Jarvis: The first rule of running for office is that you have to run

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On Friday, outgoing Tory Chris Lewis of Essex landed the final blow during the federal election debate at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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Against himself.

He didn’t show up.

Lewis canceled half an hour before the start of the debate.

“We just found out five minutes ago,” said chamber CEO Rakesh Naidu.

Has there been a death in the family?

No.

“As far as debates are concerned,” Lewis wrote in a later statement, “the majority of people have computers and access to the Internet and to each party’s platform.”

It is ironical. Unreliable internet access is such a big problem in the county that it has been one of the issues of debate.

And what politician turns down an opportunity to address the issues and says instead, read my plan?

This paragraph came near the end of the rambling two-page statement. bemoaning that canadian politics has become divisive, his team are confronted daily with verbal abuse, people are unraveling, mental illness is on the rise and we need hope and normalcy. He invoked US President Abraham Lincoln and the US Marine Corps.

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I don’t know what all of this has to do with a debate, but if people want normalcy, he could have told them – during the debate – how his party is going to provide it.

Lewis is the incumbent and the House debate is the most important local debate in the election. But Lewis has turned his finger on it.

MP Chris Lewis (C — Essex) is seen speaking in a 2020 file photo.
MP Chris Lewis (C — Essex) is seen speaking in a 2020 file photo. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

He was one of the hardest working candidates in the 2019 election, knocking on thousands of doors.

But after 23 months in power, some people are wondering: where was he? Where was he when migrant farm workers fell ill with COVID-19 by the hundreds and public health officials shut down a farm?

Now this.

The first rule of running for office is that you have to run.

His main opponent, former NDP MP for Essex Tracey Ramsey, who lost her seat to Lewis in 2019 and is fighting to win him back in this election, has taken the start.

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“I introduced myself, unlike Chris Lewis,” she said in her opening statement.

Everything she touched on, from debt to climate change to vaccination warrants, was not challenged by him because he was not there.

At least Lewis, who this week declined to answer whether he was vaccinated against COVID-19, ultimately confirmed in his statement that he was.

“I am fully vaccinated,” he wrote.

This is a poor performance by local conservatives overall, especially since their party could form the next government.

Kathy Borrelli, Conservative candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh, takes part in the federal election debate at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
Kathy Borrelli, Conservative candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh, takes part in the federal election debate at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce on Friday. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Windsor-Tecumseh Conservative candidate Kathy Borrelli has spent a lot of time flipping through pages of notes, looking for talking points. But she pulled off that deserved zinger: “If the Liberals were serious about health care, they wouldn’t have called an election amid the pandemic. “

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Windsor West Conservative candidate Anthony Orlando has repeatedly accused outgoing NDP chairman Brian Masse, whose party was the fourth party in the last Parliament, of failing to form alliances with the government to get things done.

As Masse pointed out, it was his alliance with Conservative MP Kevin Waugh that got single sport betting approved. Orlando also said the government has no plan for the United States to open its side of the border, seemingly forgetting that the United States is a sovereign nation.

Windsor-Tecumseh incumbent and Liberal candidate Irek Kusmierczyk had the best performance in the constituency debate. He laid out the main issues for his party – healthcare, including vaccination and long-term care, climate change and the transition to a green economy, including the production of electric vehicles and batteries, housing affordable and child care at $ 10 per day.

And he laid out what he did in his 23 months in office: $ 450 million for a wide variety of needs ranging from flood mitigation to affordable housing.

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Irek Kusmierczyk, Liberal candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh, takes part in the federal election debate at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
Irek Kusmierczyk, Liberal candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh, takes part in the federal election debate at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce on Friday. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

But former constituency NDP incumbent Cheryl Hardcastle, who is fighting to reclaim the seat, has made valid points. The federal and provincial governments are supposed to share the funding for health care, but the federal government currently only pays 22% of the costs.

All countries with universal health care include pharmacare, except Canada, she said. The Liberals say they made a commitment to pharmacare, but they have been saying so for decades.

More pointedly, the NDP was ready to support the government during the pandemic, she said. But the Liberals still called an election.

In Windsor West, Masse once again demonstrated his in-depth knowledge of every file. He still calls for a national automotive strategy, something that has been overlooked, and he will continue until he gets it, just as he kept pushing for unique sports bets until he gets it. .

It shouldn’t have taken 10 years to get unique sports bets, countered Liberal candidate and former provincial cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello.

“We need voices within that can actually deliver,” she said.

Sandra Pupatello, Liberal candidate in Windsor West, and Anthony Orlando, left, Conservative candidate in Windsor West, take part in the federal election debate at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
Sandra Pupatello, Liberal candidate in Windsor West, and Anthony Orlando, left, Conservative candidate in Windsor West, take part in the federal election debate at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce on Friday. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

It’s true. It’s just the reality. You need someone to make sure your problem is on the table. But instead of hearing what she accomplished as a Member of Parliament ten years ago, I want to know more about what she will do as a Member of Parliament.

Pupatello said she would speak to the condemned houses of the Ambassador Bridge Company in the west. It takes a new focus, and she’s the only one talking about it. But it is a complicated and protracted issue that the city has fought in the courts. How will she approach it?

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  1. MP Chris Lewis (C — Essex) is seen speaking in a 2020 file photo.

    Jarvis: Showing leadership in a pandemic and an election

  2. Expect plenty of Maple Leaf flags after Sunday's federal election is called.  The large Canadian flag of the Windsor waterfront is presented on March 24, 2021.

    Jarvis: three members of the local election battle royals ahead

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