| Jun 28, 2007

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Feature Article - June 28, 2007

Sutherland t o carry NDPbanner in provincial election

by JeffGreen

Ross Sutherland, the mainstay of both the federal and provincial NDP riding associations in Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, has been unanimously selected as the NDP candidate for the October 10 Ontario election.

Sutherland, a registered nurse at Hotel Dieu Hospital, is a veteran candidate, having run as the NDP candidate both provincially and federally in previous elections. He lives on Snug Harbour Road in South Frontenac,

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Aside from his party politics, Ross Sutherland is also a well-known advocate of the public health care system, serving as a co-chair of the Kingston Health Coalition. In the past couple of years, he has also taken on a local environmental issue. He is one of the founders of the Friends of Mitchell Creek, a group that advocated for a smaller bridge over Mitchell Creek which is located near his home.

“I decided to seek the nomination because I think this is a very important election in which Ontarians will make some big decisions.” One of these relates to nuclear power, in Sutherland’s view. “Both the Liberals and the Conservatives are committed to nuclear power, which will add $40 billion to our debt, increase our electricity bills, using up money that could be could be used for actual solutions to our energy shortage, such as a serious conservation effort,” he said, in an interview with the News earlier this week.

Jobs and income in Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington are another concern of Sutherland’s.

“The survival of rural communities depends on challenging the Liberal and Conservative big business free trade deals and one-size-fits-all regulations,” he said. “You can look at the Hershey closing as an example of the effects of these deals.”

Another important issue is electoral reform, in Sutherland’s view. “The NDP is the only party that has taken a position in favour of the proportional representation system that will be the subject of a referendum at the same time as the election. The Conservatives oppose the reform, and the Liberals haven’t taken a position.”

As has been his position for years, Ross Sutherland will also be voicing strong opposition to privatization of the health care system. He notes that, “An extensive study on privatised MRI services, medical laboratories, and homecare has shown that for-profit companies just do not go to small rural communities.”

The public-private healthcare debate is one of the points that is likely to be contended between Ross Sutherland and the Conservative Party candidate, Randy Hillier. In a recent op-ed submission, Hillier concluded, “A healthy diet of accountable public funding for both public and privately delivered medical care, the public’s freedom to choose service providers, and an open marketplace for doctors, are the only practical means to eliminate Ontario’s obese wait times and addiction to medical mediocrity.”

The Liberal candidate, Ian Wilson, is a former chair of the Kingston General Hospital, who will likely have an interesting perspective of his own on the future of healthcare in the province and the riding.

Ross Sutherland said he does not know either of his two opponents, although he knows something of Randy Hillier’s previous political efforts,

“Whatever I think of his views,” Sutherland said of Hillier, “he is speaking out for rural Ontario. His problem is that he is a Conservative, a party that stands for the interests of big business, and will only make the problems in rural Ontario worse if they form the government.”

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