St Catharines NDP Federal Riding Association Phone: 365-222-8189 Email: email@example.com Web site: stcatharinesndp.ca Contact: Don Sawyer
Moving St Catharines Forward
Press Release . Van Meer to Carry NDP Banner into Federal Election This Sunday, January 20, the St Catharines Federal NDP Riding Association will confirm Dennis Van Meer as their candidate in the upcoming federal election. The nomination meeting will be held at 1:00 on in the theatre of the Mahtay Café. Van Meer’s selection is the culmination of a three-month candidate search and vetting process. After the position was posted publicly, the search committee conferred with potential candidates, and in November Van Meer put his name forward. His application then went through a rigorous vetting process by the federal party and was approved in December. Van Meer was the only person to submit his candidacy application and will stand unopposed at Sunday’s meeting. While Van Meer is new to federal politics, he is a veteran union activist and is vice-president of United Steel Workers 1005. As part of his union work, Dennis has helped lead the campaign for pension security. Noting the example of the recent Sears bankruptcy that left long-time employees without pensions, he has taken the fight to Ottawa. There he has effectively lobbied MPs of all parties for legislation that protects worker’s rights. Van Meer is a lifelong resident of St. Catharines and recently ran for a St Catharines city council position. He is active in various organizations such as Grantham Lions, St. Catharines Masters Lacrosse, YMCA, St. Catharines Old Boys Lacrosse Association. “I’ve worked in Hamilton for 19 years,” Van Meer says. “And I drive the QEW every day because my home is St Catharines. I was born and raised here and I’m eager to represent our interests in Ottawa.” Riding Association president Don Sawyer says he is looking forward to the meeting and the upcoming election. “This will be an exciting year for the Riding Association. After a year of rebuilding, we have a
strong and energetic team ready to wage a solid, positive campaign in the 2019 federal election.” As for Van Meer, Sawyer commented, “We are delighted to have Dennis lead a resurgent NDP in our riding into the election.” Sawyer pointed out that the meeting is open to all and will serve as a kick-off to the campaign.
If you would like to know more about the St Catharines Federal NDP Riding Association, visit their web site at www.stcatharinesndp.ca.
Federal NDP association getting involved at local level NEWS Apr 09, 2018 by Allan Benner St. Catharines Standard
Don Sawyer, president of the NDP federal riding association for St. Catharines, is photographed in his St. Catharines home on Monday. - Julie Jocsak , The St. Catharines Standard
Municipal politics aren't supposed to be partisan in nature, but that hasn't prevented many local politicians from proudly showing their political stripes. "I think it's a problem," said Don Sawyer, newly elected president of the St. Catharines New Democratic Party federal riding association. "It's paid lip-service, but of course everybody says 'he's a Liberal' or 'he's a Conservative' or 'that guy's supported by the NDP.'" And if one political party is doing it, Sawyer said others need to follow suit — including the NDP.
"We need to have strong progressive voices that are principled and incorruptible and are looking out for the interests of the community as a whole, rather than special interests which seem to be right now ruling the roost, to say the least," he said. Although the next federal election is still more than a year away, Sawyer said riding association members plan to be "really active in the run-up to the municipal election" on Oct. 22.
"We would like to get involved at that level as well as promote those candidates that represent and embody NDP principles," Sawyer said. "That's the thing. I don't know that it has to be partisan, but it has to be based on certain political ideologies, certain moral views." Sawyer said the association also hopes to get more people filling out municipal election ballots that typically attract fewer voters than provincial and federal elections.
"Often, I think we forget that the government levels that affect us the most are closest to us," Sawyer said. "If we can use the NDP platform to get the views of candidates out to the public so they can get motivated to go out and vote, that's something we can hopefully contribute." It's one of several changes Sawyer hopes to bring to the federal organization, after being elected association president during the annual general meeting, Saturday.
Sawyer, who previously worked with the NDP when he lived in British Columbia, said he hoped to get involved with the political party again after moving to St. Catharines a little more than a year ago. He couldn't, however, find a federal riding association to join. But with the help of national NDP organizer Shannon Cruickshank, Sawyer soon found other local party faithful — including vice-president Dennis VanMeer, secretary Cathy Martin, and financial officer Ron Brydges — to get the riding association running again.
Cruickshank said she looks forward to working with the local riding association to create "a political force that will champion NDP ideals of fairness, inclusion and positive change at the local, regional, provincial and national levels."
"I am delighted to welcome St Catharines back," she said.
Sawyer said people typically think that "after an election's over, we don't need to worry about this until four years from now." But that won't be the case under his leadership. Instead, he said association members will work year-round within the community to promote "the principles of fairness and justice and inclusion." "Those are principles that are important year-round, and at all levels of government," Sawyer said. "I think that's what will sustain the federal riding association — getting involved at all levels and trying to push for positive change in St. Catharines.'" Allan.Benner@niagaradailies.com 905-225-1629 | @abenner1 Allan.Benner@niagaradailies.com 905-225-1629 | @abenner1