Hampton weighs in on federal campaign

Local MPP Howard Hampton attended the official opening of federal NDP candidate John Rafferty’s campaign office here Tuesday and offered his view on what this campaign is all about.
“The Liberals take it for granted they will be elected. . . . After the election, they go off to Ottawa and forget all about us,” Hampton charged. “The only time we hear from them is when they make excuses for broken promises.”
Hampton attended the opening despite the sudden death of his father, George, on Monday night.
“This is not the best day for me. My father passed away [Monday] night,” Hampton said through tears. “But I know my father would want me to be here. That’s the kind of guy he was.”
“I’m very pleased, particularly in this sad time, that Howard could be here with us,” Rafferty said.
Hampton took the opportunity to heartily endorse Rafferty as the candidate of choice in Thunder Bay-Rainy River.
“Then we’ll have somebody who’s there [in Ottawa] to raise our issues,” he noted.
Hampton criticized the Liberal record on the forestry crisis, noting industry insiders warned the federal government about the looming trouble two years ago.
“Not only did they do nothing to help, they made it worse,” Hampton charged.
The best way to communicate dissatisfaction with the Liberals is to vote for Rafferty, he added. “We’ll send them a message they can’t ignore.”
Hampton said his message is the same for Conservative supporters. “The Conservatives can’t win in Northern Ontario,” he remarked.
In a letter to NDP supporters last week, Hampton noted Rafferty finished second to Liberal MP Ken Boshcoff in the June, 2004 election.
“This time, because of the corruption and arrogance of the Liberals, more people will be voting for John Rafferty and the NDP,” wrote Hampton. “This will be our best opportunity to elect a Member of Parliament who really cares about working people.”
Hampton also reminded supporters that donations and volunteers would be needed for a successful campaign.
“Now that my father isn’t here, we really need someone to put up signs,” Hampton said. “He was the expert sign putter-upper.”