NDP candidate deserved more substance in Low Down coverage

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by admin on May 4, 2011

The Editor,

I was concerned reading last week’s LowDown’s election news overall and, in particular, the type of coverage on NDP candidate, Mathieu Ravignat (April 20 edition).

For example, in two articles, the Low Down primarily focused on comments such as: “ . . . busied himself multi-tasking the whole time, like an Italian mother . . . “Ravignat is a real Mr. Mom.” Also, “The fourth-degree black martial arts enthusiast used to be a member of the Ottawa Medieval Sword Guild, but he says the group disbanded about a year ago. Strange, when you go to their website they list upcoming summer events.”

Though these tidbits can be amusing, I must question the newsworthiness of focusing on this type of content during a federal election campaign. The comments seem a bit flippant and readers and candidates deserve a bit more substance.

In this case, having known Mat for several years, there is more to say than a few notes on sword work, etc., I am continually impressed by his level of integrity, depth of knowledge, and dedication, in many areas. Unsure of the intent or reason (perhaps the Low Down has already decided on the “serious” candidates?), I offer a few of my own “tidbits” on Mathieu:

 

– federal public servant, living in the riding eight years (Cantley);

– roots near Gracefield, has deep concerns regarding the environment and economy in this region;

– masters degree in Political Science;

– federal NDP worker for a decade, involved in the previous two campaigns;

– founder of a CUPE local;

– worked extensively with many organizations on aboriginal and environment research initiatives;

– campaigning for Pontiac workers, small businesses, and the environment;

– dedicated to charity work;

– respected martial artist/researcher who, via the Wakefield Traditional Karate Association (not for profit) passes skills and knowledge to students of all ages.

 

Other local papers and media in the Pontiac and Ottawa (such as Le Droit and the Citizen) have highlighted credentials, and experience, and campaign points:

For example, the Ottawa Citizen said:

“Candidate Mathieu Ravignat lives in Cantley and grew up spending his summers in the Gracefield area . . . He’s a federal government employee who does research in aboriginal and environmental issues, and says he’s active in social justice work. He is one of the founders of Local 2626 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees . . . He has a master’s degree in political science, and has been active in the environmental movement.  Within the riding he wants support for the forest industry, but not at the expense of workers’ pensions. He says there must be reform to protect workers’ pensions when companies are taken over. ‘It’s also about diversifying the economy of the Pontiac,’ he said. ‘Large industries tend to create a mono-economies, and therefore the NDP plan to stimulate the creation of new industries, particularly the eco-tourism industry.’ ”

I am a large fan of the Low Down and confident it can rise up and provide depth and balanced representation of candidates in this final stage of this important event.

 

Darin Hayduk

Masham, Quebec