A bright star for Victoria, Ottawa and Canada

An exclusive interview with Victoria’s newly elected MP, Murray Rankin, LLM, QC, MP

By Jonathan Lee, Lower Island News

The new Member of Parliament for  Victoria, BC, Murray Rankin, is a rising star in today’s political galaxy.  If energy and intellect can change and sustain, for the better, Rankin’s recent election can only be a good thing.

In this first in-depth interview since his election, he has provided for Lower Island News readers a clear roadmap of where he hopes and intends to assist Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, and the federal New Democratic Party, in improving the lives of Victorians and Canadians.

And further, he begins to outline many of the policies and philosophies
that the NDP will bring to the country, as  the next governing party, after the current Conservative government is defeated at the next general election.

Rankin is a bundle of energy and passion. We met on a bleak, pre-Christmas
morning, at one of Victoria’s landmark buildings on Douglas Street.

Murray Rankin could have been excused for looking to abbreviate this interview. He’d explained party policies faithfully, patiently and passionately over the few months leading to the election, and during the candidates’ meetings. He’d won  the election.

Now he could reasonably be allowed a little R & R. And yet here he was again, ready to explain and persuade. Entirely understanding the nature of the task that
he’s been elected to perform. It was clear from the outset that Rankin means business in improving the lives of his Victoria constituents, and in the work that he intends to undertake to make the NDP the next party of government in Canada.

LIN readers will appreciate only too clearly how grim are these current
Conservative economic and political times.  For so many of Victoria’s residents, young and elderly, life is a daily struggle, with every tomorrow bringing another 24 hours of uncertainty.

It’s this understanding that Murray Rankin seeks to address in taking his seat in Canada’s House of Commons. 

The recent federal by-election came at a time when even the most stubborn of Conservative voters are having trouble imagining that Prime Minister Harper’s ideas and governance can lead to anything better than a continuing slide into impoverishment for countless Canadians, and enrichment of very few.

As Rankin pointed out, in the recent election the Conservative candidate polled
less than 15% of the total vote. It’s the “growing inequality” in society, as Rankin stated as he began to tick off his concerns and priorities, that drive his desire to be a constructive force for change.

For Rankin and the NDP it is unacceptable, in a country as wealthy as Canada, that people are to be found living on the streets. But it’s not only the homeless population to be found on the streets that Rankin recognizes. We need to look at the “couch surfers and people sleeping in their cars”, he says. “Those who can’t get a foot on the social and financial ladder.”

“This Conservative government’s policies have exacerbated the difficulties
that people face, and have encouraged a culture of growing inequality.”

Rankin acknowledges that at provincial and local levels, useful work has been done to alleviate distress, and he praises the work of Mayor Dean Fortin in Victoria for his continued efforts.

At the same time, Rankin notes that the federal government is very much absent in
joining to imagine and enact useful, long term policy solutions.“You can’t change things by doing the same thing over and over. That’s a definition of insanity,” says Rankin.

He praises the work of voluntary and non profit organizations such as, for
example, Victoria Cool Aid Society, The Coalition to End Homelessness, Our Place, Mustard Seed and many more.

But this is not enough for Rankin. He wants to see a restoration of federal assistance. Loans and grants to fund long term solutions providing economic equality of opportunity. For example Rankin cites the promotion of housing co-ops as a proven powerful resource in challenging affordable housing shortages.

In Rankin’s view not enough is done to support younger generations. Even for
those with the opportunity for advanced education, student loan debts of $30,000 - $50,000 are unsustainable for individuals starting a career and seeking a place to live and raise a family.

Article continues here: http://lowerislandnews.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/blog-lower-island-news-january-2013-1.pdf