You’re probably curious about who’s leading New Brunswick’s New Democrats. I’m going to share with you some stories about who I am and why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Like you, much of the good in my life has come from the bad. The poetic way to say it would be that the shadows of my past kindled the light in my future. I prefer the simple way: when I see things that are wrong or unfair, something inside me has always needed to fight and right those wrongs.
One time school had just finished for the day at George Street Junior High in Fredericton. A friend of mine, Jamie, was rubbing his head. A group of our friends gathered around him. I was across the playground but I could plainly see that something was wrong.
“Jamie, what happened?”
Jamie turned to me and said, “My teacher pushed me into the wall so hard that my head dented the chipboard.”
Maybe you’ve been bullied yourself. Maybe you’ve had a friend that was bullied. If so, you know the anger I felt.
I was only 14 but that didn’t stop me from taking action against a much larger opponent. The next day I was in the staff member’s office. I slowly ran my finger around the dent in the chipboard wall and imagined my friend’s pain. The dent was just where my friend had said it would be.
I looked up and saw the culprit. He peered down on me from his greater height. Anger overcame weakness – I stuck out my chin and squared my shoulders. “What you did to Jamie wasn’t right!”
The corner of his mouth lifted. And then he laughed.
“Dominic, that didn’t happen.”
He smiled some more and then said, “Besides, no one would believe you if you told them.”
Jamie didn’t have any adults in his life to stand up for him. This person knew it; he knew he could get away with abusing Jamie. I was a middle-class kid from a good home; he couldn’t get away with pushing or punching me.
Dejected, feeling defeated, I shuffled back to class. But a spark lit in me that day. Out of the darkness of my friend’s abuse ignited a strong desire to stand up for others.
That day I also learned a lesson.
There’s a difference between gaining power to rule fairly and ruling to gain a fair bit of power. Good people need to take power away from those who hold power as a knife.
That day started me on the path to where I am today, leading the New Democrats and working to change New Brunswick. I’m running for Premier because I want to transform the abuse of might into doing what’s right for the many, not just a few.
You might be wondering why somebody who aims to be Premier would join the New Democrats! After all, we’ve never won an election in New Brunswick. Maybe your friends have said, “Joining the New Democrats is not something someone does if they want to become Premier.”
I’m a New Democrat because I believe the two old parties in New Brunswick, the Liberals and Conservatives, are not capable of making the changes New Brunswick needs. Under the control of these two old parties, our economy has lagged behind the rest of Canada. Our deeply entrenched problems (like poverty and illiteracy) have gotten worse.
You know what they’ve done. Ridiculously huge MLA salaries and pensions. Patronage and favours handed out to friends of the party in power. Tax dollars given away to corporations with the right connections while critical services like health care go underfunded.
In planting patronage they’ve harvested hardship.
Yes, the two old parties have stood by while their policies push ordinary New Brunswickers from the lofty heights of financial freedom towards the dark depths of the valley of debt. Things have gotten worse for people like you and me while the Liberals and Conservatives sit comfortably on the mountain top, scratching their friends’ backs.
From afar, I saw this unfairness and that old urge to fight ignited inside me.
I was working overseas. So was Elizabeth Weir, former leader of the New Brunswick New Democrats. Elizabeth saw the sadness in my eyes when I talked about my home province. I told her how I’d watched newly democratic countries in Asia growing and improving every month. And then I’d come home to New Brunswick for a visit and see a province slowly declining, cut off from the positive changes sweeping the world.
I told Elizabeth how I’d helped change countries, how I’d helped give a voice to ordinary people silenced by the misuse of power. I talked about how New Brunswick could be better. How the people of New Brunswick could band together and kick out those who sat at mountaintop, scratching their friend’s backs. How together we could climb from the dark and foul valley of debt to the lofty heights of financial freedom.
Elizabeth listened. And talked. And she convinced me I could help make New Brunswick better by going home.
It wasn’t easy. It took some time. But by 2010, I’d saved enough money to make my dream come true. I could support myself while volunteering full-time to help make a difference here at home! I flew from Asia to New Brunswick with a happy heart. Days after getting home, I was already volunteering full-time for the New Democrats in the 2010 provincial election. My wonderful wife Margot, who is originally from Ottawa, joined me here and we’ve been here ever since. It’s great being home!
Now I’m leading an incredible team of New Democrats. We’re determined to give you a better choice in 2014 because you want more than the tried and tired ways of the Liberals and Conservatives.
Together, we’re going to change how politics is done in New Brunswick. We’re going to replace the patronage and waste of the Liberals and Conservatives. We’re going to bring in an honest New Democrat government that cares about people, strengthens our economy and does what it promises.
Together, we’re going to write a new chapter in New Brunswick’s history.
And you can be part of it.
Click here because you want to be part of it!