Friday, August 29, 2008

Bisson launches NDP leadership bid

Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson made it official Thursday as he launched his bid to become the next leader of Ontario’s New Democratic Party by saying it’s time the party adopted a culture of success that will put it on the path to forming government.
The well-known and outspoken 51-year-old Timmins native made the announcement to a news conference in Toronto, before moving on to make the same announcement in Sudbury.
Bisson is vying to replace the outgoing NDP leader Howard Hampton, who had led the Ontario new democrats for a dozen years, but was not able to win enough seats to form a government or become the official opposition. Hampton announced earlier this year he would be resigning the leadership in favour of spending more time with his family.
“Under my leadership we’ll adopt a positive attitude by cultivating a winning spirit and laying the foundation for a culture of success,” Bisson told gathered reporters representing all the major news organizations in Toronto Thursday morning. He said it was important to make his announcement in southern Ontario and Northern Ontario on the same day. “I am running to be the voice for all Ontarians – urban and rural, north and south – because the social, environmental and economic challenges we face together do not distinguish between where you live in our province.”
Bisson pointed out that the NDP has always been viewed as the party people trust most when it comes to protecting social programs. However, voters have been reluctant to vote for the party in great numbers as they worry the NDP does not take fiscal policy as seriously.
“You can’t build social programs without a strong economy”, said Bisson. ”Wealth creation is absolutely necessary to help create jobs and provides the funding to strengthen social programs.”
“Inside the party it’s time to debate economic issues such as how we grow a strong economy, taxation and budget management. It’s time we show Ontarians that New Democrats can manage your money, as we have successfully done in other provinces under NDP administrations.”
Building a culture of success begins with nurturing the grassroots of the party, Bisson said.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve go a lot of tough work ahead. Under my leadership I am prepared to take a fresh look at how we conduct ourselves as a party and that begins by granting more autonomy to our riding associations in terms of fundraising, candidate recruitment and developing new policy ideas.”
Should Bisson be elected leader of the NDP, he would be the first Franco-Ontarian to lead a major political party in this province.
Bisson was first elected as the provincial representative for this area on October 1 of 1990. He had held the seat successfully in every provincial election since then.

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