John Carmichael will be serving as the federal Conservative candidate in Toronto's Don Valley West riding in the upcoming Canadian federal election. Carmichael will face off against Liberal incumbent Member of Parliament Rob Oliphant.
The Canadian federal election is a month away and the party leaders have begun their campaigns all over the country. Although the party leaders have started to make campaign promises and tour throughout the country, federal candidates and incumbents are starting to launch their campaigns in their respective ridings.
On Friday, Conservative candidate for Don Valley West, John Carmichael opened his campaign office’s doors to riding residents to gather their views on federal politics, how their riding can best be represented in Ottawa and to speak on issues that matter most.
The campaign office was crowded with eager and passionate voters, volunteers and supporters. At each table, constituents would discuss hot-button election issues, the policies of the federal party leaders and the current state of affairs in Don Valley West.
A lot of members of the electorate visited the office to gather “Elect John Carmichael” signs.
Who is John Carmichael?
Conservative candidate for Don Valley West, John Carmichael speaking with voters.
According to the candidate’s website, Carmichael grew up in the city of Toronto and earned a degree at the University of Western Ontario. For more than 55 years, Carmichael has owned and operated City Buick Pontiac Cadillac GMC Ltd.
The former 2006 and 2008 federal Conservative candidate has served on many boards throughout Toronto, including the Director of the Canadian Olympic Committee, President of Rowing Canada and a member of the North York General Hospital.
Carmichael believes he would represent the Don Valley West riding well in the House of Commons because he has a “strong understanding of the families and businesses in the community” and has had to overcome many obstacles in this economic climate “like many other organizations today.”
Although Carmichael has not outlined his key policies – Digital Journal will be speaking with Carmichael before the end of the election – the Conservative Party’s principles have been released on all of the Conservative candidates’ websites.
They include: “A balance between fiscal accountability, progressive social policy and individual rights and responsibilities,” “The Conservative Party will operate in a manner accountable and responsive to its members” and “A belief in the freedom of the individual, including freedom of speech, worship and assembly.”
What do supporters say?
“I think Rob Oliphant is a perfectly nice guy, I'm sure he is well-intentioned, but I'm sure John Carmichael is really the guy who has got the experience, especially during these tough economic times,” said Jim Wielgosz, a supporter of Carmichael’s in the Don Valley West riding.
Conservative candidate for Don Valley West, John Carmichael's campaign office.
“He has been a small business owner for more than 30 years; he knows what it is like to make a payroll and has actually been a job creator in this riding whereas I'm not sure Rob Oliphant's economic experience is really up to snuff. John is a family man, he certainly understands what it's like for a lot of families out there to make ends meet and he's also part of a really good winning team that we've got going on across the country.”
Wielgosz believes Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is focusing on the correct priorities for the country, such as economic growth, job creation and continuing the recovery (Canada’s Economic Action Plan), which is something that Carmichael agrees with.
“I think John is really going to the best most effective representative this riding can have; working as part of a winning team hopefully for the next four years, if Canadians give us a majority mandate,” said Wielgosz, standing in front of a large map of the riding. “I think we can get a lot of positive things done for this country.”
He further explained that although it is difficult to speculate what Carmichael’s plans are in the House of Commons, Wielgosz said he would address the concerns of his constituents in the riding, which is “one of the most diverse, if not the most diverse, riding in the country, and has a lot of new Canadians.”
What are the concerns of an average constituent in Don Valley West? Wielgosz explained keeping jobs, having a low-tax environment to lessen the burden on families and businesses, to save the community and crime policies.
“That is something the Liberals in the past have not been credible on. We saw the result of a decade of soft-on-crime policies where we had criminals being let out on the street after serving just a sixth of their sentence and that is not really acceptable to most Canadians.”
When asked if he disagrees with any of the Prime Minister’s initiatives, Wielgosz concluded that the Prime Minister is someone who has his own priorities and is in charge, but maintains a “collaborative attitude” with his caucus and is open to having members of his caucus approach him with concerns and ideas.
“I’m sure John will have every opportunity, as part of a good strong national Conservative team, to champion the issues that matter in this riding.”
Information about Don Valley West
The federal electoral district, which was established in 1976, is located in the province of Ontario. The riding sits in uptown Toronto; stretching from Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue to Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue and York Mills Road and Bayview Avenue to the Don River.
There are approximately 115,539 people residing in Don Valley West, most of which maintain a modest middle income. The riding has the highest amount of Muslims in the country.
Rob Oliphant is the Liberal Member of Parliament representing the district. Oliphant succeeded John Godfrey, who was a Liberal speaking for the district in the House of Commons since 1993.
New Democrat Party nominee Nicole Yovanoff and Green Party nominee Georgina Wilcock will also vie for a seat in the House of Commons in the upcoming federal election.