• James Armstrong

Hudson resident takes up NDP banner for Vaudreuil-Soulanges federal riding


PHOTO COURTESY AMANDA MACDONALD

For Hudson resident and NDP candidate Amanda MacDonald, dealing with climate change is the major issue in the upcoming federal election.

Hudsonite Amanda MacDonald has set out on the campaign trail as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for Vaudreuil-Soulanges in the October 2019 federal election.

Political motivation begins at home

“The big prompt for me was becoming a mom,” she told The Journal when asked what had motivated her political aspirations. ”I realized I needed to speak up as much as I could. Our environment, our Earth is at huge risk.”

MacDonald noted the NDP has a strong environmental platform, describing it as including everyone.

“It asks for everyone to work together, from the municipal, the regional, to the federal level. It’s all hands on deck,” she said emphasizing that dealing with climate change is an urgent issue.

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Vaudreuil-Soulanges is on MacDonald’s list of priorities for the region. The NDP plan to fight climate change includes a promise to make zero-emission vehicles easier to get and build a network of charging stations across the country. When asked how she would make that happen in Vaudreuil-Soulanges, MacDonald said it would take the coordinated efforts of the region and the party to make that change.

“We need to be firm in that direction and get everyone on board because, otherwise, we won’t see the difference we need.”

Green New Deal

“It’s a cultural paradigm shift that is required to make the sweeping changes we need to move forward environmentally. We need the best innovative thinkers,” she said. The Green New Deal began in the United States, according to MacDonald. As someone who was raised in Hudson, MacDonald said there was always a sense of safety and security for her as a child and young adult. She said that sense of safety and security is clearly threatened by climate change. The NDP plan to fight climate change promises to create new jobs, save families money, and take on the big polluters.

Community and social action

As a recent newcomer to the federal political scene, MacDonald has been involved in the Société Développement Commercial de Vieux Montréal (SDC Vieux Montréal) and is currently involved with the Hudson Food Collective and is an active member of the Hudson cultural scene. MacDonald, as well as being a parent, has maintained her career as an actor.

“I’ve been professionally acting for theatre, film and television, as well,” she added. “I’ve also been running a forest school for children. We’re hoping to expand that in the fall.” She sees it all as connected bringing together environmental issues, education, and a change in attitudes. MacDonald also credits her husband, Hudson Mayor Jamie Nicholls, for supporting her decision to enter federal politics as an NDP candidate. Nicholls was the NDP MP for Vaudreuil-Soulanges from 2011 to 2015. “I’m really privileged to be a partner with someone who has been a federal member of parliament and is now a municipal leader,” said MacDonald.

Upcoming nomination celebration

It’s early days for MacDonald’s campaign. She’s actively recruiting volunteers and has an official nomination party scheduled for Saturday, June 29 in Hudson’s Jack Layton Park at 4 p.m.

“I want to create a great team,” said MacDonald. “It’s going to take a lot of door-to-door and connecting with people.”

She acknowledged her opponent, Liberal MP Peter Schiefke and his family as friends. MacDonald said, however, she would devote all her energy to her campaign. “Part of the problem is that political parties are not working together to create change,” she said. “There are a lot of smart, innovative minds in all the parties.”

The lack of a unified response to the climate crisis is a critical problem in MacDonald’s opinion.

“This is a crucial time for the environment and Canada’s leadership in the world,” she said. “We need a movement from the grassroots level upwards that refuses that division, that agrees to come together with all their expertise and innovation. We need to equip our children and youth with the right to open minds to create innovation.”

Need for non-violent communication

“I think this time people see very clearly the Liberals weren’t able to keep their promises,” she said. “We didn’t reach our targets with the Paris Accord.”

In MacDonald’s opinion those goals weren’t very lofty from the beginning. “They were the same as Harper’s,” she said. For MacDonald, the crux of the matter is fear of change and an inability to communicate non-violently. Making non-violent communication (NVC) techniques available to everyone is an important issue for her.

“Opening up communication, so that people have a voice and communicate with honestly, from the heart, without fear and social media sarcasm, is important.”

Amanda MacDonald can be reached at npdvaudreuilsoulangesndp@gmail.com or amandamacdonald.ndp@gmail.com.

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