I love watching the debates in elections. Candidates exchange views and sometimes end up looking like complete idiots. Sometimes it is the candidates who don't show up that look like they are just not into it. The latter occurred in the riding of Newmarket-Aurora when the same two candidates failed to show up at two different debates held back to back. Kassandra Bidarian (NDP candidate) and Yvonne Mackie (Animal Alliance Environment Voters Candidate) both failed to show up to debates.
No word has come forth as to why Yvonne failed to show up for the important debates held by the The Newmarket Era and Aurora Banner newspapers in Newmarket and The Auroran newspaper debate in Aurora.
Kassandra Bidarian, the NDP candidate, on the Aurora Citizen blog has responded as to why she failed to show up for the debates. Bidarian claims she is currently a student at the University of Toronto - St. George Campus doing a specialist in Philosophy, with a minor in political science, and the exam schedule has gotten in her way. Thus she couldn't attend the debates because of the exams. Further she claims to have a 4.0 average and wishes to continue her studies.
Ms. Bidarian repeatedly says she is a serious candidate for the riding of Newmarket-Aurora. But, based on what I'm currently reading that doesn't appear to be the case:
1. She failed to show up for two debates claiming her exam schedule got in the way. This may be true that there were exams on both nights of the debates and she was stuck not being able to be two places at once.
2. From her comment on the Aurora Citizen blog:
"I am committed and I am a person dedicated to achieving all that I can. I have always committed myself to multiple avenues in the past with positive results, and if need be, I can continue that here. My educational load will be lessened next year, leaving me ample time to work as a Member of Parliament."
The above truly points out how Kassandra has lost touch with reality. A Member of Parliament, let alone one representing a riding around Toronto, is more than a FULL TIME JOB. Kassandra's studies in Toronto will obviously prevent her from being full time in Ottawa and serving her constituents in Newmarket-Aurora. So when exactly, if elected, Kassandra going to find all the time to: sit in the House of Commons, comittee meetings, traveling between Newmarket-Aurora and Ottawa, appearing at community events, responding to constituent inquires and working on her studies in downtown Toronto at University of Toronto? Will she give up sleeping to do all that? Something has to give, either her studies or her $100,000 dollar paid position as MP will.
3. A few posters on the Aurora Citizen blog noted the lack of signs for Ms. Bidarian in the riding. In fact some posters inquired to see if there were any out there. Sightings have been few and far between. Personally, travelling along Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue in Aurora I've seen only one sign for the NDP and the name on it? "Jack Layton". So where are the signs with "Kassandra Bidarian" on them? Kassandra responds ont he Aurora Citizen blog with:
"Unfortunately, there was a delay in retrieving signs that was out of my control. But as soon as we received them, we have been putting them around Newmarket and Aurora..."
So Kassandra failed to have her signs ready for an election that had ample warning of coming? Political writers were expecting an election weeks before the budget and the contempt of parliament charges being table in the House of Commons. As a political science student one would expect Kassandra to be watching closely while the politics played out on Parliament Hill with her leader Jack Layton humming and hawing over the budget and the contempt of Parliament charges. The NDP surely had given their candidates some prior warning to start the election campaign engines. Kassandra's opponent, Lois Brown (Conservative candidate) had election signs up all along Yonge Street in Aurora by the Sunday after the election writ had been dropped. Lois was ready, why wasn't Kassandra and NDP? As evidenced by Kassandra's response to her continuing studies while being an MP, planning is not Kassandra's strong suit. Otherwise her election signs would have been on order with the sign maker and all she would have to do is call them and say "start printing!"
4. Kassandra's election website is a complete joke. The only sections she has are contact information and her biography. Everything else on the simple one page layout is for the NDP overall party. Even what she does have on their is a little thin. Her contact information lists her campaign office address for "mail or document delivery only". Thus if you want to volunteer and pick up materials to do a little canvassing or have questions you would like to meet with her office staff -- presuming she has office staff -- your out of luck. Next her biography is also very thin. About the only thing I learned about Kassandra is:
"Kassandra represents the riding of Newmarket-Aurora for the NDP. She first became engaged in politics as the New Democratic Party Youth representative for Newmarket-Aurora. She then furthered her involvement by participating in the Ontario New Democratic Party and was the Northern Ontario Representative for Ontario New Democratic Youth. Currently enrolled in Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Toronto, she is not only a student, but also a civically engaged and passionate youth."
The rest of the bafflegab in her biography is what she believes in. There isn't one word on what past positions she has held in terms of employment or any volunteer organizations she belongs to. She apparently is a blank slate applying for a $100,000 job position with only political volunteer campaigning experience behind her. And, sadly, that is all she has on her website pertaining to her.
As far as I can tell based the previous federal election, the NDP in Newmarket-Aurora has trouble finding candidates to run. Kassandra Bidarian is obviously just a filler for the NDP in this particular riding. She responds to the questions at the Aurora Citizen blog about her candidcy by outlining how she became a candidate:
"I want to make it clear that it is not just “anyone willing to be a candidate”, but that there was a long democratic process involved. Firstly, I had to fill out detailed papers containing my information and have them approved by Ottawa. Secondly, there had to be a nomination meeting with the New Democratic Party members of Newmarket and Aurora. During this meeting, I explained my credentials and what I plan to do and I was democratically voted in, unanimously. Thirdly, I had to obtain about 120 signatures from residents in Newmarket and Aurora, which basically stated they are giving me their permission to be a candidate for their riding.
Prior to all of the above, I was already involved within the party attending caucus’, being politically active, and speaking up for the youth and issues we faced. I was also the Youth Representative for Newmarket and on the executive of Ontario New Democratic Youth. To further my experience, I am also attending University of Toronto-St.George Campus and doing a specialist in Philosophy with a minor in Political Science. So the statement that “anyone willing to be a candidate” can, is completely false. If anyone had any concerns over my candidacy, they could have asked."
The above just shows again how out of touch with reality she is. Perhaps she had to receive 120 signatures and fill out "detailed papers" in order to be approved to be a candidate for the NDP for Newmarket-Aurora for the federal election. But I would imagine so did Lois Brown, Kyle Peterson (Liberal candidate) and the others. These other candidates also opened campaign offices that people could visit or work from. They also have their signs out in relatively reasonable amount of time wich meant prospective voters didn't have to search for their signs. She also points out her continous learning by taking courses in Philosophy and politics which I've already outlined previously will be an issue if she is elected in terms of her time management.
But the most laughable two sentences of Kassandra's response to the questions of her candidacy is:
"So the statement that “anyone willing to be a candidate” can, is completely false. If anyone had any concerns over my candidacy, they could have asked."
Kassandra is completly wrong. The NDP in Newmarket-Aurora was presented with one possible candidate, Kassandra. There was nobody else stepping forward. The NDP membership, presuming their is such a thing in Newmarket-Aurora, had one choice as there was no mention in the media or anywhere else of any other candidate stepping forward to compete at the nomination meeting. So Kassandra was the only person to step forward and thus was the only "anyone willing to be a candidate". Without her the NDP would have been forced to concede they do not have a candidate in all ridings across Canada and thus couldn't be considered to be a national party. Thus, the statement "anyone willing to be a candidate" is true in Kassandra's case.
Finally the statement of "If anyone had any concerns over my candidacy, they could have asked" is also hillarious. Up until the election writ was dropped nobody knew who Kassandra was. So who would exactly they ask? The local riding office which is a house on a residential street where only mail and documents can be sent? There is no name associated and there is no local riding association website that I can find to put inquiries to. Thus is there really a riding association President for the NDP? Not that I can tell or at least not someone who is willing to put their name to it. So voters had to wait to question her candidcy until she announced she was running for the NDP and failed miserably at debating and properly launching her campaign. Hence why the questions are now coming forth a week or two before voting day.
Kassandra Bidarian is obviously not ready to be elected MP for Newmarket-Aurora. She failed to show up for two seperate debates blaming her exam schedule. She failed to have campaign signs out and nailed in. Her local riding association who one would expect to be supporting her, doesn't even have a named President that is findable via a Google search. She doesn't have a campaign office at all. She also believes she can reduce her course load to continue studying at the University of Toronto while being an MP in Ottawa. Yet with all of the above she believes she can be a serious candidate for MP of Newmarket-Aurora. Kassandra Bidarian is an idealist who is not ready to be elected MP. She should stay in school and learn politics, the real world of time management and how to properly campaign. Kassandra Bidarian needs to chock this campaign up to the school of hard knocks and move on.
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