Thursday, November 22, 2007

People Came for Trudeau, but Will Return for Banham

Monday night, federal Liberal Hamilton-Mountain candidate Tyler Banham hosted a town hall event. His guest of honour to respond to issues was Justin Trudeau, and I’d also include the Greek community who also served as very good hosts.

Quite honestly and obviously, most people came to catch a glimpse and get a photo with Justin Trudeau, who cannot avoid comparisons to his father and is beginning to work up a lot of fan fare. He definitely has a lot on his shoulders with high impressions to meet, and I think given the chance he definitely proves himself to be a candidate worthy to keep an eye on for the future. His ‘newness’ to politics, (and smile) is also what makes him a refreshing and approachable person. He is an idealist Liberal who hasn’t been burned by anything yet and with his background, he has a lot of reason to be an idealist. I think Justin is using his ‘star quality’ as well to expose himself to as many situations as possible to improve himself as a politician, and you can’t criticize that. The people at the town hall event definitely left satisfied with their expectations on Trudeau.

While the town hall attendees were definitely impressed with Trudeau, I think the real person who came out shining from the event was local Tyler Banham. This event gathered him a lot of exposure, and with a looming election, it’s never too soon for him to be getting out or too much exposure is probably a good thing for him. Furthermore, Banham I think impressed a lot of people with his ideas, but more importantly, he showed his ability to grasp and understand the issues of Hamilton for Hamiltonians. This is the number one thing people want in a representative, a representative who will act in their interests and an informed way. I learned for the first time that Banham is a life long Hamiltonian resident, which may explain his knowledge of Hamilton. Banham proposed that if he’s elected he would hold a minimum of 10 town halls a year for the electorate to meet with him, to discuss what they want and give him any constructive criticism. I think this proposal is excellent. It takes a lot of guts to do town halls once elected because it pits you against the masses and you never know what kind of questions will come your way. But town halls were originally key to new democracies and they are very useful and I think can help reverse the trend towards increasing apathy among voters.

Banham reminds me of a kid outside the window of a candy store: he has a passion for politics (candy) and will works as hard as it takes to be allowed in the store (House of Commons). I know Banham would be a good choice for Hamilton: he seems very committed and open to discussion from the people at the grass roots, and not just once every four years. If the NDP haven’t realized yet, this guy is a force to be reckoned with!

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