to public attention in 1988 when he ran for Dade County prosecutor against then incumbent Janet Reno. Thompson made repeated accusations that Reno was a lesbian and subsequently filed battery charges against Reno. These charges were found to be without merit.

After he lost the election to Reno, Thompson engaged in a variety of moral campaigns. Thompson targeted rap music and Howard Stern. Over the last decade Thompson has focused most of his effort against video games and computer games, accusing them of promoting violence and encouraging children to engage in violent behavior. His most recent media attention came when he criticized Grand Theft Auto series of games for sexual and violent content and Bully for violent content.

Thompson responded to the disbarment by issuing a press release claiming it was politically motivated. “The timing of this disbarment transparently reveals its motivation: This past Friday Thompson filed a federal civil rights action against The Bar, the Supreme Court, and all seven of its Justices. This rush to disbarment is in retribution for the filing of that federal suit.” Thompson went on to say that “this should be fun, starting now.”


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CanadaVOTES: NDP incumbent David Christopherson running in Hamilton Centre

CanadaVOTES: NDP incumbent David Christopherson running in Hamilton Centre

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Friday, September 26, 2008

CanadaVOTES
Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

ALBERTA
Calgary Southwest: CHP
Edmonton—Leduc: NDP
Yellowhead: CHP

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Langley: CHP*
Vancouver Kingsway: NDP

MANITOBA
Brandon—Souris: CHP

NOVA SCOTIA
Dartmouth—Cole Harbour: CHP

ONTARIO
Cambridge: NDP
Carleton—Mississippi Mills: NDP
Don Valley West: NDP
Elgin—Middlesex—London: NDP
Haldimand—Norfolk: LIB, CHP
Hamilton Centre: NDP i
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek: NDP i
Lanark-Front.-Lennox & Addin.: LIB
Parry Sound—Muskoka: NDP
Perth—Wellington: LIB
Prince Edward—Hastings: NDP
Simcoe—Grey: NDP
Thornhill: LIB i
Toronto Centre: AAEV*
Toronto—Danforth: LIB, AAEV
York—Simcoe: CHP

QUEBEC
Louis-Hébert: CHP
Westmount—Ville-Marie: NDP

SASKATCHEWAN
Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar: Lbtn

* Asterisks designate riding incumbents or registered political party leaders.
The letter “i” after a party abbreviation signifies an incumbent MP response.

To write, edit, start or view other Canada articles, see the Canada Portal

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party incumbent David Christopherson is standing for re-election in the riding of Hamilton Centre.

From 1985-1990, he served as a Hamilton City Councillor for Ward Four. He was elected to Ontario legislature in 1990, defeating a Liberal cabinet minister. Under Bob Rae, Christopherson served as Minister of Correctional Services and Solicitor-General. He did not seek re-election to legislature in 2003, opting to run for mayor of Hamilton. Considered a frontrunner, he lost to Larry Di Ianni.

He returned to politics just months later, changing his focus to federal politics. Christopherson beat Liberal cabinet minister Stan Keyes, the incumbent, serving as NDP critic for cities, community infrastructure, labour and steel policy. He has served as a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts, and Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Steel Caucus.

Wikinews contacted David Christopherson, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

First elected in 2004, David Christopherson is the only MP to have represented Hamilton Centre, which was created in 2003 from parts of three other ridings. Only 38 km², small versus other area ridings, its located on the south side of Hamilton Harbour. Alphabetically, Christopherson’s challengers are Anthony Giles (Libertarian), John Livingstone (Green), Lisa Nussey (Marxist-Leninist), Leon O’Connor (Conservative), Ryan Sparrow (Communist), and Helen M. Wilson (Liberal).

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, listed below.

Interview

Why did you choose to run for office, and why do you wish to continue as an MP?

I first ran for office in 1984 because I felt that the government at that time was too focused on its own re-election and on the needs of big corporations, which were already making billions of dollars, and not focusing enough on workers, the poor, and their families.
I’m running now, for re-election, for those same reasons. The Conservative government, with the full cooperation of the Liberal Official Opposition, has dramatically cut Canada’s ability to respond to the economic downturn. They’ve pumped millions of dollars into corporate tax cuts (for oil companies and banks, especially) and into military spending. And they’ve refused to invest in infrastructure and communities, in social programs, and in environmental efforts.
People in Hamilton Centre need good, long-term jobs. They need clean air and water. They need support for social programs, health care and education. They’re not getting any of those things. That’s why I’m running again.

Are you satisfied with your time as MP? What would be the biggest highlights of the roughly two years since the last election? The biggest disappointment?

I am very satisfied with my time as MP, and especially with the accomplishments of the NDP team under Leader Jack Layton. We have forced the minority Conservatives and Liberals to adopt strong environmental legislation; secured money for the clean-up of Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour; got the government to reverse cuts to women’s health programs; and much more.
My biggest disappointment is that the Liberals, given every chance to fight against this government, chose to do nothing. Worse, they either skipped votes or voted with the Conservatives.

As you campaign around your riding, it’s likely that some issues are mentioned more often by voters, than other issues. What would you say are the three hottest topics this election, in your riding? What would you and your party do to address these issues?

Only three? That’s hard! Jobs is the biggest issue here in Hamilton Centre. We’ve lost hundreds of good, well-paying industrial jobs and the Conservatives have nothing to offer unemployed workers. We want to create new “green collar” jobs through environmental initiatives, such as refurbishing public buildings.
The environment is mentioned every day, too. Hamiltonians are sick of regular smog days throughout the summer, of a polluted Harbour, and of course they’re concerned about global warming and the fact that, under successive Liberal and Conservative governments, Canada is now producing more greenhouse gases than ever. The NDP government will introduce a strict cap and trade program to reverse this trend.
Finally, social programs, including Canada’s national health care program, post-secondary education, and welfare and training programs, are all under threat by the Conservatives. The NDP would reinvest in these programs.
And fourth – can I have a number four? – Canada’s crumbling infrastructure (a big word of safe drinking water, dependable transit, etc) is causing huge problems for Canada’s cities. And it means higher property taxes for homeowners. The NDP will invest in infrastructure and increase the gas-tax transfer, which we created through the 2006 NDP budget.
Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Is there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?

Nope!

There are more ways than ever to get your message out, from the traditional campaign fliers and lawn signs, to new media like websites, Facebook, and YouTube. The tried-and-true routes get the message out to the masses much easier, but digital alternatives are much more measurable in how many are seeing or interacting with your campaign. What seems to be the most effective, from your experience?

Well, obviously there’s room for both. Digital communications tools are great – they can be interactive, instantly updated, and used to reach a given audience quickly. But in Hamilton Centre, we have many people who can’t afford Internet services or computers, and many older people who aren’t comfortable with technology. Traditional methods reach everyone, but are limited in terms of content and can be costly. An effective campaign needs to use every available means of communicating with our voters.

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CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Ryan Dolby running in Elgin—Middlesex—London

CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Ryan Dolby running in Elgin—Middlesex—London

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Friday, September 26, 2008

CanadaVOTES
Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

ALBERTA
Calgary Southwest: CHP
Edmonton—Leduc: NDP
Yellowhead: CHP

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Langley: CHP*
Vancouver Kingsway: NDP

MANITOBA
Brandon—Souris: CHP

NOVA SCOTIA
Dartmouth—Cole Harbour: CHP

ONTARIO
Cambridge: NDP
Carleton—Mississippi Mills: NDP
Don Valley West: NDP
Elgin—Middlesex—London: NDP
Haldimand—Norfolk: LIB, CHP
Hamilton Centre: NDP i
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek: NDP i
Lanark-Front.-Lennox & Addin.: LIB
Parry Sound—Muskoka: NDP
Perth—Wellington: LIB
Prince Edward—Hastings: NDP
Simcoe—Grey: NDP
Thornhill: LIB i
Toronto Centre: AAEV*
Toronto—Danforth: LIB, AAEV
York—Simcoe: CHP

QUEBEC
Louis-Hébert: CHP
Westmount—Ville-Marie: NDP

SASKATCHEWAN
Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar: Lbtn

* Asterisks designate riding incumbents or registered political party leaders.
The letter “i” after a party abbreviation signifies an incumbent MP response.

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On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party candidate Pastor Ryan Dolby is standing for election in the riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Born in Chatham, he moved to St. Thomas in 1994, and recently to the Village of Shedden. An employee of Lear Corporation, Dolby is a CAW Local 2168 member, who serves as Union Benefits Representative, and Local Trustee and Chair of the Union in Politics Committee. A CAW Council Delegate representative, he was appointed to the CAW National Employment Insurance Committee in 2006. He is involved in community organizations ranging from the St. Thomas Action Centre, United Way, the St. Thomas Women’s Shelter and the St. Thomas Fanshawe College Campus Advisory Committee. Having studied at the University of Windsor, he is currently completing the Labour Studies Certificate Program at McMaster University, aiming towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Labour Studies

Wikinews contacted Ryan, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

In 1996, the riding was created through the amalgamation of the Elgin—Norfolk, Lambton—Middlesex, and London—Middlesex ridings. While it was a Liberal riding for many years, through Jean Chretien’s Parliamentary Secretary Gar Knutson, in 2004, the riding became Conservative, with Joe Preston taking its reigns. Besides Dolby and Preston, the riding’s candidates include Liberal Suzanne van Bommel, Green Will Arlow, CAP Noel Burgon, CHP Carl Hiemstra, and independent Michael van Holst.

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, listed below.

Interview

Why are you running for political office, why at the federal level, why this party, and why in this riding?

I’m running because of the thousands of people who have asked me to run because they can’t trust Stephen Harper and the Conservatives to protect their jobs, their health care, and the environment. This election is not about Jack Layton, Ryan Dolby and the team of New Democrats. It is about you and your family. We will act on ‘kitchen table’ issues, not just boardroom table issues. I am hoping to make a difference by putting families first.

Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved? How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?

I have been involved over the years with the local Labour Council and helping to raise money for the United Way and local Women’s Shelters in St Thomas, London and the surrounding areas. As a member of my local Union in Politics Committee, I have helped out on many campaigns including the Manufacturing Matters Campaign. I feel that my experience as a CAW Representative will help me while dealing with members of the community, while trying to solve their day to day issues. While In Ottawa, my firsthand knowledge of the problems faced by working people will help me to shape policy and legislation.

As you campaign around your riding, it’s likely that some issues are mentioned more often by voters, than other issues. What would you say are the three hottest topics this election, in your riding? What would you and your party do to address these issues?

Definitely the 3 biggest issues are the Economy, Health Care and the Environment
For the economy, we will deliver on a ‘Made in Canada’ Green Manufacturing Policy that will protect jobs and create new jobs. The Conservatives and the Liberals have made many promises to improve the economy and they have failed to deliver. Hundreds of thousands of family supporting manufacturing jobs have been lost, including thousands in our own community. Jobs that make our communities a good place to live. Jobs that the Conservatives and the Liberals don’t seem to care about. Meanwhile, the gap between the rich and the rest of us continues to grow, while consumers are being gouged by high gas prices, the banks and cell phone companies.
For health care, the Conservatives and the Liberals promised to reduce your health care wait times, and they didn’t do that either. On top of that, today 5 million Canadians don’t have a family doctor. The New Democrats will shorten wait times, not by making more empty promises, but by training more doctors and nurses.
For the environment, the Conservatives and the Liberals promised you they would tackle the climate change crisis and protect the environment. They failed at that too. Today, our polar ice caps are disappearing, our sea levels are rising and over 20,000 Canadians are dying each year from air pollution, while you pay record gas prices. The New Democrats Cap and Trade Policy will make sure Canada lives up to the challenge of climate change, not with idle words or by taxing you and your family, but with tough laws that force polluters to clean up their mess and pay their fair share.
Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Is there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?

I think the public is starting to recognize Jack Layton’s leadership capabilities. The latest polls have shown that people feel he has the skills and qualities they want in a leader. Also, people are starting to recognize the sense in the NDP policies and that this is the time for a change.

There’s a more ways than ever to get your message out, from the traditional campaign fliers and lawn signs, to new media like websites, Facebook, and YouTube. The tried-and-true routes get the message out to the masses much easier, but digital alternatives are much more measurable in how many are seeing or interacting with your campaign. What seems to be the most effective, from your experience?

We are getting an excellent response from our Facebook webpage. People can sign up for lawn signs or find out how to donate to our campaign. It is an exciting new method to get information out to people.

Sources

External links

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