Crossposted to DemocraticSpace’s Campaign 2008 website.
Last but not least in my riding-by-riding profile of Waterloo Region is Cambridge. The riding of Cambridge takes in the city of Cambridge and the rural township of North Dumfries.
Cambridge has always been a world apart from Waterloo Region. Although it exists in the same same county as Kitchener and Waterloo, it was a reluctant partner in the creation of the region, and Highway 401 acts as an effective psychological barrier between it and Kitchener. Its own identity has been somewhat mixed up, as it is an amalgamation of three distinct towns with three distinct characters (Galt, Preston and Hespelar). The city has a large manufacturing base, but is also a growing bedroom community for Toronto, thanks to its proximity to the highway.
Although the NDP finished second here as late as 1988 (as well as in 1984, 1980 and 1979), the riding has shown a more conservative bent. From 1979 to 1993 it was held by the Progressive Conservatives and although the Liberals held the riding from 1993 to 2004, their primary competition has been either the Reform Party or the Canadian Alliance.
Gary Goodyear beat Liberal MP Janko Peric in 2004 by just over 200 votes, after which he was named the Ontario chair of the Conservative Party caucus. Goodyear increased that margin to almost 6000 votes in the 2006 rematch against Peric. In that election, he received endorsements from Vote Marriage Canada and the Canadian Islamic Congress.
Goodyear is currently embroiled in a minor controversy surrounding the Procedure and House Affairs Committee. Originally selected to chair this committee, the opposition majority on committee voted him out in a motion of non-confidence, choosing Conservative MP Joe Preston instead. The work of the committee, which includes investigating the so-called “In and Out scandal”, was suspended on March 6, and the Conservatives refuse to allow it to continue until Goodyear is restored as chairman.
Goodyear returns this election, and faces off against newcomer Gord Zeilstra for the Liberals. Zeilstra has his own controversies to overcome. His nomination as candidate for the riding was hard fought, with some members of the riding association accusing his campaign of using improperly obtained membership lists. The central office investigated and, although it found an “unintentional breach” of the rules, “there is no evidence that Mr. Zeilstra obtained a numeric or tactical advantage through the use of riding membership forms.” He received a minor fine, but bad feelings remained. By and large, however, neither Goodyear nor Zeilstra’s controversies have been highlighted during this campaign.
Of the two remaining candidates, Max Lombardi is competing for the New Democrats, and Scott Cosman for the Greens.
Here’s the full list:
Gary Goodyear, 50, (Conservatives): Gary Goodyear has an MP website which is separate from his campaign website, which tells us a bit more about the man and the riding; certainly more than what we’ve received from Peter Braid and Stephen Woodworth’s campaign sites.
Goodyear was born in Cambridge and educated at the University of Waterloo, majoring in Biomechanics and Psychology, becoming a doctor of chiropractic medicine. He developed his practise up to 2004 when he gave it up to run for office. He has also maintained connections with the immigrant community, working to get the Canadian government to formally recognize the Armenian genocide, chairing hte Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group and acting as an executive member of the Canada-Portuguese Group.
Recently, Goodyear has promised to become one of the first Members of Parliament to go carbon neutral, with the carbon emissions of his Cambridge and Ottawa offices offset through the planting of trees through Cambridge and North Dumfries.
Gord Zeilstra, 36, (Liberal): With the departure of Janko Peric, the Liberals have turned to a young businessman working in Waterloo Region’s tech sector. He is one of the founding employees of the job-finding site Monster.ca and is currently a regional vice president of Vurv Technology, a company which finds qualified new hires for high tech companies. Outside of his work, Zeilstra calls himself “a participant in many campaigns”. His degree is a Bachelor of Arts in communications and political science. He’s young, energetic, but inexperienced. Conservative party supporter Greg Staples said of him during a recent all-candidates’ debate: “he was a bit unsteady in his answers, being a rookie, but the Liberals should not be embarrassed with him as their flag bearer. Once he grows into the role he will be a tough opponent next time around.”
Zeilstra is married to his wife of fourteen years and has two young daughters.
Max Lombardi, 40, (New Democrats): It’s proven hard to get detailed information about Max Lombardi and his contributions to the political life of Cambridge. The NDP website barely calls him more than “a long-time Cambridge resident”. He currently works as an Information technologist for NEBS Payroll Service Limited. The bulk of his campaign has been about the loss of manufacturing jobs in Ontario, which should get a receptive ear from the large manufacturing sector in Cambridge.
Scott Cosman, 55, (Green): Cosman has lived in Waterloo Region since 1955, graduating from Wilfred Laurier University with a business administration degree. He has worked for thirty years in sales and marketing for such firms as Neilson’s Ltd, Carnation Inc, and Bell Mobility. His most recent work has been for Miser Lighting, a company dedicated to selling high efficiency lightbulbs to businesses.
Given Gary Goodyear’s advantage of incumbency, and the riding’s conservative character of late, I expect that this one will remain in the Conservatives’ column this election.