Liberal candidate enters leadership race
Liberal Party of Canada leadership candidate Alex Burton visited Merritt on the first day of his Canada-wide tour to discuss what he believes he can offer the nation.
On Oct. 12, Burton spoke with Merritt residents to get his platform out to the nation.
“It’s also to hear what people have to say,” the president of the party’s Vancouver Kingsway riding association said.
“Part of the reason we’re running and the way we are running is to visit communities between the big urban centres. We want to go to places Liberals haven’t been to in a long time and say ‘This is what we stand for.’”
Burton said he has six areas of focus, including building the economy and democratic reform.
While visiting Merritt businesses and residents, he asked about what they believe is important to Canada.
“We ran into people that said they would never vote Liberal and, quite frankly, those are the people we want to talk to,” he said.
The rookie politician is up against the likes of Justin Trudeau, MP for Papineau, Que., who is widely considered the favourite to lead the Liberals during the next federal election scheduled for Oct. 15, 2015.
With the NDP competing for top spot with the Conservative party, he said Liberals have to face the reality of being the third party, which sends the message that the party can’t stay in the same direction.
“As a small ‘L’ Liberal, I believe that what we can do as government is to set the right conditions, so that we have economic growth in communities like Merritt, so there are jobs for the future, and so people will want to come to Merritt and settle here,” he said. “I think that having someone from Western Canada as the leader would make a huge difference here.”
Right now, only four of the 35 Liberal MPs are from Western Canada.
As a Vancouver-based Crown prosecutor, Burton said it’s important for people who aren’t career politicians to step up if there is to be a change from tired politics.
He said his career background provides an inside look at the criminal justice system.
“I want to be one of the new voices bringing in new approaches to the party,” he said.
Burton named six priorities the party and the country should focus on:
• just and secure society
• democratic reform
• revitalizing and re-engergizing the economy
• re-establishing Canada’s place in the world
• building a Canada of opportunity.
“The last one is for the party itself, and we’ve got to build Liberalism from the ground up in places like Merritt,” he said.
Merritt was his second stop, after Hope, on his 40-day Canada-wide tour.
To learn more about Burton, visit alexburton.ca.