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NDP hopeful named

Veteran candidate ready to race against Kadis and Kent

SIMON STRELCHIK is Thornhill's federal NDP candidate.

Simon Strelchik has long felt a bond with the New Democratic Party.

He remembers a 1993 classroom exercise that asked students what political party they’d vote for if given the chance. He voted NDP.

No wonder, 15 years later he’d stand as the party’s federal candidate ready to fight incumbent Liberal MP Susan Kadis and star Conservative candidate Peter Kent whenever an election is called.

“I’ve always leaned towards the tendency of the NDP, which is to have a more socially progressive society that takes care of its downtrodden, and also that stands up for the regular kind of person,” he said recently over a beverage at Second Cup.

He’s young — just how young he won’t say — but the proud Thornhiller has a long record of community involvement and activism.

“I started in politics with Free the Children, which was a youth-led organization here in Thornhill that sought to eliminate child poverty and child labour around the world,” Strelchik said.

As one of its original members, he worked with Craig Kielburger, who founded the organization in 1995 while in grade 7, and helped establish the organization that has since built hundreds of schools.

In the political arena, Strelchik sat on York Region’s No-Smoking Bylaw Task Force and Health Services Youth Advisory Board, and on the City of Vaughan’s Council Youth Advisory Committee.

“With the NDP, I’ve been involved since I was very young,” he said. “I became the (riding association) president in 2001.”

Strelchik will enter the next federal election not only as an experienced activist and party operative, but also as a veteran candidate and campaigner. He was in three bids — in 2000, 2005, and 2006 — for a York Region District School Board trusteeship.

Also in 2006, he ran federally, finishing third with 4,405 votes, behind Kadis’s total of 29,934 and Conservative Anthony Reale’s 19,005 votes.

“I appreciate (Kadis’s) vigour and her passion for her job,” he politely said of his once-and-future opponent. “Unfortunately the Liberal party is not representing the citizens of Thornhill adequately.

“Their needs are being pushed aside for the benefit of an old party network of donors and well-connected Liberals.”

Not having faced Kent before, Strelchik had less to say about his right-of-centre rival.

“Thornhill citizens will not find an adequate alternative in the Conservatives,” he said, pointing to recent controversy surrounding the governing party. “It’s time we bring modesty, good judgment and honour to our federal parliament.”

Vaughan Today
Online: March 23, 2008 [link]